Some Thoughts on Art & Taxes in Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig – April 3, 2015

Some Thoughts on Art & Taxes in Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig – April 3, 2015

jg2CFN – What a busy week.   Congratulations first off to YAC.  City Council decided to give the group nearly $1,000 cash per member for this year.      That gives hope for the arts community as TAG has nearly 200 members.  Could a big cheque be on the way to the city’s public gallery soon?

Yes, I jest.  The farce that was the funding circus this year has been mystifying from CAG giving council a passing grade for raising taxes a Kilgeresque +2 % points.

Some said it’s only $50 per home, but frankly $50 per year times 4 years compounded adds up to more of those that can afford it moving out to South Stormont and South Glengarry like so many of the movers and shakers of this community.

The tipping point isn’t as some councilors suggesting our fire, police, and ems services, but the cash drain to the counties.  Those people simply laugh at how we in Cornwall essentially subsidize their lifestyles.   Think about this for a moment.  Our very well paid police chief while stumping for higher budgets as crime numbers decline lives in Glen Walter which is policed by the OPP which clearly has a lower cost per door than the CCPS.

If one was to amalgamate Long Sault, Glen Walter, St. Andrews, and a few points in between our numbers would look dramatically different.

As for our public gallery?   Well one insider suggested to this writer that there were three councilors acting like high school delinquents fighting for zero funding for the gallery because yours truly is on the board.  (that’s disclosure for a certain party that insists I make a full disclosure in any story I write about the arts although this is certainly not on behalf of the board or gallery) There were a few elected officials that are honest in that they don’t give a boot about the arts, and the few that wanted to make some sense out of this mess simply didn’t want to stick their neck out and not win a vote.

One councilor off the record stated that they didn’t want tax payers to pay any possible costs related to the termination of TAG’s ED.    It was pointed out that perhaps tax payers should not remit their taxes in that case because of the payouts given to Robert Menagh, Donna Derouchie, and Paul Fitzpatrick or the fact that the city has to date spent more on legal costs on the t shirt lawsuit than the offer to settle.

But this is Cornwall in all of its weirdness.   Pettiness, ignorance, hate, cowardice.   The good news is that a lot of people are seeing through this and even better news is that art will triumph mayhem as the gallery is now getting a lot of private support because at the end of the day it’s the city’s only true Arts and Culture asset and for over 30 years has been the place to be shown regionally if you’re an artist.

Hopefully that continues in Cornwall for another 30 years.

Imagine all that talk about cutting taxes and all that seems to be cut essentially was the public gallery.   That certainly is a statement that differs with the city’s own Strategic Plan survey.  And it wasn’t just cut.  It went to zero additional financing.   That seems quite the statement.   Speaking of statements;

http://www.cornwall.ca/en/cao/resources/StrategicPlanSurvey.pdf

The document, published on the city’s website is dated from 2013, makes multiple mentions of the value of Arts and Culture for a community.

A greener, richer community with lots of trees, more walking paths, cleaner roads (less litter), a University, and resources to help residents clean up their homes (in terms of state of repair). More unique, shopping retail outlets, a better art gallery and water activity development. An innovative City that is not afraid to do things a little differently.

A destination for tourists and young families looking to experience a city that has embraced, supported, and promoted its arts and cultural sector. Our town should be a place people want to visit because of all that it can offer, culturally, artistically, and recreational.

Strengthening the Arts and Culture sector in the cityAccess to Arts, Culture, Heritage and RecreationThese things are not fluff. Report after report shows they increase community involvement, build a sense of identity and pride, and they generate money for the city directly and indirectly (every dollar spent on the arts generates 7 dollars)

Promote economic development and job creation where the City works for good paying jobs in the new green economy, high tech jobs, the decentralization of provincial and federal government jobs to Cornwall and a university for Cornwall. We can also promote tourism by strongly supporting arts and culture, heritage preservation, community festivals, and the preservation of the City’s downtown waterfront parkland for the enjoyment of the people of our community and visitors.

Bring taxes inline. The fire department are over paid. They do not require the same wages as larger cities far more dangerous as far higher buildings. Also the cost of living is much less. They should be required to either live in the city or get paid less as they are not contributing to the tax base.The Police department needs to bring their expenses down as the police board are just figure heads that approve the budget without questioning anything. Why are we paying $250,000 per year for HR (wages and benefits) on top of the City of Cornwall HR especially with the police hiring record.

Dedication to enhancing quality of life for all residents by having a balance of recreational activities; open spaces; arts, cultural and entertainment activities; youth and senior programs and increased accessibility for persons with disabilities.

There is a need to continue in improving the infrastructure for the arts community.It is an area of minimum funding but it would be very important to be a lead with the Arts Advisory Committee in pushing for future development.

Of course it will take the public to put pressure on our elected officials, and actually vote the right ones in.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.

Disclaimer:  This writer is on the board of TAG Cornwall and is not writing on behalf of the board or the organization.    He also is a member of CAG even though they won’t provide any information to CFN.

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Hugger1
Member

Admin said “Some said it’s only $50 per home, but frankly $50 per year times 4 years compounded adds up to more of those that can afford it moving out to South Stormont and South Glengarry like so many of the movers and shakers of this community.” Your compounded theory is only understandable if the tax hikes in the next three years are 2% or greater. As for people living outside the city I have no issue with it. Why should city employees / administrators be told they have to live in the city? Perhaps they couldn’t find what they… Read more »

jules
Guest

Jamie I sound like a broken record but if Cornwall amalgamated with its surrounding municipalities it would have a larger population and tax base to boost the town. You take Moncton N.B. they amalgamated with their surrounding towns and they have a wonderful arts centre and celebrities go there as well. Hugger keeps saying that it takes time well it has to come soon or else it will never come. People of Cornwall are so mighty backward and it was just now that my husband and I were talking about this very same thing. You have to change now or… Read more »

jules
Guest

Jamie I like Hugger too and Furtz and everyone here. I come out with a great deal of things and stuff you won’t publish but I do not dislike anyone. Everyone has their own opinions good or bad or in between and we are different. Boy am I different. If you got to know me personally you would be continuing to say Jules, Jules, Jules. LOL LOL. My dear Jamie I like your CFN very much and we all differ which makes things interesting.

jules
Guest

Jamie I am your rotweiller on CFN and I take that as a compliment. LOL LOL. I like to see people commenting and giving opinions and we are all different. I like Mr. Oldham along with a lot of people. If we were all the same it would be mighty boring believe me.

jules
Guest

Jamie I am so very sorry and if you saw my face just now I am literally crying. I cannot have a pet because that would literally tear me apart in pieces. Don’t worry about next week spend time with Miss Melly – you couldn’t imagine the love and care and devotion that they bring and they just cannot speak in words. You give my love and best wishes to her. I put the two dogs pictures on my computer to look at them when I can – I love them both – so mighty cute.

Furtz
Member

No doubt about it, there are quite a few differing views, and that is good. It would be even better if a few more people jumped in.

Furtz
Member

That’s so sad about Miss Melly. It ain’t easy loosing a friend like that.

Furtz
Member

That makes sense Jamie. I would never post using my real name either. Life is dangerous enough without doing that.

Furtz
Member

Sounds like she will be around for a while. That’s great! Enjoy your time together.

Hugger1
Member

Closed minded? Perhaps that’s how some see me. I believe in what I say and say what I believe. Have you ever seen me back down? Amalgamation MIGHT work if the outlying municipalities were closer. To me Ingleside and Long Sault are too far out to make it work. Moncton has a population of almost 70k in the city proper and 140k with outlying municipalities. Cornwall and its outlying areas does not even come close to this. Cornwall, IMHO, still has the “mill town” attitude. Until we get rid of that thinking we will not advance. People keep saying we… Read more »

jules
Guest

Jamie dogs just like people have their good and bad days with illnesses and diseases. The meds that the vet gave you that knocks Mellie out isn’t good at all. Keep her well with you and awake as much as possible. This is something that I cannot handle and if you knew my sensitivities it is unreal. I love animals so very much and I adopt everyone’s dog in the park – well just about. Jamie like a human it tears us apart to see them go and like us they do die. They bring so much to us that… Read more »

Hugger1
Member

When I refer to “arts centre” I am referring to a facility like Aultsville Theatre, but more along the lines of the Brockville Arts Centre. When I think of TAG I think of it as an art gallery. Aultsville is okay, but I think we could do better.

Hugger1
Member

Best of luck with Mel. You’ll know when the time is right.

jules
Guest

One thing that Hugger said that is true and that is that Cornwall is still in the mentality of a mill town. Hugger can tell of you that at one time Ottawa was a mill town of logging and yes a couple of paper mills. When we cam back to Ottawa in 2004 I wondered where the stink went to from Gatineau’s paper mill and there used to be the E.B. Eddy mill as well. Gatineau had some industries of the processed meats and other things. The vast majority of Ottawa is white collar town – mostly government but also… Read more »

Hugger1
Member

Yes, Ottawa was at one point, a very long time ago, a mill town. But the thing about Ottawa is it’s just a tad bigger than Cornwall, twenty to thirty times bigger depending on what you consider Ottawa. Ottawa got rid of the smell that Cornwall had much earlier. E.B. Eddy and others were required to put filters, etc on their equipment long ago. Ottawa being a tad bigger than Cornwall was able to shed the mill town label. It’s harder to shed that label if you are a small city or town. Ottawa is not truly a white collar… Read more »