Posted September 9, 2014
Late breaking news: The Mayor has admitted that in addition to the $6.635 million settlement with Urbacon, the city must pay $2.3 million for its legal and other costs. One outstanding issue remaining is the Aviva lawsuit that is not part of the Urbacon settlement.
What started out as spending $42 million on a new city hall, ended up costing more than $6.635 million, and that’s just for starters. The city’s press release crows that the settlement won’t cost the taxpayers any increases to pay for it.
The money will come from the reserves. Is that why the city has reserves? To pay for the administration’s multi-million dollar mistakes? Further, what is the source of funds for those reserves?
Why, it’s us, the taxpayers.
Then it says the reserves will be paid back within five years from, you guessed it, your taxes. If Mayor Farbridge and her coalition of councilors are re-elected, don’t expect your taxes to go down. Remember what happened after her election victory in 2010.
The mayor fluffs off the tawdry episode by stating: “As we move on from litigation, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that today, Guelph has a well-functioning, award- winning City Hall and Market Square that will serve our community well for decades to come.”
Mayor, mayor, tell us what the end cost is.
Chief Financial Officer, Al Horsman, joins the apologetic discourse saying the settlement can be accommodated within the city’s current financial means.
The city press release fails to mention the costs of the trial, legal fees paid to Derek Schmuck, the hired gun from Hamilton, who represented the city in its two trials.
Two you say? Yes, there is the Urbacon two-part lawsuit plus the city’s abortive trial to have the damages portion of the Urbacon trial postponed until after the civic election. That was denied.
Then, what were the costs of hiring two construction companies to complete the city hall and renovate the old city hall into a provincial offenses court? Both these projects were part of the original $42 million contract.
The city also coughed up some $4 million to pay off the city hall subcontractors who placed a lien on the new building after Urbacon was thrown off the job.
There is the untold cost of city staff working on behalf of the Urbacon lawsuit to prepare the legal arguments. Just how many lawyers, inside and outside the city staff, who were paid to support the city’s failed contention that it had the right to fire Urbacon?
With the tab now at $8,935 million, this remains an epic error in judgment for which the Farbridge Administration must take responsibility.
How can they say, with a straight face, that the costs are covered and there will be no impact on taxpayers?
They’re manipulating your money to suit their agenda and again avoiding taking responsibility.
It is this degree of arrogance and disdain for the public trust that is the hallmark of a failed administration unable to run the public’s business.
When you go to vote, keep this in mind because re-electing this bunch will only make the pain of mismanagement, misinformation and mistakes get worse.
When the mayor declared the other day that she had “put Guelph back on track”, it became her Lac Megantic moment, (the greatest rail disaster in Canada’s history).