Sob! Our Mayor is so frustrated with the criticism of her administration

Posted November 28, 2013

My Goodness, according to the editor of the local daily, Mayor Farbridge is frustrated with “finger pointing” by unnamed critics of her administration and the internal auditor’s staff overtime and attendance report.

You remember, that’s the one that will cost taxpayers $5,067,000 this year. It was almost a 100 per cent increase over O/T costs in 2012.

Mayor, relax, it’s only a blip in the ongoing saga of your wonkish leadership that has driven up debt and costs to taxpayers during your seven years in office.

We understand your frustration and angst.  But it doesn’t matter. People are not stupid. More and more are starting to realize the money spent by your administration has placed our city in a serious financial bind, now and in the future.

After seven years of absolute control of our city’s administration, it’s understandable that when pesky people complain, it’s frustrating. There’s an old newspaper saying: “ When you fall in love with your own stuff (i.e. copy) you’re only kidding yourself.” For the word “stuff” substitute policies.

Staff numbers, salaries and benefits have already placed a huge liability on taxpayers in the future. With a total staff of 2,065 in 2012, and 173 staffers earning more than $100,000, you think you’re frustrated?

Misguided capital spending on projects has already endangered building a new downtown public library, a renovated police headquarters and the south end recreation centre, to name just a few.

Serious management errors including the $330,000 cost overrun renovating the Farmer’s Market; the Wyndham Street rail underpass that is too low for trucks; the soccer dome rescue, carrying a taxpayer liability of $500,000 and the $15 million waste collection cart system that fails to collect garbage from some 6,400 households.

Did we mention the $100,000 spent on a Toronto consultant to create am “open and transparent” governance plan?

Frustration has its price. Trying to persuade citizens that a 2014 property tax increase is now 2.37 per cent is pure political theatre.  The predictable pulling the rabbit out of the hat, by your finance department, only adds to citizen frustration. Suddenly finding some $2 million in new assessment was either masterful or deliberate. Isn’t 2014 an election year?

For most citizens it’s still the old Farbridge dance. Hit ‘em with an unrealistic tax increase then find ways to get it lower, with council taking all the credit.

Remember last year when the staff proposed an 8.5 per cent property tax increase? Council demanded it should be 3 per cent. The new CAO called the demand “regressive”. Coun. Gloria Kovach proposed that staff cut $500,000 in spending so the 2013 tax rate would be 2.96 per cent.

Well, by mid-year the staff could only find $176,000 in “savings”. The real 2013 property tax increase turned out to be 3.74 per cent according to the finance department.

Mayor, this all happened on your watch.

Frankly, these kinds of manipulative games by the Farbridge administration are no longer fooling most people.

That’s why people are realizing that change must come in our city’s governance.

Fasten your seat belts.


Filed under Between the Lines

8 responses to “Sob! Our Mayor is so frustrated with the criticism of her administration

  1. geo

    I’m so frustrated that just like a bad rash Her Royal Highness keeps coming back

  2. Pingback: The costs of oversight | Craig Chamberlain Online

  3. Andy

    If only wages would increase by the amount of the tax increase. It has become unaffordable to live in this city. Where is this new industrial development that is suppose to be coming to the west side of the Hanlon. I understand there are restrictions on what kind of industries they will allow there! Is this correct or just what people believe to be true.

    • Andy: One of the most promising was a proposal by Maple Leaf Foods to build a new processing plant in the city-owned Hanlon Business Park. We know where that ended up, in Puslinch just off highway six. Business and industrial development is the Achilles heel of Guelph’s lack of development to create assessment and jobs. They are just not very good at it.

  4. Jeff

    Actually, Guelph has attired several new businesses, and expanded existing ones. Gerry would rather point out one that didn’t happen than focus on the several others that did. Typical redirection. As a former reporter he’s very good at it.

    • Jeff: This is a double reply. Your heartless comment about Gloria Kovach is unwarranted much like the comments you make designed to destroy credibility. Nobody listens. Second, you boast about the city has “attired” several new businesses shows your basic lack of understanding economics. Since Mayor Farbridge was elected seven years ago, the ratio of residential to commercial industrial assessment has not budged – 84 percent to 16 per cent. The accepted ratio among Ontario municipalities is 60 per cent residential to 40 per cent commercial industrial. Guelph has a long way to grow (sic) when it comes to easing the burden carried by the residential taxpayer. The sad part is the administration holds several projects in priority not the least of which is the $53 million investment in a waste management system. So far, it is a failure to meet the needs of all residents and businesses and its costs are cloaked in secrecy. Better go back to the drawing board, Jeff

  5. Jeff

    My comment wasn’t heartless, it was factual, something you know little about, much like the numbers in this post. You’re right, no one on this blog listens, to me or to criticism, they’d rather believe everything you say than check actual facts. I’d suggest you cite sources for you information so that I don’t have to tell everyone that you just made it up.

    • Jeff: So you want my sources. Let’s start with the GrassRoots Guelph petition to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing requesting an audit of the city’s finances and operations. In our first meeting with MMAH officials, they confirmed that the numbers quoted in the petition were accurate. Suggest you read the petition and receive an eye-opener. I guess for now you are the designated hitter for the administration. Stay tuned, this party’s only getting started.

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