Poated September 17, 2012
Remember last fall when the resigning manager of development planning in the city leaked a report?
Wel,l part two has arrived in the form of an 81 page report that staff morale is continuing to bottom as confusion between departments and council stalls development projects.
In the first act of this play, the consultant stated the word was out among those enterprises seeking to set up shop in Guelph described as “ the Guelph Factor”.
dysfunctional council, planning, and economic staff, managerial chaos rampant in the halls of One Carden Street.
The report focuses heavily on internal issues at city hall. It emphasizes “unnecessary conflicts between the planning and economic department departments”. The crunch comes when the economic development staff pushes for advancing industrial projects ahead of other development projects.
This thrust comes right from the top, aka the Mayor and her majority in council.
The back-story is that in almost six years this council has failed to increase the ratio of industrial commercial of 16 per cent of all assessment. This leaves the 84 per cent of taxpayers as the heavy lifters when it comes to budget time.
Topping it off is the provincially mandated University of Guelph deal that pays in lieu of property taxes a rate of $75 per student. That so-called bed-tax has been in effect since 1983 without any increase.
Last year the university property tax bill was about $1.6 million. Compare that property tax contribution to the total city 2012 budget of $174 million.
Let’s paraphrase from the report: The complexity of the issues – in the review process has increased. This is due to the city’s goals (council) related to sustainable development and active participation of stakeholders and the public in the development review process and this is impacting workload.
Okay, let’s interpret that.
First: This council believes that “sustainable development” means only approving projects that meet environmental and council’s community standards. These include accommodating the developmental growth of the university; control of what they believe is waste management; setting heritage standards; paying to operate a transit system; paying generous civic staff salaries, wages and benefits.
Second: Who are the stakeholders as described in the report? The civic unions; the downtown business improvement organization; the police, fire and EMS services?
Third: Is it not interesting that the public is third in line for consideration? It is the hallmark of this administration that has dominated Guelph civic management for six years. Council’s delusional mantra is the taxpayers will always pay.
The report concludes that: “Guelph is seeking to become a world leader in sustainable development, energy conservation and new agro-biology technology.”
Is this what Guelph is all about?
To become a world leader?
This is monument building on the grand scale.
This city needs responsible financial management, attainable goals that serve the citizens and stop this disastrous reach for the stars as exercised by the Mayor and her cohorts.
If you give a mouse a slab of cheddar, you know what’s going to happen.