Why voters are saying: Gee! I didn’t vote for that

By Gerry Barker

August 25, 2016

While many Guelphites are on vacation and catching the rays, it dawns on me that many people are still wondering what has happened to our city in the past nine years? Traffic congestion is greater than ever due to the shrinkage of lanes on some major route; Taxes are at their highest level since 2006; Garbage collection and processing covers only 87 per cent of the households and businesses; the infrastructure repairs and maintenance in Guelph will cost more than $250 million in the next ten years, according the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO).

We have been governed by a number of aggressive progressives, aka the “Progs” who have had their way with the public purse employing tactics to achieve their goals that would make Donald Trump blush.

They had power and used it. They set records for closed meetings doing the public’s business. So let’s look at some of the progressive achievements that a minority of citizens supported. If you did not vote in 2006 or 2010 don’t get mad, get even and make sure you vote in 2018.

But let’s look at how the progressives changed your city.

* Coun. Mike Salisbury moves a motion to spend $600,000 on bicycle lanes on Woodlawn Avenue in the 2015 budget and was supported by his majority of colleagues. They became known as the Bloc of Seven. A perfectly good four-lane road in one section of Woodlawn Road East was re-marked to a lane each way, a centre left turn lane and bicycle lane.

Gee, I didn’t vote for that!

* The city rebuilt Wyndham Street under the CNR mainline that does not provide enough height for large trucks with trailers to pass under. Depending on your point of view, during the Santa Claus parade the big guy nearly had his head taken off as his float passed under the bridge. It still hasn’t been repaired and the engineer in charge is no longer with the city.

Gee, willikers, I didn’t vote for that!

* DCAO Mark Amorosi of Corporate Services and Human Resoures, first advertisied for a Chief Financial Officer, then hired a headhunter to locate a suitable candidiate. He ended up appointing a junior financial analyst in the finance department as CFO, General Manager of Finance and Treasurer. Now that’s a giant leap up the ladder! Problem is the lady is on maternity leave and will not report for work until next year.

Is it possible he made a mistake? I didn’t vote for that!

* Guelph Hydro has hiked electricity rates by 42.5 per cent since June 2013 to July 2016. And a Hydro executive said that Guelph Hydro had one of its best years ever in 2015. Really!. Combining the electricity increase, water and sewage rates for the same period, in June 2013 – water $130/sewage $141; in July 2016, water $159 sewage $173 makes Guelph one of the highest energy and water cost city’s households and businesses in the province.

Holy bananas! I didn’t vote for that!

* Mayor Cam Guthrie campaigned in 2014 promising a Better Guelph and property taxes contained to the Consumer Price Index. The index was 2.1 per cent in January 2015 but the property taxes including increases in assessment were 3.96 per cent under his watch.

Leapin’ Alligators, I didn’t vote for that!

* The operating costs of two culture centres in the city show a city subsidy of $780,000 just to keep the the doors open. In case you’re wondering, the cost for the RiverRun Theatres – $531,000 and the Sleeman Centre – $249,000. But hold the phone, The city negotiated a new 10-year deal with the Guelph Storm Hockey Club to reduce the city share from the receipts. It has been reported that the cost to the city is $5 million over the term of the contract. The Storm are the only lessees for the Sleeman that goes dark for three months each year.

Blazing hockey pucks! I didn’t vote for that!

* Coun. James Gordon describes his role on council is to deal with housing, poverty, environmental sustainability, a living wage, food security and climate change. He is serving on a municipal council not an NDP member of the Ontario Legislature, he tried once but he lost. Every vote in which he participates is a function of his personal beliefs and not those of the people who elected him.

Beliefs, Schmuliefs. I didn’t vote for that!

* Coun. June Hofland brings 25 years of banking to her job as chair of the council finance committee. She has held the job for four years, but who is counting? Ms. Hofland takes her orders from DCAO Amorosi. She won by just five votes in 2014. That’s not a towering approval rating for the eight-year councillor. The question remains: Are we in good hands with Hofland at the financial tiller?

Will that be $20’s or $50’s? I didn’t vote for her

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9 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

9 responses to “Why voters are saying: Gee! I didn’t vote for that

  1. Louis Marchesano

    Until the gang of seven are gone we will still be having the same bs by then , also someone who I suspect is Susan Watson pretty much wouldn’t debate be because of my criticism of council and the old mayor it’s pretty much the typical left in this city shut down debate, can’t accept constructive criticism and don’t like freedom of speech

    Have you considered posting these stories on Facebook, you’ll get a much bigger reach and it could sway the vote in the next election two councilors we want provided unions and the left and the friends of Farbridge don’t hijack the election like the did the past few times before.

  2. Peggy

    Louis, I put them all on facebook.If everyone did that we would reach thousands.

  3. bostoncollie

    Paying $5 for the privilege of driving across town to deliver my green waste….I didn’t vote for that!

  4. Laura

    Did you vote for a projected 191,000 people in Guelph? What will it mean to future tax increases since growth does not pay for itself?

    In terms of the future tax increases I wonder why Guelph City staff never presented any estimates to council or the public about the predicted costs of the City’s population to 191,000 in the local growth plan being circulated by the province until Sept. 30 for comments . After all They only had to go back and review a report we already paid for.

    in The Dec. 11, 2007 CN Watson and associates economics Ltd. 2007 “Fiscal impact of Proposed Growth Options” that was presented to Guelph City Council the costs of growth were estimated for a population of 155,000 {status quo} to 2031 175,000, 195,000 . this was a finacial review of the implications of population growth on the municipal finances in order to assist in long term decision making and planning.

    it is interesting that the report identified that employment targets for 195,000 could not be achieved within the present city boundaries.

    The report identified the net financial impacts on existing residents related to the costs of growth, the costs were analysed on an incremental basis.

    The capital needs were forecasted for 2008-2017 based on the services most impacted by growth these include transportation, transit Stormwater wastewater parks for all other services they made a general provision of $1000 per capita ( daycare, health,social services homes for the aged etc )

    The baseline for capital 2008 to 2031 spending are as follows

    For 155,000. $835.5 million
    175,00. 1.217 billion
    191,000 1.545 billion

    There is also the capital funding needed related to growth to be considered
    This predicted amount for 155,000 population was estimated at $454.1 million –

    For 175,00 the amount to be recovered is $657.6 million
    195,000 $875.8 million

    Since devlopment charges do not cover the costs of growth CN Watson estimated that 55% of the costs of growth would have to recovered from property taxes, water and wastewater rates and user fees. The cost estimates to be recovered are as follows:
    A population of 155,000 was 381.4 million
    175,000 was 559.7 million
    195,000 was 669.8 million.

    What do all these numbers mean to us as taxpayers? according to CN Watson the predicted future property taxes increases based on growth could be 4.5 to 5 % increase each year to pay for growth.

    One wonders then why there was no public meeting held to inform Guelph citizens about the costs of growth BEFORE the city staff’s response to the Ontario government’s Guelph’s proposed future population growth went o Guelph City Council?

    • Laura: Excellent comment. However, the Farbridge administration in its dying days August 2014, financed a $34 million police headquarters renovation by pledging future development fees of more than $16 million. Yet another example of financial mismanagement that has driven down the credibility of the progressive domination of our city governance. This has to stop because there is growing evidence of outright corruption by a handful of city managers in concert with the majority leftist elements of council. Talk about borrowing from Peter to pay Paul!

  5. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    I guess many were/are taken in by the rampant boviation we suffer from.

    • guelphspeaks reader

      Warren G. Harding is often linked to “bloviate,” but to him the word wasn’t insulting; it simply meant “to spend time idly.”

      Harding used the word often in that “hanging around” sense, but during his tenure as the 29th U.S. President (1921-23), he became associated with the “verbose” sense of “bloviate,” perhaps because his speeches tended to the long-winded side.

      The term probably derives from a combination of the word blow plus the suffix -ate.

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bloviate

  6. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    Dear guelphspeaks reader:My apologies,I misspelled the word “bloviation” as I iadvertently got the L out of there.

  7. Laura

    Gerry I think we should all feel concerned about the costs of growth in the city. that 4 -5 % increase that CN Watson predicted related to growth will cause continuing stress on city finances. When I questioned a former CFO a few years ago The reply I received was that the city would have to make up tax shortfalls by cutting services. A key to reducing the costs of growth is to raise development charges in the city to the maximum allowable amounts allowed under the Development Charges Act. The city has not done this in some areas of development charges. 10% of DC’s by law cannot be recouped from the developers so the city has to come up with that 10%.

    I think that the gravy train also known as the downtown redevelopment funding has to end. At least in its current form. You should ask Pat to look into how much money has been paid out in tax back grants brownfield money etc. In the last 5 years I think you will find it is well over $20 million look at how much the Woods site alone received. Just recently they were given a grant for the heritage building that went to council on the addendum of the Council Meeting which meant that even if you objected you could not delegate against it. some of the tax back grants went to subsidizing underground parking in at least one new apartment building. as far as I know all that money came out the capital budget. Where else could it come from maybe David Birtwhistle would know as a former councillor . If that is the case it is no wonder the our infrastructure reserve is depleted. How much of it went into the downtown at the cost of other areas of the city.? I support the downtown but I think we have been generous enough now it is time to look after the rest of the city.

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