The following is an open letter to city council and city hall from Cornwall resident Dave Windsor:
Additions for City Budget Review:
We have a new ‘restricted’ council and mayor. These are all talented people, so with respect to all, other than perhaps Maureen Adams of administration, you don’t have a hope in heck of satisfying a 5.0% let alone a zero based budget without some major changes. Ms. Adams should be charged with the job of discovery for how much the current city hall costs are relative to the assets, as the costs of staff are unrelated and acquire a valuation from a tendered real-estate and asset insurance company.
How to fix it.
1) No hockey complex in the province of Ontario is making any money. So, sell city hall. It would be a super location for more condos. There is plenty of room at the Civic Complex and the city council can and should alternate its meetings with South Stormont at the former jail property. If not there then the centre atrium on the second floor can be used with very few changes. There is simply no more dollars to support all the duplications we have at our disposal. All city services exception being Public Works can and should be housed in the lower floors of the complex while all administration offices maintain rooms with a view. The city Complex loses money every year. Might just as well put it to good use besides hockey. Meanwhile, the savings from the sale of City Hall can be managed to pay for the cost of the move and what rents you choose to charge yourselves for the complex offices and upgrades…..no luxuries, period, use current furnishings for everyone.. This is not your money, no way, no how. After all is said and done. place a6 foot high lighted logo on top of the complex, facing the border stating city hall open for your business.
Also, why should the manager of the Agape be on a million dollar hunt when what is wanted is furniture, salary upgrades and special offices at the Cornwall Community Hospital for what once was an all volunteer organization. Somethings aught to be questioned here. Take the blinders off’.
2) What the are we doing running a seniors building? The SD&G senior’s residence aught to have been sold to private industry years ago. Now, when we can not afford it, upgrades of $300.000 are deemed needed. In your dreams. Fire extinguishers are going to extinguish a few residences lives every time they blast on as it is. We should never be in the business running a hospital environment such as this or any others.
3) No financing should be allowed for Arts Council or Arts in the Park or the Agape Centre or any other entity that raise public monies by any other means, none, notta, period. This is our citizens tax money, not a lottery. We can not afford them or any others. This is tough love but our bread basket is empty and goin well below bottom. Stop the leaks now or there will be little room for recovery.
4) Fire and policing costs are out of sight. $100,000 dollars for one mans/women’s services is ridiculous. Now, with respect to their work, workload, education, rank, you name it, this is not the point. The point is the buck stops now. A pay freeze, not provincial accommodations and excuses are what is long over due. This power struggle for them to be able to buy $4 and $5 hundred thousand dollar houses is simply out of sight for the average Cornwall tax payer. Enough already. 10 firemen per call as a requirement seems excessive. It would also be much cheaper to pay overtime when warranted as we have relatively few fires. Perhaps closing a station would be warranted also.
5) Get the bully mentalists off the back of our good citizens when it comes to making bylaw assessments of minor additions to front property easements and back yard decks or garden shed. Rules are rules but they need to be treated as guidelines not stoned in laws. We need these people to make purchases and especially for buildings, soften costs and timelines to make more tax paying properties put up new buildings. It is ridiculous the hoops our contractors are forced to go through and rejections on personal grounds need to be challenged by council.
6) Finally, Pitt Street is long, long overdue for a major turn around to make it easier for all businesses to do well. This should be reverted to a two way street, maximizing traffic flow and street parking, with meters in designated areas. taking out any bulges in the road. would improve access to local downtown business’s. Bylaws must be set in place to disallow truck delivery services on Pitt Street, no exceptions to maintain traffic flow. We need to improve downtown core business to also improve upon our tax assessments.
We need a strong mayor and council. Guts and a new statement of precepts when it comes to thinking out side of the box are needed for this term more than ever before. All means necessary to establish appropriate costs to our taxpayers.