"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

Saturday 5 October 2013

The Road Less Travelled

I'm Not Surprised has left a new comment on your post "The Path Not Chosen":

You chose not to participate; are you really in a position to bitch about the result

Posted by I'm Not Surprised to Our Town and Its Business at 5 October 2013 22:18


I am participating....Silly.

I am not bitching about the result. 

Time  allocated to  Councillors to  speak in  Monday's workshop would certainly not  have been adequate to deal with the  report  as I have in several blog posts.

Nine people  at the table needing to be accommodated. Everyone entitled to their moment in the sun. 

The Mayor invited questions. We were informed we could continue to direct questions to the consultants after the meeting . They would be addressed in the final  report. 

In any case, I have  no questions. I  challenge the  purpose and merit of  the exercise. 

In essence,  the report concludes the community is satisfied with services provided. There is no concern with  cost of service. 

Costs are higher in Aurora than municipalities of similar size and structure because  our level of service is higher . Like taking  10 kms longer an hour for snow plowing than  Newmarket.

The only area where costs can be reduced  according to the consultants, is in recreation. Even though it's the only area where costs are recovered by payment of user fees and facility rentals.

The service has been identified by the admiistration as "discretionary" and can therefore be cut completely.

Over $ 7million  for fire protection and over $4. million for library services are not included in the calculation of gross operating cost per capita .

$ 980. for every man,woman,child, infant and elderly person for services the town provides without fire protection and library services.

Add  the two and the real cost would likely be $1250 . per capita. Far beyond any comparator  municipality.

Utter nonsense to suggest  level of service might be the culprit.

My obvious conclusion is we are doing a lousy job of managing  resources.

That  cost is horrendous. And it does not include taxes for the Region and Education purposes. It's only a third of the whole.

I think it's a scandal.

Would  consultants  put that  comment in a report paid for by the client.

Not bloody likely.

Take the Planning Dept, two  bodies are assigned to retention and expansion of business.
How do they do that? The report states 100/150 visits are made to business annually.

Pshaw. no such thing.

In a  public  meeting , the manager was asked and replied he did not consider meeting with business to be his function. It's  difficult to  identify how the function  leads to either expansion  or retention of business.

The latest proposal from that division is for Council  to put their hands in our pockets for funds to provide grants and loans to property-owners in  a particular  neighborhood to help them spruce up their properties and  theoretically and automatically succeed in business.

In the CAO's department, there's a division for " special projects"  It's not traditional. Just started this year.  No purpose specified  but cost is $150,000.

The consultant finds no room there for savings because the administration deems the service to be "mandatory"

Whereas recreational programs , deemed to be "discretionary"  could be cancelled to save cots.

Notwithstanding the contra- indices of such high use  and popularity as to bring in millions  of dollars in user fees and facility rentals that cover their costs.

I  have no questions to ask.

Instead, except for providing information that refutes its own conclusion,  I think the report is  absolute bunkum.

How'd you like them apples  of participation?

Need I say more.

You betcha


Anonymous said...

You Go, Girl !

Anonymous said...

I am going to be genuinely interested in reading a list of accomplishments for this term. They will cite the Birthday party which Council & staff basically foisted onto a hard-working team of volunteers. What residents do see is an increase in the # of staff, new departments, increased taxation, and an infuriating waste of time & money on studies, consultancies & local pissing contests.

Anonymous said...

I have been reluctant to refer you to certain articles in the NYTimes because they are so damn depressing. Like canaries in a coal mine. Maybe you have exceeded your limits with them ? The only positive is that it shows what small potatoes Aurora is in the real world.
" Welcome to Ted Cruz's Thunderdome" A Place once
Called Washington" Maureen Dowd
" Our Sickly Political System " Frank Bruni
" Governing by Blackmail " Nicholas D Kristof
Gail Collins also has an excellent column.

Anonymous said...

You’re right about the purpose of consultants. I've seen it many times. Consultants being hired for the purpose of reporting something that wants or needs to be said so that a program, plan or an agenda can move forward while looking like they are at arm’s length. It’s just like those surveys that sometimes we answer. You can tell the questions are all skewed for a certain conclusion. Corporations do it all the time…and the funny thing is….everyone involved knows it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about a number of staff functions covered by the consultants. Only the references to the unit charged with business expansion & retention. It ain't working. We are bleeding business and retail space sits empty. The armoury sits empty and there isn't even enough energy in Council to level the buildings on the old Library lands. I repeat. It ain't working. There is no increase in revenue to Aurora.

Anonymous said...

Is it remotely possible that service charges in Aurora are outrageous because Special Attention Services are being rendered to a very small pod of vocal residents who demand them ? At the expense of ordinary residents who require very little from staff ?

Anonymous said...

That was a pretty expensive coat of white-wash.