The civic election campaign has started

Posted July 6, 2012

I recently completed a comprehensive survey conducted by a branch of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing partnered with the City of Guelph.

The pitch was that opinions expressed in the lengthy survey would help shape future city services and policies.

The details requested, included views on the environment, city cultural opportunities, and how satisfied they were with the operation and transparency of the city government.

You know how I answered that one.

All these questions, with an incentive draw to win one of two baskets of the city’s offerings, will provide the Farbridge administration with ammunition to fight the next election in the fall of 2014.  And they are doing it without revealing the cost of this questionnaire with the loaded questions. Nor who is on the results distribution list.

Talk about being bought with your own money.

Nowhere are you asked about the cities tattered finances. What are the real costs of the civic museum; the compost plant; settling litigation over the new city hall; legal costs of the losing case against the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health case?

There is no reference to the operation of the city except for one question: “Are your satisfied or dissatisfied with the city administration’s operation and transparency?

Respondents were not asked about the spending and lack of details about costs incurred by the majority of council’s pet projects. No mention of the emphasis on heritage preservation, the environment and all the taxpayer’s money spent trying to remake the downtown.

This survey is designed to shore up the Farbridge majority’s image and management of the public’s business.

It’s another example of a waste of the taxpayer’s dollars.

Their record is dismal when you consider the overhang of millions of dollars in commitments that taxpayers must sustain to balance the city books.

But they don’t care when they promote building a new $16 million park by tearing down a viable strip mall at Gordon and Wellington Streets. Or sneakily getting the chief librarian to announce a $63 million downtown library on the Baker Street parking lot. Already a fulltime fund-raiser is hired to raise another $10 million to equip this new project.

Then the council passes a new strategic plan that will overlap the term of this council.

With a debt that exceeds the self-imposed limit by $24 million there is little room left to finance some $90 million in future projects. The city’s debt has reached more than $118 million. This does not include the money spent to civilize the downtown, a Farbridge favourite project that has fizzled monumentally in the past six years.

This survey is classic Farbridge. When a decision must be made, hire a consultant or conduct a survey. Never allow the blame to shift to your persona.

It’s called escape hatch management.



Filed under Between the Lines

7 responses to “The civic election campaign has started

  1. Jerry

    I agree with everything you said except having no money.One thing you
    forgot to mention is the fact of all that money,they got tons of money from
    over taxing us and then instead of giving the poor people back their money
    they put it in the reserve fund for “future projects”..Another words they got to
    pay off the lawsuits some how with out raising taxes(or letting us poor folk
    know the true costs).Hey is this not what caused the french revolution?
    Hope you got your guilloten all sharpened up for the big changes in the
    election.MINE IS READY TO GO……..

    • Jerry: There is sufficient evidence that the taxpayers are becoming disenchanted with the current council. This does not include the five members who remain in opposition to the majority led by Mayor Farbridge. There will be an accounting come 2014 in which the voters of Guelph will elect a council that will clean up the financial mess and use common sense in its deliberations.My advice is that it’s never too early to organize.

  2. j.p. phelan

    Well put Gerry Barker……don’t we have a few Italians in Guelph that could make a few phone calls and striaghten this all out once and for all???????

  3. Laura

    Don’t forget about that year to year indirect form of taxation the $1.5 million hydro dividend that Council uses as a ATM to artificially lower our property taxes

    • Laura: Don’t forget they called the Guelph Hydro’s $30 million note to pay for their extravagances. Trouble is the cupboard is now bare. The deceit of their message is to promise more spending including the $63 million Baker Street library, $37 million South end recreation centre and another $16 million to develop a riverside park at Wellington and Gordon Streets by tearing down a large strip mall.

    • paulphelan

      The mayor should clear the city’s debts …forget the new library and rec center and the riverside park development is definitely not necessary either. Put them on hold for 5 or 10 years…….then come back and revisit them. This makes too much sense of course so the mayor and her henchmen would not even consider such an intelligent idea.

    • paulphelan: I believe there are a lot of folks in the city who agree with you.

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