First Budget Meeting

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Submitted by Jim Bertram

The preliminary budget meeting held on November 4 at 6:30 in the library on Prescott Street was an excellent opportunity for citizens to bring forward their concerns for Council’s attention. Aside from the members of Council and some municipal officials, two members of the community were present.

The questions asked were well received by Council and the officials present. A wide range of issues touching on the various factors exerting upward pressure on taxes were brought forward based on these questions. The role of MPAC, which will soon be revising assessments, in driving final tax amounts upward was discussed, as well as the need for strong publicly stated leadership from Council in working for reform of MPAC.

Control of costs, prioritisation of projects, need for an arms length governance structure for the College, and a host of other issues were discussed briefly. One of the questions I would ask at this juncture is: “What will be the cost of dismissing the municipal CAO in terms of salary and severance considerations?” Another would be: “What will be the monetary cost of severance for other municipal personnel on Council’s list for premature departure?” And, aside from the monetary/financial considerations, what will be the cost attributable to the loss of corporate memory and expertise in the loss of a highly knowledgeable and capable CAO, to say nothing of the potential loss of other personnel who may well be lost through Council action?

This article has been brief. But I suggest that, if you wish to become informed on what your elected Council is currently doing, you really should get to budget meetings and be prepared to ask questions. During the last election, almost every householder I personally canvassed mentioned a concern with tax levels. Yet, this is the second annual budget exercise during which almost the only people attending Budget meetings are those who seek financial sustenance through grants from the taxpayer. To those who expressed to me concern about local taxes during the election, I would indicate the next meeting will be on November 14 at 2 pm at the municipal building. Your only qualification for attendance is your status as resident of North Grenville. Remember: if you DO have concerns, voting once every four years is fine, but grossly inadequate for the protection of your interests as a citizen. Also remember that those who want a bigger share of your income WILL be present. Your choice. Hope to see you on November 14. Be active!

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