"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

More Budget Talk

Yet another special committee meeting. It started out interesting.

We had an audience. Library board and fire department budgets were being presented

Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce were there to support requests for grants.

Culture Centre representatives came to give a glowing account of their program.

A few residents were in the audience.

The Mayor opened the meeting with a statement about the tax increase. Regional staff had been able to reduce the increase and he cited a new combined figure for Aurora .

There was nothing in writing. I hesitate to name a number. It might not be accurate.

Later, I asked the Mayor to explain his statement. He said he would.  But not then.

The evening was like that.

When culture's presentation was complete, the Mayor invited comments or questions.

I had only one. I asked why is there no museum at the Church Street School?

Lickety-split the Mayor intervened and stated he would not allow the question.

He didn't say why. Simply repeated his refusal to allow the question.

Sometimes, nothing more needs to be said.

Councillor Pirrie stated he was not prepared to support the budget without further detail than had been presented.

The Mayor said  the budget  was philosophical.

Other Councillors had similar concerns to Councillor Pirrie.

Councillor Ballard did too but he didn't want to start the budget process over again.He suggested we  discuss  process in time for the next budget.

I said there was nothing philosophical about a budget. It's about hard facts and figures, the burden on the shoulders of the taxpayers and how is it justified.

Finally,a resolution passed to direct staff to provide more details.

The Mayor noted it meant the budget would not be approved before Christmas. Like it was a present or  timing was more critical than doing it right.

About then I asked the Mayor to explain his statement at the beginning of the meeting about the combined tax increase.

He said he would. "but not now

At ten minutes past ten, the water and wastewater budget was presented by a tag team of Treasurer and Public Works Director.

Pages of figures and graphs were raced through to be completed by ten-thirty. the hour of adjournment.

Documentation was provided at the table.

This budget is complicated. A shift from water rates to tax rates is recommended.

The documentation should have been in hand beforehand to prepare for discussion.

Instead,. at ten thirty the Mayor called for extension of the hour of adjournment.

Since seven o'clock, we had been absorbing business plans and figures.

All of it together did not equal the significance of the water-waste-water budget.

Nothing has captured public attention as much as the question of water rates and method of  their calculation.

A budget of several million dollars with so many twists and turns. deserves serious attention.

I packed my gear and left. There is only so much a body can absorb.

At ten-fifty-two p.m. a vote to approve the water-waste-water budget as presented was cast.


Anonymous said...

The refusal to look into the museum fiasco is tiring and investigation is long overdue.The Mayor is beginning to become more and more opaque as the months pass.I am starting to visualize strings being tugged from above.
We shall not ignore the man behind the curtain.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Mayor was supposed to be leading a
team of elected Council members. Sounds like he is
being led by an unelected team of staff members.
Surely he knows the difference between leading and
being led?

Anonymous said...

It must be interesting to watch the respect for
the Mayor fade as the people around the table start
to think for themselves. He has made new friends but
I fear it is at the cost of his old ones. Sad to watch. We
were afraid this might happen.

Anonymous said...

Watching Council, Big Black Driverless Truck heading
for cliff

Anonymous said...

Who is the man behind the curtain?

Anonymous said...

Interesting body language on the Council Meeting.
From the rhetoric, Dawe would appear to be doing
better but he looks like a dog's breakfast Evelyn would
appear to be losing every round and she looks great. So
what does that tell you about the inner workings of
these people ? One is comfortable about herself, the
other really uncomfortable in his own skin. One will
sleep well tonight. Psychology 101 Really basic stuff.

Anonymous said...

Where to celebrate Christmas advise?

Anonymous said...

The man behind the curtain?
If you watched council last night you could hear it, especially the comments about the Cultural Center and the Museum.

Matt Maddocks said...

Hi Evelyn -

Interesting meeting last night. Good to see the Town is now in talks with the AHS to acquire ownership of Aurora's artifacts. I applaud this motion by the Mayor, as I believe it marks a critical first step to re-establishing a home - a museum - for the display of Aurora's history.

Aside, I see you still have an old, tired ghost still haunting your blog comments, still bleating the same old tired rhetoric. I wonder who this person could be? Who'd think there would be benefit from making baseless, hollow, petulant criticsm about the current Mayor and council? Perhaps someone with an old axe to grind, someone who has delusions of running for elected office again?

Things that make you go hmmm...


Anonymous said...

I think it is a perception that the Mayor relies too
heavily on the advice of inexperienced staff. And that
can be corrected.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Matt but several "Big Ticket " items
have made me uneasy. With the economy on a spiral
there s nothing wrong with sober second thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone, staff, councillors or residents understand
the software contract that will cost taxpayers for years
and require the hiring of additional staff ?
The item was OKed far too fast and I have yet to meet
any Auroran who understands why we did that when there was no proven need.
I'm not sure what ' big ticket 'means but that would be
the one I would point to.

Anonymous said...

Put the Cultural Centre on the list of costly budget
totals that tick people off. But there might be hope at
the end of that tunnel. Warren Mar's excellent report
provided the Council with a plan. Now we wait to see
if they follow through. If that were done, and were seen
to be done well, a big step would have been taken in
building trust in the Council members. We're still a bit gun-shy and would love to be able to place our
confidence in good hands.

Anonymous said...

Matt, we already have 3 on council. It doesn't take a
space scientist to see they will try again.
P.S. The man behind the curtain isn't even an Auroran
taxpayer. I think he lives in Bradford.

Anonymous said...

Nine out of fourteen comments (to date) from the same Anonymous cryptic commenter. You've got an obvious fan, Councillor Buck.

Anonymous said...

Stop pussy-footing....

Name names... Who is "pulling the strings". Making accusations at ghosts is not productive, if you know something, say something.