Passing the buck to taxpayers

Instead of taking prompt action to correct a serious problem with excessive water bills, Mayor Karen Farbridge denied compensation to a condominium complex that received a water bill for $25,000 for a month. The average water bill for the complex was $1,600 in the same time frame.

The motion to compensate the Home Owners Association was defeated when the Mayor broke the 6-6 tie.

The mayor’s rationale in voting to defeat the motion, was that the staff was studying a water bill compensation system and that council should not interfere at this time.

Since the story broke, there have been other excessive water bill complaints that have placed homeowners, in some cases, in dire financial straights.

The city water management staffer said the meter was working at the East End Condo. He failed to explain why the water did not turn up at the wastewater plant. There was no evidence of leakage or flooding around the condo.

Is it possible there may be a few grow-ups in the neighbourhood tapping into the Condo water supply to feed their illegal plants?

This is another case where city staff fails to meet the needs of the public. Compounding the problem is the Farbridge-dominated council tossing the ball to the staff for resolution.

Another example was the $90,000 spent on a consultant to advise the city on proclaiming a neighbourhood composed of 60 year-old homes as a heritage district. There were 17 replies to a questionnaire sent out to more than 400 homes in the designated area.

That works out to $5,294.11 for each reply.

The most recent example was after years of study, the city taxation and revenue manager agreed with a Richmond Hill company to allow taxes to be paid by credit card.  The reasoning was that some people wanted to accumulate points on their credit cards.

Let’s see, a home with a tax bill of $3,000 would be charged 2.66 per cent for the privilege of using their credit card. That comes to $79.80 charged by the out-of –town card processor. In most bonus credit cards the payback would be $30.

It will cost almost $50 to pay your taxes by credit card.

Is this a great city or what?


Filed under Between the Lines

3 responses to “Passing the buck to taxpayers

  1. paul phelan

    I love reading about the ongoing antics of a very very disfunctional city council lead by an even more disfunctional mayor….good entertainment for me

  2. Paul

    Mr. Phelan:
    I wonder why you find this waste of taxpayer money by the Farbridge Gang of Eight “entertaining”? It is your money that is being misspent along with every other taxpayer and feepayer in the City.
    I do not find it amusing, I think it is ridiculous. We are being hi-jacked by the “Loonie” left. It is time for the Citizens of guelph to get angry and vocal about it.
    “Good Entertaintment”? No way. It is time to start the taxpayer’s revolt!

  3. Paul

    Mr. Barker:
    I do not agree with your analysis on who pays the Credit Card fee. Normally it is the “merchant” which in this case would be the City.
    Unless of course they were able to negotiate some sort of deal with the Credit Card company.
    In my case at 1 airmile for every $20, then on a $4000 tax bill I would get 200 airmiles. Of course the City would either have to eat the charge or find another teat to milk on the taxpayer cow.
    So I can see the value TO ME of paying my taxes this way. I see no value to the City at all, and I would suggest that the sick hen that hatched this lame idea be put out to pasture ASAP. Ooops I am mixing my metaphors, but then the only free range chickens that I see are the taxpayers and feepayers. Maybe it is time to put the symbolic Elsie out to pasture!!

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