Here are the top topics people are talking about in Guelph

It’s not complicated

Why can’t Guelph Transit provide a service that is on-time, safe and convenient? More than $300,000 was spent on a transit consultant in the past year to redefine the route systems, among other service improvements. The outcome so far has riled the riders and drivers alike. Is it not a management problem that runs through to City Hall?

Snowshoes optional

Will the city provide snowshoes for those hardy souls to trek up Catholic Hill to inspect their new $16 million civic museum? Opening the place after five years of construction – the pyramids only took a little longer – in February seems misguided when the landscaping and parking is incomplete. Also adjacent Cork Street is slated for serious rehab. What is the real cost of this enterprise and how many staff hours did it take to complete the project? Another management failure?

Test drive causes odours

No sooner did they ship 65 tones of wet waste into the Watson Road Microbe Motel and odours were detected and the Ministry of Environment notified. Is there a problem here, Bunkie? The good news is Janet Laird, Executive Director of Engineering and Environmental Services, has come out from behind her desk and is on top of the new odour problems. She is the face of the city on this issue. Question: How does a PhD in philosophy become head of engineering?

Why should the taxpayers pay for free parking?

It was revealed that the city is going to pay the legal costs of appealing a Revenue Canada decision to charge city employees, who have downtown parking paid by the city, a taxable benefit. What is difficult to understand is that for three years the city paid the tax owed by employees of more than $454,000.  Would that not be a precedent, a tacit acknowledgement that free parking as a condition of employment is a taxable benefit? No, the city is now arguing about the past three years. How many private employers in the downtown area provide free parking for employees?  All Mark Amorosi, Executive Director of Human Resources says Guelph is right and Revenue Canada is wrong. Listen for the rustle of garnishee’s hitting the paychecks of city staffers who don’t pay the taxable benefit.

How much is that doggy in the window?

Now that the city has expended its opposition to the new Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health $10 million headquarters on Stone Road, people are asking what is Guelph’s real cost? How much were the legal fees, consultant fees, staff time spent to prevent this project from getting off the ground? The city is without a Chief Financial Officer, so is it any wonder that such details may wind up in the circular file?

Strange bedfellow

A lot of folks are wondering why rookie Coun. Todd Dennis joined the Farbridge majority on Council. In his election campaign he promised to reduce taxes and get the South end a much needed recreation centre. Well, those turned out to be empty promises.  Methinks he sized up the new council make-up and decided to side with the Farbridge majority. It may have been an expedient decision but based on his ability to talk the talk, he failed to walk the walk.

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