THUNDER BAY – Candidate’s Ledger – Thunder Bay City Council wrapped up its 2014 budget process is a whirlwind of endless debate, confusion and blatant attempts at looking good. In the end Council approved a 3.02% increase in the tax levy, which no one yet knows how much of an increase in dollars that’ll be for tax payers. It was a long process that was filled with a lot of ridiculous debate and contradictions from just about every Councillor.
Council spent the better part of 3 days debating the budget line by line, they approved and shot down cuts and additions to get to the end. Then after everything should have been said and done, Councillor Linda Rydholm put forward a motion that would have reversed almost every decision they had made in the past 3 days, and the debate started all over again! It was an exercise in futility for those on council who wanted to see a lower tax increase, while the others were more worried about “optics” than listening to citizens.
It’s clear the people of Thunder Bay are unhappy with our ever rising tax rates, and despite this, council continues to worry more about how they look. Councillor Iain Angus responded to one proposed budget cut by saying, “imagine the optics of this decision, it’s not going to look go tomorrow in the media.” That sums up a lot of what is wrong with this council, decisions are made based on increasing ones chances of re-election, not for the growth of the city.
It should a real divide in this council, on one side a group that very much wants to see a lower tax hike, while the other side seems to want the city have a hand in everything. I’m all for social infrastructure and helping those who need it, but there are some on council that seem to think that means putting everything on the shoulders of tax payers.
This city is headed for some major economic struggles if we don’t plan for the future. As it stands right now 20% of our income is from pensions! That is and should be a very scary number for council, it means at least a fifth of our population is on a fixed income, and rising taxes don’t really mix well with that. A full 9% of our budget comes from Tbaytel, if that goes the way of DrydenTel what are we supposed to do then?
Our City Council has to start looking at the big picture and plan accordingly, we need to prepare for future struggles. Tough decisions need to be made today, not decisions that make us look good and handcuff us in the future. That kind of decision making is sending us off a fiscal cliff and right now most of council is at the back of the bus arguing over who should drive.
Candidate McIntyre Ward
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