Monday, September 29, 2014

e-Town Hall Meeting - One Big Yawn!

If the level of involvement at the e-Town Hall Meeting which occupied the first hour or so of the City Council meeting on Sept. 29 is any indication of the level of interest in the 2015 budget it poses several questions that should be addressed.

Why is the interest in a $200,000,000 budget seemingly so abysmal, based on the level of participation, both in the audience and the online portion.

I offer a couple of possibilities which may or may not be valid to account for such a poor showing.

Poor advertising and promotion of the event on the part of the City Hall communications manager, whom I presume is responsible for promoting the event. I receive press releases from the City, promoting all sorts of events, and I don't recall receiving anything promoting this event. Knowing it was coming up, I took the initiative to go to the Facebook page and grab a graphic to use to plug the event on this blog. i can't recall seeing anything in the papers, although I could have missed that.

I also don't recall seeing the event getting any 'play' in the press which could be the fault of the local media, or again, the fault could lie with the communications office at City Hall.

It could be that folk who have participated before, see this as pretty much the non-event that it is, where Council doesn't really say much about anything and is not willing to engage in any meaningful discussion.


The material presented by Mr. Clemens at the Sept.8 council meeting showed examples of not only the 2015 budget, but rather the five year financial plan which runs through until 2018. On that basis I have prepared a series of questions dealing with the five year plan, only to be told at the beginning of the meeting that questions were to only deal with the 2015 budget. Why?? This council has approved the entire five year plan, and that was the basis for Mr. Clemens presentation on Sept. 8.

I have to presume this council is simply not wanting to engage in too broad a financial discussion for fear their lack of competence will become obvious.


The five year plan presented on the powerpoint presentation from Sept. 8 would indicate the five year plan could be supported with only a 13.1% tax hike over the period. That is complete and utter bovine droppings. That level of tax increase will barely cover the increased cost of wages and benefits at the current rate of increase for that one cost centre alone.

There is the $6.6 million for the Port Theatre, the $8 million for the Colliery dams that are  expenses which would account for another 14% over the period on top of the 13.1%. So it would seem someone is playing fast and loose with the projections, and I presume it is to help show this current council in a better light than they deserve.

I had several examples of why that presentation was at the very best a poorly done piece of work, and at the very worst a blatant attempt to gloss over the reality of how badly this council has been managing your affairs. For example, the fact that for the past 6 years, city hall wages and benefits have increased on average 5.23% per year, every year for a total change of 31.4% is a discussion you really should have with these city councillors.

But don't bother asking them at an open, televised Town Hall meeting if you expect anything but fluff and stuff for a reply.


1 comment:

  1. E Town Hall Meeting = Just Another Political Soap Box
    Cliff Marcil


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