"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

Thursday 15 August 2013

A little bit of this...A little bit of that

Tuesday's Council meeting was different. The Mayor has become assertive. Council has too. A couple of staff recommendations were not approved. The Mayor made a number of amazing statements. When the Mayor speaks at the end of a debate, there is no opportunity for rebuttal. Which is not to say his comments will not return to haunt him. In Tuesday, he defended the Region's $2 billion worth of debt. Said it was a sign o good financial health. A triple A rating, he said. The argument may go down well in Financial circles. I doubt there would be joy in Aurora households. He declared forcefully regulations were coming for full cost recovery for water and sewers. I'm not clear who the Mayor thinks has been paying the freight for water and sewers until now. In a scolding tone, Council were informed. we are not a small town any more, we are a $52 million operating business corporation. Of course, we are still proportionately a small town. Spending $52 million a year to service a population of 55 thousand does not Aurora a major metropolis. It makes us a small town with a ridiculously high annual budget. The Mayor has become clicker-happy. If a Councillor doesn't stop talking when he says so,he turns off the microphone. I am sure it gives him a sense of power. The problem is,the Mayor over-steps his authority. A Council is the sum of its part. Aurora Council is nine parts. Each equal. The Mayor,everywhere except in Toronto,is but one of the parts. He has extra responsibility to maintain order. He does that by applying the rules all have agreed to abide by. There is no autocratic power. Nothing. Nil. Nada. If the Mayor fails to call a Councillor to order, a Councillor may do so from the floor. Order can and should be maintained by a gentle reminder of an applicable rule. It bespeaks familiarity and facility. If the Mayor is obliged to make a ruling ...the ruling can be challenged. Council support the chair's ruling...Or not. Risk of challenge is not to be taken lightly. If a ruling fails to win support, there's a loss of face. Face is important in politics. A Mayor needs a good working relationship with Councillors. Politicians tend to be skittish...always champing at the bit. Tuesday's agenda was once again completely unrealistic. At 10.30p.m, a motion to extend the hour of adjournment passed. At 11.p.m. a second motion was made to extend the hour. Two third majority is required. Three members voted in favour. The meeting adjourned with a substantial amount of business incomplete. There were no presentations or delegations or speakers at public forum. Just a series of weighty items to be decided ad a Council electing to exercise its authority.


Anonymous said...

That meeting was cathartic for me. I simply let go of any aspirations I had held for this Council. It was long over-due. Obviously I will never view town finances as do the majority so I no longer feel any obligation or responsibility for their actions. It felt good. My involvement in municipal may have ended.

Anonymous said...

"There were no presentations or delegations or speakers at public forum."

So that means the public is not to blame (as in previous posts) for taking away from council/Town business!?

I wonder if the Mayor is stuck between a rock and a hard place with you. You chastise him for not cutting off rambling councillors and then when he does (with probably the only tool that they understand) you chastise him again.

Instead of dancing around the issue, what exactly do you want him to do? What would Mayor Buck do in his shoes? I think that your experience as a Mayor all of those years ago do not have any relivance in today's world.

Like Dawe said, we are not a small town anymore. The sooner people realize that the better.

Anonymous said...

Did the Treasurer really say that whatever money will be required for the major capital items discussed will simply be removed from the Hydro Fund?

According to the 2013 Budget an amount of $600,000 is shown as interest generated by the Hydro fund. If the Fund stands at $34million this is less than 2%, a rather paltry amount even at today's interest rates.

My impression was that money removed from the Fund will be free of interest, so there goes another several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Does any of this make sense?

Maybe the RCMP should audit the Hydro Fund. Their charges might be less than Deloitte's.

I don't think our Council is capable of understanding the Treasurer, much less making decisions he recommends.

Anonymous said...

I quit when the Treasurer stated that if Council did not spend the money, they would no longer receive it. Such twaddle! Development fees will still be paid and they should be husbanded until there is a sufficient amount for a project. Of course it costs a lot to borrow money from an outside source. Money is expensive. So what is in the former Hydro Reserve Fund is equally valuable. He never mentioned what sort of interest he planned to pay in internal borrowing or what term limits he would impose.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could suggest your ideas about how to avoid useless, endless meetings instead of taking pot-shots at those who try to find solutions ?

Anonymous said...

Councillor Buck makes a good point - who does the Mayor think has been paying for water and sewer up to August 2013?

The Mayor and staff like this full cost recovery jargon. He should stand up to the region and tell them keep costs to inflation or else we will look at alternatives.

Our Mayor might ask the Town engineer to calculate for him the increase in water and sewer costs for the past four years and compare this to inflation. He could put this in his back pocket to use at regional council. He could write over the calculations -no increase in service.

Indeed, I think our Mayor gets told these tales concerning the region's debt and he repeats them with authority and as if it were good news. It makes him look incompetent.

This Mayor continues to disappoint me in all areas of financial responsibility.

Anonymous said...

I'm not 09:26, but I'd be interested in hearing "your ideas about how to avoid useless, endless meetings instead of taking pot-shots," 11:03.

Anonymous said...

He does appear to repeat what he has most recently heard. [ Note who sits right next to him.] For some time now, he has ignored what councillors have to offer, just gazing off & waiting his turn to bat. There is no laughter, no co-operation & certainly not much good will.

Anonymous said...

'Damned if you do, damned if you don't,' I guess, 09:26. He can't win for trying with some people...some very trying people.

Anonymous said...

@ 14:11
You speak in riddles.

Anonymous said...

Not at all, 18:46, but your reading comprehension may be a joke.