A look at the Budget
The Municipal Budget sets the tone and direction for the Town. Completed each year this is probably the only time most of the Town pays attention to Council. 2023 will go down as the year of the “big tax hike”. As pointed out here the advertised tax increase is not the total amount of money taken out of our pockets. 6.6% increase will be taken out of our Town tax pocket and another 6.0% will taken from our other pocket by the local utility LUSI. I would not want to be on the LUSI phones when the next bill comes out and people who have not been following this debate see an increase on that bill.
However the Mayor and Council can go around talking about a 6.6% increase when they know darn well the end product of this Budget is double that!
Comments from the people on Council have been few and far between. One Councillor – Adam Bureau stated on his Facebook page how proud he was of the work done by him and his colleagues to bring in a 6.6% increase. As we know the Mayor voted against parts of the Budget at least 30 times during the process. So we know where he stands but he owns it now.
In an interview conducted by local journalist Prof. Robert Washburn on March 4th on his website Consider-this.ca, he interviewed the Mayor about the Budget and other things; the Library, the Police and the Homelessness problem. Interesting stuff, let me paraphrase the Budget parts of it:
- He thinks the people do not understand the enormity of the problems facing Cobourg and he puts it down to the lack of knowledge possessed by the people themselves.
- He thought that an Executive Assistant would remedy that even though we have a communications department.
- “There is a proliferation of misinformation on Social Media.”
- A better website costing $100k would save staff time and provide the answers people are asking.
- Although only 85 people engaged on “Engage Cobourg” he has been constantly hearing from the “silent majority” about the Budget.
- He voted against parts of the Budget – over 30 times, because he thought “Council was not ready as a team to go where he wanted to go”.
- When asked what ideas he would have brought to the Budget he replied “I am not a producer of ideas the team should do that! I have lots of ideas but that is Council’s job.”
- “We cannot fix broken systems without cutting elsewhere.”
- “I saw the Budget process as a frustration in my own ability to get the Council to where we should be.”
The rest of the interview will not be mentioned here as it does not pertain to the Budget, but listen anyway: here.
I will say that the Mayor is of the opinion that the homelessness solutions are not for Cobourg to solve but the County’s problem. I paraphrase when I say that the Mayor might as well say “No more delegations to Council – Go to the County!”