In the Cobourg News we have a summary of the second Budget Review day. This day was supposed to be the day that the Mayor would make his stand on cutting services to reduce the tax rate. Looking at the additions to the list of next year’s expenses – centennial pool, trees, beach mat and more, he did not win the day. In addition his idea of getting an Assistant so he could go off and lobby other levels of Government for more money did not succeed. All he managed to do with that suggestion was to impugn the knowledge of Staff capabilities and competence held by other members of Council. “I find the statement made by the Mayor to be offensive” made by DM Beatty and paraphrased by me.
Excellent work by Meghan Thomas in making the case for the retention of the Centennial Pool for this year and now we have to convince the public to get behind a campaign to keep it permanently.
However in setting the final tax rate at 6.6% and having removed the Storm Water Management fee the Budget is still “deceitful”. The total impact on the Citizens’ pockets will be an increase of 12.6%! Probably an average of $350.
But back to the Budget Review – Mayor Cleveland pushed for items not supported by some of the Council and when I watched a little bit of the proceedings it was noted that the DM and the Mayor obviously had different ways of looking at things. Mayor wanted to add and the Deputy wanted to reduce. One example was the funding of a Strategic Plan. Mayor wanted $20,000 to do, as he said “The job properly.” The DM motioned to reduce that to zero and let the Staff lead discussions, the Mayor countered by saying “to do the job properly it should be $100,000, $20,000 would barely do the job.” The DM’s motion failed.
The controversial motion to increase Council compensation barely passed, but the increase will be phased in two parts. Let’s see if a decent wage for Cllrs will increase the quality of the candidates next time around.
The Mayor did manage to persuade the rest of Council that the wizardry of a revamped website will reduce the communications demand on the “overworked Staff”. Sounds like he is ‘house-trained’ already. If he really believes that a better website will do this he should provide examples of a good Municipal website that does this.
In conclusion we have wait for the results of the review, over the next year, and the final tax bylaw next week
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