"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

Sunday 28 July 2013

John Abel's Guest Post

John Abel has left a new comment on your post "Beatitudes are Blessed ...":

"That is the Question" Councillor Buck's Blog, July 4, 2013.

Councillor Buck goes on to say;

"Development Charges are collected at the time building permits are issued. Families buying homes pay for the new facilities. No part of the cost of new recreational facilities are funded from the annual tax levy"

Repair and Replacement of Town facilities are funded from the annual tax levy. Our Council recently approved a 10 year Capital Budget Plan for our roads, facilities and fleet. I believe Aurora is the first municipality in the Region to employ such a plan.

The upgrade to the AFLC to accommodate the addition of a Youth Centre will be funded by Development Charges. This is an opportunity to address some of the design shortcomings of the AFLC at no cost or burden to the taxpayer.

Some of the comments posted voice their concerns about this project primarily on the cost and that it will be a burden to the tax levy. They may not be aware that the funding for the Youth Centre and the Upgrade to the AFLC is from Development Charges.


To be precise,  ninety per cent of development charge levies pay for capital  costs of new facilities. Ten per cent can be sourced from the tax levy.

It can  also be paid by the sports organization which is the greater user of the facility.  Or from the 

In Lieu of parks reserve fund.

I question John's understanding that "alterations" to the AFLC can be paid from Development Charges. 

It was one of the two questions I requested  clarified before the vote was taken .

The Mayor refused to allow the questions .

We were voting to increase an allocation of funds from $4.6 million dollars  to $7.4 million and the Mayor  saw fit to cut  the debate to  time allocated. 

We can afford  millions of dollars of expenditure but not the time  needed to examine the  details.

During the discussion the question was asked if modification  for  existing facilities could be funded from development charges. I understand they can not. I believe the answer given  confirmed my understanding.

It also seemed obvious that Councillors had a different understanding of the facts.

The situation exemplifies the shortcomings of the Dawe  Mayoralty.

We had a single meeting in July. No general committee.

The agenda was huge and matters to be decided were  significant.

The hour of  commencement  was 7p.m.

Discussion of the business of the Corporation was not started until nine p.m.

Instead of being completed by the  publicized hour of adjournment , it continued until  midnight and was not  complete at that time.

Our  community is not well served by  this  haphazard process.


Anonymous said...

We can argue until the cows come home about the source of the funding but, ultimately, it comes down to tax dollars in one form or another. This Council was unable &/or unwilling to reduce taxes. In fact, the Mayor had the audacity to publish a letter stating that such a thing would be ill-advised. If we cannot control our own spending, we have no business adding additional burdens to the already shrinking sources of revenue.
It is a lovely day. I plan to enjoy it and try to forget about municipal politics for a while.

Anonymous said...

What I am hearing is that this is yet another staff-driven project like the computer nonsense and the salt removal facility. It has no basis in what residents might actually be willing to support. Heck, it's news to most of us. The poll on-line for the Aurora appears to reflect that sentiment.

Anonymous said...

It was odd at that meeting. Councillor Gaertner asked if any of the items were time-sensitive. The reply from the Mayor was a bit muffled but the gist of it seemed to have been that Council should just work its way through the agenda in order. So a lot of time had been wasted in just getting into the business & then Council lacked an effort to prioritize.

Anonymous said...

10:14 stated it correctly - there is only one taxpayer and money does not fall from the sky. Our Mayor is indeed on record as NOT supporting zero based budgets. He supports tax increases and feels them a necessity. Our Deputy Mayor went to the same school it seems. He is of the view that we can spend millions but no worries, taxpayers are not paying for it. But he is also on record as saying there will be tax increases.

Our Mayor should know by now that taxpayers are tired of the old game where a tax increase of 6 to 10% is needed to cover projected expenditures but over many meetings and wasted staff time this is cut back to some number above the level of inflation.

I should just remind our Deputy Mayor that when municipal projects go to tender and construction cost over runs can be very significant.

A recent recreational complex project in a town north of Aurora learned this the hard way - so much so that a police investigation was requested to see where the money was going.

And consider that Aurora does not have a good record with cost over runs.

Anonymous said...

Why not schedule an extra meeting to get caught up? You can bet one could be arranged if one of those special-interest groups staged a fake crisis.

Anonymous said...

Some of the onus about this mess must lie with the Treasurer. He is always prompt to tell Councillors where money can be ' found ' for their projects. I would like to see him draw a line under some of the goofier ideas.

Anonymous said...

3:55 PM
Are you talking about Georgina? It's been off my radar & I'm too lazy to check.

Anonymous said...

Councillor Buck is one that continues to complain about the mayor (whomever it is) and this post is another example. What I never see from her however is a solution. So when I read:

"The hour of commencement was 7p.m.

Discussion of the business of the Corporation was not started until nine p.m.

Instead of being completed by the publicized hour of adjournment , it continued until midnight and was not complete at that time.

Our community is not well served by this haphazard process."

I must ask Ms Buck point blank....


Anonymous said...

If the mayor refused to allow you to ask two questions and that this contributed to a lack of understanding on the part of some councillors this is far more than a shortcoming of the Dawe Mayoralty.

Unless and until members of Council have all the relevant information concerning a given matter they are unable to do the job for which they were elected, a good part of which is deciding how to spend taxpayer money.

To function in ignorance is to function not at all.

Anonymous said...

10:52 AM
Yeah, well, that is how that last bunch covered their collective butts. " If we had known more, we might have asked more questions and voted differently."