"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, 6 February 2009

A Diamond ? or Pie in The Sky?

The proposed baseball diamond has been part of the Master Recreation plan of the Town for several years.It's cost has formed part of the annual five year capital forecast for as long. Development charges have been collected on the basis of forecast recreational needs. The stated purpose of the Strategic Plan is to provide adequately for the recreational needs of residents.

Staff prepare budgets on the basis of Strategic plans and Capital Forecasts. Both of which are pre-approved by council. Staff do not dream up schemes and imaginery wish lists.

Development charges are calculated on the basis of needs documented as a result of growth. A charge is paid for every permit issued by the Town. Before the house is built its new owner has paid for whatever facilities the town claims are needed to accommodate the growth...

The development levy is paid up front by developers. It is included with a myriad of other taxes in the price of a house. Assessment is based on the price. The new owner pays taxes on taxes evermore. Town revenues are derived from taxes on property.

Despite the fact funds have been collected to finance the building of sports facilities, this council has repeatedly rejected staff advice that a diamond is a priority.

Last year, the Baseball Association came to Council on the eve of budget approval to express their concern and disappointment that for the third time, the diamond was being eliminated from the budget.

They outlined the urgency.

On April 22, 2008 a resolution was passed by council;

Item 10 - LS08-024 Development of One Senior Baseball Facility

Moved by Councillor MacEachern - Seconded by Councillor Granger

That Council receive this report as information and direct staff to complete detailed design and servicing plan and specifications process in 2008, at a cost of $40,000 and present the item in the 2009 Capital Budget for Council's consideration;


That, given that other recreation facilities will also be constructed on the Burnett lands, consideration be given to the full function of the property to ensure that the lands are efficiently utilized.

The front page story in The Auroran asks the question; how does a $600,000 baseball field balloon to nearly 2 million dollars?

By following council's direction,that's how. One had to be in the chamber to hear the Mayor's comments and see her arm flourish in the direction of the Leisure Services Director.

"Do it" she said "start on it to-morrow."

The baseball members laughed in relief, applauded in excitement and left the council chamber convinced council had understood their problems.

In the past two years budget deliberations have taken close to eight months. Each year was halfway over before projects approved could be started.

This year, the capital budget deliberation didn't even start until January 30th. It is still not finished The Operating budget cannot begin until the capital is finished. .

The Town's Chief Financial Officer's leaves on April 15th.

The Chief Administrative Officer has been on the job four weeks .

The Director of Corporate Services has had two months with the Town.

The Director of Public Works has prepared his first budget.

There is no Town Solicitor in place . ..Hasn't been for a year.

By any standard, the Town's Business is teetering.


Anonymous said...

From what I understand, this is one of the most important municipal budgets in a very long time.

I really do hope you all know what you're doing...

Robert the Bruce said...

I see that Whitchurch-Stouffville is looking for a Director of Leisure Services....... how long will it be before Aurora will see the last long-term director leave this "Hip" town?

Anonymous said...

To Robert of Bruce.

A move to Whitchurch-Stouffville means working for one of the biggest buffoons in Municipal/Regional politics....Wayne Emmerson. Not advisable for anyone.

Robert The Bruce said...

To: Anonymous....

I thought we already had one of the biggest buffoons in Municipal/Regional politics as Mayor of Aurora?

So you're saying this would be a lateral move?


Anonymous said...

To Robert of Bruce.

I guess you are right. A lateral move indeed. So why bother.