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'All this money is coming out of our pockets'to the editor,
Posted April 11, 2018
Once again, while attending the Adjala Tosorontio council meeting this Monday night, I noticed a contentious spending issue I felt compelled to speak on. A committee made up of three council members (Anderson, Keenan, and Rose) and three staff members have $100,000 budgeted to spend on economic development. https://www.adjtos.ca/Shared%20Documents/PLA%202018-10.pdf
The plan they brought forward so far included three proposals. The first involves hiring two students to spend the summer updating the town's local Business Directory (which presently includes 204 businesses) at a cost of $20,000. The second calls for spending $50,000 to hire a firm to "complete a branding exercise", and the third suggests spending $1500 to produce re-usable bags, with township logo etc, to give out at Canada Day celebrations.
I, and another resident, Tina Machado, spoke on the matter, offering suggestions for how the money could be spent to actually generate revenue and benefit the residents.
We also suggested the Business Directory could quickly and easily be updated by staff for free through Google maps, the white pages, the Township's own tax notices, or invite new businesses to the directory through the Township's website or newsletter.
Regarding the "branding exercise", since Adjala Tosorontio has no commercial hub, no cultural centre, and very little tourism, what exactly do they plan to brand? You have to have something to sell. I believe we should decide what it is we are trying to sell before we throw money at branding it.
Of course, the recommendations of the Economic Development committee were supported 5 to 2. The only councillors who opposed the spending were councillors Bob Meadows and Floyd Pinto.
This latest display of wasteful spending decisions brings to mind the many others I have noted in the last few years. For example: $260,000 spent on Everett Wastewater plant tender - project cancelled; $47,000 (plus untracked material and labour, approximately $60,000) spent on Concession 6, as the developer decided not to use the road so we are left with the bill; $57,800 paid to Clearview Township for road construction overruns - (based on memory, as no documentation found); $100,000+ paid for New Tecumseth recreation agreement - no documentation ever found on how this total was reached.
As well, thousands of dollars paid out in Post Retirement Benefits and 13 other remunerations brought to light by the OPP report without proper documentation and/or council approvals. Thousands paid out to top management in mileage claims - no details included on mileage claim forms. And over $3 million in debt for Colgan wells - we are paying the bill.
All this money is coming out of our pockets.
Only two councillors, Meadows and Pinto, voted against all the budgets and questioned these spending decisions (suggesting a forensic audit), and were then brought up on charges by our Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Councillor Anderson, with the Integrity Commissioner. By the way, these councillors have still not been advised of the details of those charges a year later, and although the first case is still pending, another charge was levied against them in December by one of the same complainants. No word yet on the costs we will be paying for this travesty of justice.
Is this the best value we can get for our tax dollars? All of this while the Township's infrastructure crumbles beneath us as per the staff report from the director of infrastructure at the same meeting https://www.adjtos.ca/Shared%20Documents/INF%202018-15.pdf . Nothing will ever change, except the inevitable increase in our taxes, unless we get responsible people making the decisions.
You can make that change happen by getting out to the polling booths on October 22nd and having your say. Please keep that in mind.