COMMENTARY: Some Cornwall fiscal conservatism from the left?

The City of Cornwall passed its budget last week and, surprisingly, it got through the final sniff test unscathed. But it wasn’t for lack of trying from the council progressives to stuff another $20,000 into the budget because it’s only one dollar more per household to fund tourism. The argument from councillor Bernadette Clement was that tourism is important and that tourism dollars would help the agency secure more dollars. Councillor Elaine MacDonald trumpeted that it wasn’t about “cutting smaller piece of the ice, but growing the pie.” You know, because the citizens of Cornwall are one great savory treat to be feasted on for cash.

Thankfully more councillors, like councillor Claude McIntosh, said there is no more money and that adding to it wasn’t the option.

But the interesting take-away from this exercise was councillor Carilyne Hebert’s take on funding outside or community agencies. She said the process was “almost a disaster. I think it’s something we shouldn’t be in the business of.” A light has gone on. Councillor Maurice Dupelle also showed some frustration about continuing to give out money over and over again to the same groups. It seems some common sense ideas like living within a budget, living within your means and less spending are starting to trickle through to left-of-center.

It’s time that Cornwall and the Counties Tourism and the SD&G Historical Society are rolled into the city budgets, say economic development, and the rest are told there’s no money at the table in 2017.

If councillor Hebert’s feelings are genuine then now is the time to act. With preparations to strike the 2017 budget committee within the next month-and-half, it’s time to put the proposal on the table. That would give those agencies time to get their plan in place because they would know there is no more money at the taxpayer well.

But the real test will be if the rookie councillor will follow through on her good intentions, or was it some good showmanship to garner appeal from the right?

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