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.