Treading Water Budget for Cornwall Highlights Failure @ City Hall – by Jamie Gilcig 030918

Treading Water Budget for Cornwall Highlights Failure @ City Hall – by Jamie Gilcig 030918

Cornwall Ontario – What an ugly budget procedure this year has been, and it’s not over yet.    What we’re starting to see clearly is that the adage that you get the government you deserve always comes home to roost.   A motion to cap an increase @ 4% because of a raping of reserve funds?  Lack of infrastructure?  How many water main breaks did we have in the past two Winters?

The major issue is the labour and union folk voting en masse to keep people like Elaine MacDonald and “Flipper” Clement elected.

Telling an overtaxed population as an elected official that taxes are good and we should pay more is way to Nero like for this scribbler.   In just about any other community it would be grounds for being run out of town.

The manner in which Ms Clement has been giving out sound bites is even scarier.   Non committal except to up costs and try and be nice to her voting bloc.  Clearly this councilor is no deep thinker with no real solutions.

The biggest scam has been the bait and switch by City Management which starts at the top with Maureen Adams who clearly is a major problem for those that want to see Cornwall become more fiscally responsible.  The irony that she lives in Long Sault and doesn’t have to pay for her machinations is not lost on many.   Her not answering to the allegations about her history with the now many titled Geoff Clarke is starting to loom in Fitzpatrick like shadows.

With rumblings again of some of our elected officials wanting to eat the capital of the Progress Fund it’s time for the public to get involved this election.

It really is time to go full Brampton 2.0 and clean house, not just of council, but of city managers who are the root of the problem.

There is plenty to cut from the budget without going after pizza for committee meetings, and paltry amounts for grass cutting.

The Police Board for example has two members of council on it.   Surely these two, if the political will were there,  could convince one of the other two members to side with them and demand that the CCPS cut their budget by 5%?

That would be about $1 million extra cash to start.   Cut the fire budget by the same 5% and the cash adds up.

If all staff, union and non union took at 1% cut that would put another bag of cash on the table.

Cut Aultsville Theatre and you have another $100K.  Should the city be funding any service that isn’t open to the public for free or a very minor fee like our now lost public art gallery?  Does that make sense?  The Woodhouse Museum?  Again, what is the return for the investment?   If the City has no say in its running then it’s time to chop its donation.

The cost of outdoor pools clearly is too expensive for a city that is mulling killing pizza for committees, especially with the overhead of the aquatic centre.

There’s a certain irony in that one of the few services in the black is our Marina.   Could it be in the black because it’s essentially outsourced?    IE, not run by city staff?   If the unions have priced salaries beyond responsible fiscal boundaries that’s frightening and a problem that workers have to be a part of the solution of.  We can’t outsource all of our municipal services.

This writer is no Tim Hudak.  We should take care of our city workers, but if we’ve over hired or because of cronyism simply have too much dead weight like the inept Janice Robinson,  there has to be solutions, and city workers need to work with new management rather than simply be told that they now have wage and hiring freezes.

 

 

Workers aren’t dumb, and morale is important.   They have the answers generally more than a high priced consultant will.

There was a scary report suggesting that there’d be more action at the Complex if the city “partners” up with promoters.    That’s a slippery slope that this city has failed at before with the old Cornwall Comets.   The city should not be in the business of business in this scribblers opinion.   It should be in the business of supporting business and allowing it to blossom so there are more revenues to tax.

The Complex is a white elephant.  Mostly used as waterfront office space which makes no sense as much as Bob Peters might like his office view.  It’s time to start to think about the long term goals of the complex and the land it sits on.  It needs too much redevelopment to be a serious contender for an OHL team, and we now have the Benson Centre for the Colts.    In the short term reviewing current bylaws and fees might help as well as actually promoting the location and services where people actually read and the eyeballs are.

$2M per year on our library?   With a population of about 40,000 (we haven’t been at 46K in ages) that comes out to nearly $50 per person per year!   Either we need to chop that budget down or find alternative uses for the building(such as an art centre) to help maintain library services (no, I’m not suggesting we kill our library) The budget for our one location is actually more per person than the City of Ottawa spends on its 34 branches!  Does that make sense?

The point is that there is plenty to cut from the budget without losing out on important services or pizza for non paid committee members.  But it takes political will to make that happen, especially if city managers are being difficult or ineffective.

And jamming in development fees and accommodation fees in the manner in which they’re being discusses simply reeks of desperation and puts more pressure on the very people that are putting cash in city coffers.

Ironically many of this council were quite happy to give former HR Manager Rob Menagh his walking papers without cause and eat a few years of salary.   Simply why not dump some of those with cause, and generally a lack of success is a cause.

 



Choosing people for council shouldn’t be about popularity.  It should be about strength and leadership and who you feel will work and achieve the goals that you share as a voter.   It shouldn’t be because someone’s dad runs the Children’s Treatment Centre or they were the pet monkey of the Labour Council Prez.  (and how on earth could a LBP end up on council, but the lovely and charming person that mops up at City Hall can’t run?)  Or even worse that they were a cokehead police informant, or future #metoo monster.

At the end of the day this mess will take a generation to clean up.   Or things will get worse year by year.

Cornwall is at a crossroads.  What happens with the waterfront development on the former Domtar lands and Crown lands will define this community.

Will we get “Lumleyed” again, or will people open their eyes and put some homework into finding solutions?

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

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