Cornwall, Ontario – Denis Carr is the city’s longest running council member in the city of Cornwall. Carr has been passionate about Cornwall, Ontario, and while he may in the upcoming years consider slowing down with his political career, he will always work to improve the city.
He believes that there are not only more opportunities for advancement than most cities of the same size but also improvement.
“I honestly believe Cornwall is a great place to live. I think it’s a very progressive city!”
Carr began his political career in the eighties and is currently one of the Cornwall’s budget committee chair, which has been under a lot of speculation recently. While the politicians on council are still trying to crunch numbers (Denis Carr included) and get the budget under control the public is still left to wonder what we can expect to see.
“We’ve had a really tough go with the budget.” He explained.
We have some adjustments we have to make because of some evaluations that were given; and the evaluation of the properties in particular and distribution centers. So the assessment of those was higher than they should have been.
“The fact is we lost a lot of assessment because the evaluation was too high and we haven’t really sat down and done the budget from the very beginning, to say okay this is what we have in terms of income from the new assessment and how much money we are going to generate in taxes. We are still coping with the loss.”
The tax levy has gone up almost 20% this term; this includes borrowing money as well as increasing the debt of the city. It has been speculated that if we hadn’t kept the taxes low the way we’ve done for the past ten to fifteen years, we wouldn’t be in this predicament currently. It has been in question also whether or not we would be in this bind if taxes hadn’t been kept in the two percent range, keeping them inflated. However Carr disagreed with that speculation.
The truth is that all over Ontario we are seeing problems with the budget and debt increase; there isn’t much that can be done besides borrowing money and increasing debt.
When asked if about any potential growth for the budget Carr simply stated,
“What we’re trying to do now with this budget is to get it done. To keep it as low as we possibly can and at the same time progress.”
Despite not being a supporter of the action to burrow and take on even more debt, Carr also realizes that it’s the only effective outcome in order for progression.
“The city doesn’t have a huge debt load. It probably owes about 45 million dollars maybe, maybe not even that much.”
However ten years ago Cornwall had no debt. I can’t help but wonder if the solution is simply a matter of increasing revenue or if increasing taxes is our only option?
The problem Mr. Carr. None of you have the courage to stand up to emergency services, and say enough is enough. How many firefighters does it take to get a bag of milk, and eggs at a grocery store? 4 at minimum, and done so in a very expensive rig. Ever ask what that cost the tax base alone?
Having Carr talk about the city’s budget is like asking the cat that ate the canary why he did it.
I agree with rusted bolt. I don’t envy council’s budget problem however they are still not dealing the main cause. Also there was question whether council would replace a supervisor who recently retired to save on salary and I heard they will be with 2 additional supervisors. C’Mon man!
Titan don’t forget the HR Manager has failed miserably and for doing so they are hiring him another labor relations and health and safety person # 2 BTW. If I recall correctly the city has a health and safety person in place at public works. why not fire the HR manager and replace him with someone who knows the job and use the health and safety person they have in place for other departments also?
Still coping with the loss of revenue due to reassessments primarily as a result of two prime factors; 1) spending is based on utilizing all or most of the tax revenue without attention to building adequate reserves. 2) not addressing the spiralling cost of wages, salaries and benefits.
I agree that Fire could be streamlined to be more cost effective and still provide the same service. Unfortunately, Police are quite another issue with their budget approved by a community Board with limited representation from Council.
Diane the PB has two members of council. If Council directed those two to try and whittle down the budget they simply would need one more vote of support from the police board.
Right now we have such a tepid membership that basic questions and investigation of the budget simply are not being done, at least publicly.
IE here’s an easy question?
The SD&G OPP have a per capita budget of about $154 per person with about 50% more people over a much wider area. Cornwall is $397 per. Can the CCPS justify nearly being x3 the amount per capita?
It shouldn’t be a hanging offence to ask the Police to justify their budget.
It’s as simple as Mark MacDonald pointed out…..amalgamate all public safety groups into one. If due diligence is done it would work and should save a MINIMUM of 5% a year . If it can’t be done there is something wrong. But I see pushback from all the groups involved. They don’t want their holy grail budgets touched or tampered with.
Hugger that would also mean less management positions most likely which also would see pushback. Again, we know the answers. We’re just not sure of the questions.
The management positions could push back as much as they’d like. If in the end it means a leaner, more efficient FD, PD, EMS and lower taxes / expenses I’m all for it. It’s not like management positions have not been vacated by Cornwall before with / without cause.