In her blog, Mayor Farbridge cites “naysayers” who are critical of her administration as “hurting the community for their own personal reasons”. Your Mayor is appalled that critics are allegedly badmouthing the community to people looking to do business here.
Blaming unidentified critics and holding them responsible for her administration’s shortcomings is a tactic well honed in fascist regimes. If you lie often enough then it becomes fact. It’s unbecoming for the head of the municipality to blame nameless critics to avoid taking responsibility for her administration’s missteps and mismanagement of finances.
It took two independent, taxpayer-funded consultants’ reports in the past five years to tell the Mayor that Guelph was not a friendly place to do business. Not to mention the number of complaints made by prospective businessmen about how they were treated.
Mayor Farbridge has surrounded herself with self-serving sycophants who do her bidding. Don’t blame those who are critical because her administration created the anti-business atmosphere. Instead it might be useful to listen once in a while.
Buried in the Mayor’s blog is the announcement of a company buying 12.7 acres of public land for $3,238,500 and bringing 100 new jobs to the city. Great news! That money will go toward the development costs, incurred in the Hanlon Business Park.
What is left out of the statement is the number of private sector jobs that evaporated in the city as a result of the economic meltdown in 2008. It should be noted that the number of public sector jobs actually increased in the same period.
This city has a growing sour feeling toward this administration that is palpable in its intensity. Why is this? In five years the Mayor’s majority in council has made decisions that have thrust the city into debt that far exceeds its own guidelines. It has raided reserve funds to complete major projects, many of which are still not operating.
The Mayor brags that Guelph has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada but fails to mention that it also has one of the highest per capita comparable debt rates in the country. And most distressing, Guelph’s municipal taxes are one of the highest in Ontario.
The average homeowner has seen municipal taxes grow by more than 17.5 per cent in the past five years. Using an average increase of 3.5 per cent per year, the exponential growth of the increases amounts to more than 20 per cent.
During that same period the inflation rate in Canada averaged less than 2 per cent per year.
To suggest that Guelph is now “repositioned as a premier business investment location” is ludicrous. Did it take five years to come to this conclusion? Because during that time there were members of her caucus who did not want the city to attract more business. They did not want so-called urban sprawl ergo, no commercial development to support such development.
But hey! Despite all this Council and staff managed to get the City Hall skating rink open before Christmas.
As for not naming any of the “naysayers”, Gerry Barker puts his name on everything he writes and accepts accountability.