Monday, January 7, 2008

LivCom Awards---Access to Information Request

As reported in an earlier post, Oshawa spent a reported $30,000 of taxpayer money to enter the 2007 Liveable Communities Contest held from Nov. 22-26 in London, England.

I am pleased to have raised this as an issue at my city council presentation on Nov. 26 and in stories on this blog and am happy to see that the Oshawa Express has also jumped aboard the wastage on this issue. I wonder why Oshawa This Week has not seen fit to see this contest for what it absolute waste of taxpayer's money!

I dispute the fact that they could fit everything they did in regards to this contest for the allocated $30,000 and thus filed an Access to Information Request to the city clerk on Tuesday, January 8. I have attached a 6 page breakdown of requested costs to the city's Freedom of Information Form and the city is compelled to respond with the "truthful" figures within 30 days according to Provincial Law.

Keeping our burgeoning tax increases in check in the face of escalating “apparent” budget shortfalls gave rise to calls for service cutbacks, increased fees for the use of city recreational facilities which potentially would have excluded many youngsters from healthy physical activity thus putting them on the street to "idle" away their time in an age when there is growing national concern about increasing child obesity, increased fees for animal adoptions which may require the euthanasia of greater numbers of animals, huge increases to administrative "fines" for such things as bylaw officers, animal control officers, etc., it seems hardly sensible to spend one cent on a "meaningless" awards program which was the brainchild of some cloistered and distant entrepreneurial spirit.

At the end of the day because of the popularity of the recreational programs and an overwhelming attendance of interested program providers and volunteers at the council meeting, and despite the obviously politically inspired giant staff report at the link above, increased recreational fees were “deep-sixed” FOR NOW, but the fee increases potentially resulting in more animal euthanasia and increased administrative “fines” for bylaw infractions all passed because opposition to these measures was not as strongly organized and represented.

While the council once again cries poor to justify massive tax increases, they could get their budgets and their burgeoning debt more in order by cutting out wasteful frills such as monies spent on the LivCom Awards. The monies spent on this ludicrous contest could well go to such worthwhile programs as keeping the price of animal adoptions down so that more healthy animals could go to good homes rather than being euthanized.

As we believe communication should start at home, it seems doubly outrageous to spend money on communicating the fine features of Oshawa to the world when city council repeatedly voted to deny Oshawa citizens information about the recent plebiscite question. While it was not at all important to ask the question, having asked it, they made an issue where none existed and had a responsibility to fully inform people about it. Surprisingly, though, the Mayor stated it was not the city's responsibility to do so.

The city entry to the LivCom contest surely is a bizarre, harebrained, daffy, incredible, and unbelievable misplacement of priorities and tax dollars for a city that is already the highest assessed municipality in the GTA. This is just another example of how the City of Oshawa's superfluous and extravagant spending "balloons" in relation to their ability to "squeeze" extra taxes from their already "bleeding" ratepayers.

It is well known that men are from mars...and women are from venus...but it appears that our "outer-space" politicians...both men and women who supported this ludicrous LivCom wastage must be from "far out" Uranus.

No comments: