"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 8 March 2015

2014.Taxes were Increased. Services were reduced. Who knew?

Yesterday  I noticed dust and paper collections and mirrors  and glass with baby handprints. It's not all tidied yet but the urge was greater than writing . No comments came in through the day. I suspect everybody had similar inclination To-day the urge is to go out.but several items  pend..

The Auroran has a story about snow plowing  spread over two pages. Councillors Mrakas and Humphreys reported complaints from residents  and moved a motion to restore service to what it had been .

Apparently a decision was made in  2014  to reduce  the service back to keep taxes from rising.

But taxes rose. 

Councillor Pirri had  a bit to say about the difficult decision  made by the last Council  to reduce service levels to save taxes..

Councillor Abel said it was not just a monetary factor but environmental. Less salt and sand is being used. . He said part of the problem may be when people see snow  they expect tosee plows on secondary roads right away.

Imagine that.

I missed a couple of budget meetings last year. But I recall hearing or reading nothing at all about reducing winter maintenance to keep taxes down.

It was an extraordinarily miserable winter. Ice storms. Power outages. Federal grants not applied for until well after the deadline.

I could have sworn taxes were increased last year. If they weren't it would have been a first for  that lot.

We certainly increased  funding to buy culture. Mayor Dawe and Counillor Abel both serve on the board.  Obviously they were not successful in persuading the CCB to reduce their level of service.Of course we can not know if they even tried.

This  year  an additional position is coming on board at CC  .Though they  have less space and no responsibility for heritage programming.

Last year, According to the Mayor, was not the time to talk about  the grant to the  Historical Society  now that they no longer have resonsibility for the Museum or the Collection and cost  shifted to the municipality.

Councillor Pirri did not find difficulty with that decision, .

Mr. Simanovskis is quoted advising Council three new positions would need to be brought on board to bring the town's winter maintenance back to the "old" standards. Were they eliminated in 2014?

There's more of the story..Pages 1 and 6

For the life of me,I have no recollection of the Mayor's statement on the budget that services had been cut to lower  tax increases in 2014.

Probably because it did not happen.


Anonymous said...

I think that they suffered a shock when some outfit measuring our service levels reported that we were in the top tier and changed accordingly.

Anonymous said...

We need to employ fewer SMARTER people to complete required work more efficiently and thus keep costs down.

If you check out Christopher's latest on the Communications Department and the various forms of surveys they plan, it just make you want to upchuck.

Anonymous said...

There was a noticeable decline this winter. In previous years we had a young driver handle the big Freightliner with heavy plow and wing like it was a volkswagen. He was up and down and by the time I could get a few streets over with the dog he was just finishing this street and moving on to the next. He could make the big Freightliner dance.

You can't help but notice the drivers in our area do not yet have the experience to handle the big trucks. They are late and have been struggling.

As for calling the town to ask if there is an explanation for the delay (trucks break down, drivers get sick etc)there is only a programmed response referencing service standards from the CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS.

I hope one of our elected members will call the director of the engineering dept. to account - in very clear and concise language.

Anonymous said...

Increase taxes and reduce our essential services. Yup that seems about right for this council.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Pirri has a reputation for taking the least challenging route. He is also a mite lazy when it comes to doing his homework. Once during last term, half way through a discussion on a property on Wellington, it turned out that Pirri was talking about his walk on a totally different piece of land. I think the new councillors are going to make him just fade into the scenery as a yes-man.

Anonymous said...

That is bizarre.
Of course taxes went up. The Mayor was quoted early in his first term stating that it was a good and necessary thing. Guess he wishes he had that one back in the can.

Anonymous said...

I think they introduced some computer gimmick that lets you see where your snow plow is when it isn't anywhere near your street. And this was a really easy year. They cleared the arteries & waited for the snow to melt on the secondaries. People on ALL the roads have to get out for work, school & shopping. They ALL have to pay their taxes.

Anonymous said...

We should have received money from the province for the ice storm. I cannot recall the last time I saw the town on the receiving end of a cheque.

Anonymous said...

If you need something done, you have to talk to an actual person. Once you are into the communications mess, abandon all hope.....

Anonymous said...

It's going to be interesting to find out how much money will be handed out in "cultural services" after finding out that survey determined that the residents want to cut this back.

Anonymous said...

Aurora might have reduced services last year but we still needed help from Newmarket during the ice storms. I did not notice a lot of rangers, chamber of commerce members or those from the centre using their shovels. Plenty from the service groups though....

Anonymous said...

16:05 You are correct. Also, deputy Barney Fife (aka J. Abel) was singing the same tune.

Increase taxes and mention customer service as the reason. Yes sir, that sounds good.

Anonymous said...

Are council meetings a cultural service?

Anonymous said...

Council did not like that response so they determined in their wisdom that the question had been badly phrased and was not specific enough. The results are to be ignored.
Everyone knew exactly which cultural services were being addressed - the elephant at the table again.

Anonymous said...


Council meetings are more like:

"It's party time. Let's spend, spend, spend. And maybe hire a consultant to show us some new tricks."

Anonymous said...

You mean the survey with a hundred respondents out of sixty thousand residents?

Anonymous said...

Bahahaha. You're right!

Anonymous said...

Puh...governments are elected with 30% of eligible voters. Being handed over millions/billions of our money to spend as they so wish.

Anonymous said...

Yes that credible survey as many large companies use small numbers and anyone I have talked to is pissed at the cultural fiasco here.The Self Centered Center specially.