At the OPC all candidates meeting last week, I asked why there was so little interest among the new council candidates in attending municipal budget meetings. In the last two years, I’ve attended both the 2017 and 2018 municipal budget meetings, plus some other Committee of the Whole meetings and municipal open houses concerning the sewage plant and the official plan.
I wrote a two- part article about the 2018 budget meetings and submitted it to the North Grenville Times. You can read the article in the archived print editions of November 22 and December 6, 2017. The budget meetings took place over three nights.
For the record, Nancy Peckford, currently running for mayor, and Kristen Strackerjan, currently running for council, attended the opening minutes of the first night’s meeting. They were there to demand that a splash pad and community mini-centre be built at Riverside Park at a cost of $375,000, with $100,000 coming from municipal taxpayers. They did not stay for the rest of the meeting that night, and did not attend the following two nights of meetings where they could have learned some things about the serious fiscal issues facing this community. Until the start of this current election cycle, that’s the only time I saw these candidates at municipal meetings. In their demand for money from council, there was no calculation regarding the maintenance and upkeep costs of the splash pad and mini-centre. Also, this municipality already has a splash pad at Equinelle. Why do we need another one?
If you want to be mayor and on council, shouldn’t it be your top priority to at least attend the municipal budget meetings? And not just show up for the first few minutes and demand taxpayer money for your pet projects. Nancy Peckford has talked a lot about the “revitalization of Riverside Park”. Is she running for mayor to get a splash pad and mini-centre at Riverside Park, regardless of the costs and need? To me, this shows a fundamental disregard for the taxpaying public. We have lots of experience with politicians wanting our money. Try to find a politician who cares about managing your money responsibly.
I find it disturbing that someone is running for mayor who has not participated in the affairs of our municipal council prior to this election cycle, except to demand tax dollars for special interests. If you want to be mayor, wouldn’t it make more sense to first seek some experience on council? Once you’ve had some experience on council, and have shown the public that you are competent, then maybe you could consider running for mayor.
John Barclay, currently running for council, also attended part of the first night and part of the third night of the 2018 budget meetings. He represented the BIA in asking for an increase of $20,000. in the CIP budget. I may not agree with John concerning the BIA, CIP, and some other issues, but at least he showed up to observe on the third night of the budget meetings.