Posted October 20, 2012
It takes a city to make a village
Did you ever wonder who decided that Guelph would be the capital of waste management in the country?
No? Neither did the more than 14,000 voters in 2010 that re-elected Mayor Karen Farbridge and her majority of Council followers.
Was it ever determined that they had the right to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to create a web of waste disposal facilities that converted all manner of waste? Did taxpayers agree that we would service the needs of other municipalities?
This includes 60,000 tonnes of household and commercial wet waste. Then there is dry waste or recyclables that is drying up feedstock because of a superior operation in Cambridge that is automated to handle dry waste at half the cost.. Next comes the sewage sludge, the by-product of 20,000 tonnes of treated sewage, which must be disposed.
So, your council, in just six years, has managed to spend more than $75 million to achieve the majority of council’s goals of misguided sustainability.
Example: Spend $34 million on building an organic composting plant with a partner, Maple Reinders, that is six times the required capacity of Guelph’s wet waste requirement. Then spend another $15 million on a waste collection system. But don’t reveal the details of the contract or the costs
Throw in the plant that has yet to reach operational capacity despite delivering some 1,300 tonnes of compost, none of which was sourced from Guelph. Whose wet waste went in there?
It’s not over. The city plans on spending another $20 million of special glass-lined stainless steel storage tanks to store the sewage sludge generated over the cold months. Then enters a deal with Lystek, the human waste fertilizer company from Cambridge, to “re-water the sludge” and spread it on agricultural lands as fertilizer. How they do that is disgusting, using hot human waste from outside sources.
Is this what you voted for?
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The attack of the ash tree borers
You gotta love it. Who doesn’t like trees? Guelph has some great areas where trees form a delicious canopy to give us comfort of shade and protection from the sun’s rays and absorb the carbon emissions of our society.
Taxpayers should applaud the work of stopping the infection of the insects on ash trees. But that’s not the only brand of tree in the city. Our city is populated with trees of many species.
Why then is it necessary to hire four, full time employees to cope with protecting a single species?
The committee responsible for this idiotic request moved it up to council for approval.
Are none of them listening to the rumble of discontent about the high costs of civic employees across the province and Canada?
To make the argument that the committee wants to see Guelph from space as a forest, is ludicrous and typical of the agenda of the Farbridge administration.
As Oliver Twist said: “More, please.”
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How we taxpayers were disadvantaged
Most taxpayers are wondering: ”What happened?
In 2010, Guelph voters elected Mayor Karen Farbridge and a slim majority of her followers. The key, included an artful political move was to persuade Conservative Todd Dennis to join her majority. This gave her complete control of council with an majority of eight supporters, to five councillors who were elected to change the direction the Farbridge administration was taking the city.
The Dennis defection, after proclaiming he was dedicated to reducing taxes and establishing a recreation centre in the growing South End of the city, turned out to be a sham.
That has not happened. And those voters in Ward Six should take note for the municipal election in 2014. Dennis masqueraded as a conservative but joined the Farbridge team in a New York minute. These are the same councillors who proceeded to ladle more tax money on their specious projects, regardless of the consequences of future needs of the city.
Here are the three reasons why we have a tainted public administration.
1. Those with power – politicians, police and bureaucrats – don’t believe they should share that power. In their sphere of controlling influence, they dismiss the rights of citizens to share that power.
2. Those in power frequently dismiss those who oppose and complain. They label thee objectors in a pejorative way and use surrogates to attack those objectors as ignorant, dangerous and out of touch.
Is this starting to sound familiar? Think of the tactics used by the Farbridge supporters in the last two elections.
3. Citizens must use the tools they possess to keep true democracy alive in their community. This includes solidarity, standing up to authority and researching their objections of the course taken in their society
This is a mirror image of the civic Guelph political scene. Power is absolute. Only the people can change it.
Reform must come and the people sense it.
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Civic salary creep commits Guelph taxpayers to future uncontrollable costs
A recent post compared the salary of the Chairman of the Regional Municipality of York to the Chief Administration Officer (CAO) of Guelph. The chairman is unelected as is the CAO.
The York guy made $207,654 in 2011. He presides over 1.1 million people and nine municipalities with nine councils.
Guelph CAO, Ann Pappert, presides over a city of 122,000 and earns $191,000 per year.
This is a base example how the Farbridge administration has escalated senior staff salaries and benefits in the past six years. The problem lies with the arbitrators who decide these increases and they are the city staff itself.
These decisions to consistently increase staff compensation have resulted in an exponential flood of costs to the taxpayers.
As a result, Guelph’s annual budget is now composed of 89 per cent being paid out for staff salaries, wages and, simply extraordinary benefits.
Want a comparison? The City of Waterloo pays 56.6 per cent of its budget for staff costs..
Is there a plumber in the house?