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.