Monday, September 14, 2009

Gross Mismanagement of our City Business, Conflicts of Interest, and Adoption of the "At Large" Vote to Protect Politicans from Electoral Defeat

The following is a citizen letter sent to the mayor and council which appears on a recent Finance and Administration Committee Agenda. You can read the original copy of this letter by clicking the title above and see the news articles the writer refers to.

Sent: Wednesday, August 12,2009 12:30 PM
To : clerks

Subject: Fw: Tax Information

Attachments: Tax lnformation

Attached is a recently published article that should be forwarded to everyone on Council.

With respect to property taxes on a residential property assessed at $350,000, you will note that taxes in Vaughan, Markham and Mississauga are about the same in the $3,500 to $3,600 range. Toronto is lower.

Now let's turn to Oshawa, we are 106% HIGHER than Toronto, 68% HIGHER than
Vaunhan, 74% HIGHER than Markham and 73% HIGHER than Mississaum.

What is the secret to their substantially lower tax rates?? I believe it is primarily due to the fact they don't have the Oshawa Council managing their financial affairs.

I wonder if they purchase fancy and "showy" sports cars for their Mayor? How do you really think hard pressed taxpayers feel when they see or read about our Mayor driving around in his "fancy" new "wheels", while they are suffering financial hardships and paying excessive property taxes in the current very problematic economy?

Perhaps some recent negative newspaper articles may shed some light on this for you. If the Mayor is entitled to a vehicle, then by all means get him a new one at the appropriate time. That is not the issue - what is the issue here is why he would be authorized to purchase such a "showy" vehicle and set such a poor example in this economic environment? This is somewhat like "rubbing salt in a wound". Such a decision speaks volumes as to how you really care about how taxpayers
money is being spent. By the way, saying this "showy/fancy" purchase was made to show
support for GM and the Camero, which is to be constructed at the Oshawa plant, just doesn't cut it with me.

I wonder if the other municipalities in the GTA pay the educational expenses for Councillors - expenses for an elected politician who could very well be gone at the next election! How do taxpayers benefit from this? Councillors are not permanent high potential staff being trained for future executive level positions! If they wish to improve their education, I strongly feel they should pay for this themselves - after all, they are the only ones who benefit!

I would really like to see the related business case (cost/benefit analysis) presented to support approval of such expenses - if one actually exists.

A related area of concern is that I understand Council approved having hard pressed taxpayers absorb these costs - what we have here is Council approving expenses for the benefit of Councillors on this Council!!?? Isn't this commonly referred to as conflict of interest? In any event, I assume you must have checked with your
legal area to ensure this was, in fact, appropriate?

I could go on and on - and on and on - but what is the point - you just don't listen. The only thing that seems to get your attention is finding ways to get re-elected.

When challenged on taxation, the City of Oshawa normally responds by advising Oshawa is "in the higher range" of property taxation in the GTA. This is extremely misleading as well as completely inaccurate - and if you do this again, you will be challenged in an appropriate manner. Stop trying to hide the true facts - rather, do what you are getting paid to do by more effectively managing the City's financial affairs and reducing our property taxes so they are in line with the other areas mentioned above. Most important of all, stop wasting our hard earned tax dollars!

I have lived in Oshawa for nearly 4 years. I can assure you that if I had been aware of the excessive tax rates here, I never would have moved to this area. Oshawa sure doesn't deserve a "premium"!!

The numbers mentioned above and outlined in the attachment speak for themselves. There is something dramatically wrong in Oshawa. How do you people sleep at night or "look in the mirror" - the greatest test of all - and live with what you see?? If this was a private business, most if not all of you would be terminated.

Unfortunately, being "bullet proof' politicians, the only way we can get rid of you is to try to vote you out of office once every 4 years.

You are all pretty "cute" - somehow you have manipulated the voting process whereby local Ward representation will soon be gone at the next election and Councillors will have no specific accountability to taxpayers in the local Wards. What a great way to "hide in the bushes" and avoid accountability to taxpayers. I do not recall ever having had a chance to cast a vote on this change and I can assure you that I RESENT THIS CHANGE AND AM 100% OPPOSED TO IT !!

An extremely unhappy taxpayer
Ron Boulter

Editor's Comment...Do we need Oshawa City Council...Here is the dominant business decided at the last council meeting...and we pay a third of our high municipal taxes to discuss this kind of issue...City Council and the city administration should be disbanded because all significant business is done at the Regional Level. We could save a significant proportion of our tax dollars!

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