Further to our previous post “Grimsby Projects – What’s Going On?”, we received another e-mail as a follow-up from the same reader. The opinions expressed in that correspondence are very enlightening, so we thought we would share them with you.
The following is a short explanation of how these poorly conceived, planned, executed and costly projects failed to meet their budgets. They continue to be supported by our Mayor and all but one of our Aldermen, Dave Kadwell – the lone questioner.
First, recognize that municipal and regional politics don’t engage ‘opposition’ parties as in Provincial or Federal politics. Only very large cities such as Toronto have any significant questioning or opposition council members to question the plans and agendas.
As such, municipal Mayors have exceptional powers and control. Their wishes, often well intentioned, but lacking in needed detail and downside risk analysis, meet with limited opposition from the majority of Council members. Mayors are well known for cultivating support from the majority of Council members with favours and back scratching innuendos. Grimsby is no exception – the Mayor rules the roost.
Second, the tax paying residents who wish to learn more about issues, are obliged to sit in complete silence at Council meetings, (no Q&A period) while boring items such as acknowledging letters received, (often no content explained) and minor modifications to arcane numbered regulations get rubber stamped unanimously by Council.
Local charitable events get discussed with ‘a good time was had by all, even though it rained’, typical of comments.
Third, and most important, there is a lack of fiscal transparency regarding projects and owned corporations such as the power companies – Grimsby’s largest asset. Projects are allowed to go way over budget, without explanation, and often lack intended purpose and value to the community. Attempts to look at financial records and minutes of the hydro companies have been blocked as they continue to hide under numbered companies and private corporation confidentiality clauses.
The bottom line is Grimsby residential tax payers are funding projects that were not properly analyzed at the outset, and should have been curtailed or cancelled when they were known to have gone off the rails. Without proper fiscal reporting and transparency of project updates, millions of our hard earned dollars are spent on projects that can’t pass the ‘smell’ test.
Without a doubt, the points raised from this reader are definitely thoughts to ponder.