The Farbridge portrait of “progressive” does not make it a Picasso

April 28, 2014

Let’s go back to the 2006 city election campaign.

The Farbridge team crafted a program promising to stop urban sprawl, killing the mythical Big Pipe and was anti-Big Box stores. They also promised to run an open and transparent government.

This brought on the tragic-comedic slogan: “ Putting Guelph back on track.”

The result saw the newly elected Mayor winning with a majority of 10 councillors. Only two remained from the previous council, Gloria Kovach and Christine Billings.

The result gave the Mayor total control of the agenda for the next four years.

They acted like kids in a candy store as the projects and policies launched our city into a frenzy of spending on extreme environmental issues, heritage preservation at any cost and rewarding its union supporters with fat contracts and benefits.

Eight years later, the cost of city employees is eating the taxpayer’s lunch, soaking up 80 per cent of the property tax revenues. That revenue is 46 percent of the city’s total revenue. The remaining 54 per cent includes water and hydro charges to residents, user fees, and government grants.

So when they hand out the award for the most progressive city in Canada, look no further than Guelph. Unfortunately, the award will not consider the 35 per cent increase in property taxes in the past eight years to pay for it. It has been done chiefly on the backs of property taxpayers.

Speaking of awards, there has been a number of announcements lately from City Hall in which the city is awarded recognition for a variety of pet Farbridge projects. Trouble is, these are not given spontaneously but the city itself applies for them.

One was a contrived award for launching the “wellbeing” project. Ask yourself: How has this multi-million dollar project benefitted you? Did your taxes go down? Or your water bill? Has it made you happier knowing that it is there? Has your heart skipped a beat or two in joy and anticipation?

It’s all part of the image-building process that the current administration is undertaking to pat itself on the back and attempt to redeem its real reputation as spendthrift, sloppy and phony.

Even Farbridge supporter and councillor Karl Wettstein (W6) remarked recently: “We need more businessmen on council.”

Yes Karl, there is a screaming shortage of councillors who possess a background of business/financial management experience and a dollop of common sense.

The Farbridge administration likes to be described as progressive but at what cost and benefit?

The main issue in this election campaign will be the Farbridge eight-year record.

It’s like trying to turn a kindergarten portrait of mommy into a Picasso.




Filed under Between the Lines

6 responses to “The Farbridge portrait of “progressive” does not make it a Picasso

  1. Fred

    The city is going to dig up our flower garden in front of the house to plant a
    tree. How’s that for stupidity, and wasting money.

  2. Fred

    I suppose the taxpayers will be paying for the pensions and benefits for
    the new employees hired to sort Detroit’s garbage.

    I wonder how Detroit became bankrupt?

  3. Farmer44

    The word “progressive” used by Farbridge could mean a disease that becomes more widespread over time. Pretty much sums up the last eight years. If this woman is re-elected I will seriously consider leaving Guelph.

  4. Louis

    Detroit became bankrupt due to pensions of city employees and unions, the same way Guelph is going bankrupt.

  5. laura

    I attended the initial Wellbeing Forum in 2012 held at the River Run Center. The Mayor gave a presentation that included her take on Guelph and why we were there to discuss wellbeing. Judge for yourself I quote here from my notes of her speech “My mentor talks to me about the negativity factor in Guelph.“ she described it as – the `straw that broke the camel`s back` and how `the negativity factor is holding us back` -“It gives us a reason not to do anything“-“ it lets us avoid difficult decisions. “ – `we are gathering to push back negativity` – `it will be fascinating to see outcomes if we are successful in moving past negativity“ She indicated that we are moving towards a non traditional consultation model. and that they were there to learn from what they heard to fill in the gaps`.
    After the speechifying we broke into focus groups. I felt angry at the Mayor`s speech, to me it was an obvious attempt to influence people not to talk about the problems in Guelph. Why would you speak of problems when you were just told by the Mayor in her speech that there was too much negativity. No problems = nothing to fix therefore everything is fine here in Guelph`s version of the emerald city we can keep promoting and funding arts and culture and the Downtown while the real social problems continue to grow. After all in the Land of OZ (AKA Guelph) the administration and the majority of the Mayor`s council supporters seem to promote the principle that everything is great here in Guelph. Hmmm… is that why groups like the Brant Avenue Neighbourhood are struggling, They were at council last night speaking about the poor bus service and the cost of taking the buss as being out of their reach. They can`t afford to take the bus but wait there is a solution – buy a storm ticket. I wonder if they know that we are subsidizing the Guelph Storm fans, who get a free bus ride downtown if they show their game ticket to the bus driver. (just one example of another waste of our tax dollars.)
    I want to thank the few council members who voted last night against giving the Wellington Street developers the $3.8million dollar subsidy. As Councillor Bob Bell indicated at the meeting the brownfield money was not supposed to be used for parking in new developments. So why give the developers $2 million for their parking garage. Just another example of developer welfare at the tax payers expense. Also watch for the upcoming Council meeting in May. That is where a report will be coming forward to decide how they will continue to fund and subsidize redevelopment in the Downtown since they have already spent the $33 million they had previously put aside for downtown redevelopment. How will they continue to fund the downtown – will it be thru the proposed tax levy (over and above any new tax increases) Perhaps it is time to organize a rally the night it comes to city at city hall to advertise the plight of taxpayers who have no more to give. You decide.

  6. Thank you Laura. Organize a rally? Yes, I agree, and, will be there to support the plight of taxpayers.

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