"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

Wednesday 22 July 2015


Another challenge to my explanation of the Cash in lieu fund and how Development Charges are calculated and disbursed. 

I said it wasn't a simple concept. According to everything I know about development charges,the revenue NEVER  EVER  finds its way into the Cash In Lieu of Parkland Reserve. 

The 6 acre school site on Mavrinac was not purchased by the town with funds collected from Mavrinac homeowners by the home builder and subsequently transferred into town coffers. 

No information was ever conveyed by the town that the site would be a park . 

The sign on the property, required by the town,clearly Indicated the site was intended for a school. 

Provincial law compels municipalities to justify funds collected from developers. Needs generated 
by new development must be identified. 

It wasn't always like that.The money was easy come,easy go. Like everything easy, greed and lack of accountability and the contrived notion it came from developers profits, compelled a new provincial law. 

A Master Recreation Plan is required. It forecasts needs for anticipated new population and must be updated every five years concurrent with the Development Charge Bylaw. 

The Master Recreation Plan is prepared by Consultant paid for the work.then it can be squirrel led away for a year with the Recreation Advisory,chaired by Councillor MacEachernin the term before last.
The plan that finally emanated had been changed to reflect the Councillor's ideas of what was required. 

The Plan should  be seen to provide fair and equal treatment for all. 

Instead,in Aurora, with St Andrew's College and the Salvation Army, that did not happen.The  D.C. Bylaw can be ignored  when it pleases Council Lawmakers. They pass the Bylaw. It is  imposed on some but not everyone. Depending on how many friends you have on Council.

Facility needs calculated in the D.C. Bylaw must be constructed within the five year period of the Bylaw. Otherwise, it's deemed not to have been needed and cannot be included In the next round of calculations. 

Funds can be borrowed if not immediately available. Debenture payments can be made as DC revenue becomes available. The current treasurer prefers to describe that as a "deficit" in the fund. It helps to confuse things. 

D.Cs are prohibited from being used for operating  and or maintenance costs. 

Repeat...They are NEVER funneled into the Cash In Lieu  Reserve Fund. 

A capital project must be funded 90% from DCS and 10% from the community at large. The 10% can  be raised In the form of an increase in user fees over a fixed period by agreement with sports organization claiming need for the facility. 

We do not maintain fair and equal treatment there either. Ergo recent relief from fees to the Aurora 
Minor Baseball Asociation for use of a million dollar facility which they argued desperate need but paid no share. Now they've merged with King Baseball Association because of a shortage of members and Aurora provides King residents with facilities and they pay no user fees, courtesy of Aurora Council and taxpayers. 

Canadian Tire or any other business operation planning to expand is not a developer in the sense raw land is being urbanized. Homes are not being built. New park needs not being created. 

Provincial law permits municipalities to collect cash in lieu of land for a park in this circumstance. Municipalities can't resist . They take it and stash it.

Recently there was talk of purchase  of 11 acres of the former Hall Mark Card property at $11million.
Cash in Lieu Reserves were the only possible source of funds. 

The smelly old contaminated barn situated in the corner of the town park, used by the Federal Government for over a hundred years, was returned to town ownership with an invoice for over half a million dollars. The town celebrated. Haven't heard of a use for the building. 

Council has  reportedly used  $2.4 million of Cash in Lieu Reserves  to purchase the Mavrinac land  in an area where needs are BETTER  served than required by the Master Recreation Plan.  

Needs specified in the Master Plan are excessive,have never been met and if they were, maintenance and operating costs would add substantially to the annual budget and generate additional hefty tax

Residents may interpret what they read in documents on the town's web site if they so choose.
Some reports are difficult for Councillor to comprehend or accept even with an expert defining the terms. Sometimes even the expert isn't so expert. 

Not being involved, I don't know what advice Council received on the Mavrinac purchase. Whatever wheeling and dealing took place, a written report detailing any purchase with public funds is certainly a called for.  Secrecy is not legitimate.

Considering the CIL Reserve  is intended for purchase of parkland and was used to buy the 6acre parcel, it would appear to shrink options for its use. 

Despite an open invitation from the Mayor for input. 

Previous invitations to participate in decision-making process have been equally fallacious. 


Anonymous said...

Well done
The cooler nights must agree with you

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is stuff we ordinary stiffs can not understand.
Ii will be interesting to see the next moves during what is usually the summer lull.
Fewer golf games for those ' working' for us at the town hall

Anonymous said...

"The smelly old contaminated barn situated in the corner of the town park, used by the Federal Government for over a hundred years, was returned to town ownership with an invoice for over half a million dollars. The town celebrated."

Oh, you mean the historic armoury building - the place you made sure to show up for the council photo op during last year's election campaign.

"Haven't heard of a use for the building."

During last week's council meeting, the Town's curator stated that some of the Aurora Collection has been transferred there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, ,,like when less than a dozen turned up to chat about the Joint-Ops construction.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Gaertner might have the knowledge.
Whether or not she will use it is the question.

Anonymous said...

If I am following your very detailed presentation, the $2.4 million to purchase the six Mavrinac acres, having come out of the Cash in Lieu Reserve restricts the use of that land to being a park, whether needed or not.

Why could the town not taken the money from any one of several reserve accounts which would have given it unrestricted use?

Originally it was designated as a school site in the Master Plan, or so I understand.

And since the town fought a legal battle with the developer over the land's value and ownership, what is the legal bill for that?

Anonymous said...

Did yo have any point besides trying to undermine ?
Everyone would likely love to see that placr fully used and they are just as likely to be disappointed .
It echoes like an empty horse barn and does not smell nearly as nice.

Anonymous said...

9:02-I don't think anyone would argue that was a bad deal. But now we're stuck with it. I'm just hope that we can turn it into something decent, that doesn't cost $30 million.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think anyone would argue that was a bad deal."

Isn't that exactly what is argued here, 10:29?

Anonymous said...

Who has said that buying the armory was a great or even a good deal?