Fact: In 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, the city called its $30 million note held by Guelph Hydro. The purpose was to bolster capital spending and meet operational obligations. That money is gone.
In doing so, the Farbridge administration used up its largest reserve fund. It also meant the city, as it had in the past, would not receive interest payments of more than $2 million a year.
It’s the same thing as you and I wipe out our bank accounts to pay the bills and trips to Disney World. That’s not effective financial management.
But the real example of how to run the city into the ground lies in Guelph’s official audited statement. Between 2008 and 2009, just one year, the city increased its debt by $26,047,085.
Here’s the skinny: The city’s official debt in 2008 = $59,579,910.97
The city’s official debt in 2009 = $85,626,995.70
The increase: $26,047,085.27 or 43.7 %
When the $30 million reserve funds are added to the increase in debt, (you’d better sit down for this), this city council spent $56,047,085 in just one year!
So much for the Mayor’s claim that a debt management strategy is in place.
Citizens have the opportunity on October 25 to elect a council that is responsible and will restore the city’s finances while maintaining services.
Failure to add your voice by not voting will mean more of the same for another four years.
Not an attractive option.
Gerry Barker is a retired newsman and Guelph resident