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2014-04-25 at NOON

Over budget

City manager Tim Commisso addresses council in this June 2013 file photo.
FILE, tbnewswatch.com
City manager Tim Commisso addresses council in this June 2013 file photo.
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By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The city budget has taken a beating from Mother Nature this winter and administration is recommending a deficit management strategy to address a projected $5.7 million shortfall.

The report, which will be addressed at Monday's council meeting, outlines options to tackle the overruns found primarily in the winter control budget, but also in legal, insurance and fuel costs.

One option is a one per cent tax increase that would bring the tax levy to $1.6 million and bring the 1.69 per cent tax rate hike already approved in this year's budget to almost three per cent.

"We don't have a balanced budget right now and by law, we're required to have a balanced budget," said city manager Tim Commisso.

If council doesn't choose to increase the tax rate, they can use reserve funds to address the shortfall but Commisso said they'd like to avoid that since it was used to address last year's shortfall.

A $2.5 million shopping list of restraint measures has also been outlined in the report being given to council. Those items include hiring freezes and trimming travel budgets.

Whatever decision council makes, Commisso said they will have to look at prioritizing the winter budget for next year.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said he's not in favour of a tax increase, but the city does need to balance the budget.

"We fought hard to get the tax revenue increase to 1.69 per cent this year," he said, adding they are looking at cutting spending in other areas like travel budgets.

The mayor has trimmed his own travel budget the past three years and says he plans to again this year.

"I think councillors have to lead by example as well," he said.

"We're asking managers to tighten their belts and squeeze their departments and they've been doing that."

Hobbs said they do need to rework the operating budget to adjust the winter budget since climate change has hit the city hard the last three years with two brutal winters and the 2012 May flood.

"Mother Nature definitely kicked us in the butt this year and last year," he said.


 


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Comments

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cm punk says:
Neverending winter?
So now you're blaming weather for your poor money management.
I got my gas bill and its more than 16 dollars try 75 per month.
Food going up, gas prices going up, why do we even go to work?
What will the city do if this kind of weather is the new norm?
4/25/2014 12:24:49 PM
fastball says:
All those frozen pipes should just fix themselves - and for free as well, right?
We should just stop running the snowplows after we reach a certain amount of snow - because, heaven knows, we wouldn't want WEATHER to be blamed for increased costs.
I get your drift though - it's a long hard bloody winter...and it seems everybody wants a piece of my wallet.
4/25/2014 1:18:42 PM
dad3192 says:
Let's look at the administration of ALL city departments!! Police,fire, roads... Maybe the solution to budget problems is to eliminate from the top down, instead of from the bottom up?

Does our police department need 3 staff sergeants, 4 inspectors, an executive officer a deputy chief and a chief to run day to day operations? Sounds like a lot to me!!
4/25/2014 12:50:58 PM
ibrando says:
Well dad,
Unless you are actually involved with, and have experience in, the day-to-day operation of the police force, are you really in a position to make the statement?
4/25/2014 1:30:53 PM
chezhank says:
Why is the 1st Quarter Variance not posted on the city website? Do not proceed with Phase 2 of Golf Links/Junot and use the debenture to cover the deficit,or use the Renew Fund to continue with Phase 2. Then do a municipal audit of the city.
4/25/2014 12:51:14 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
Oh Joy! More taxes! Just what I wanted for Christmas! When does the time come when our elected officials are going to stop taxing us to death? Maybe you should make sure these projects don't go over budget! All the projects I've worked on have been on budget EVERY TIME! You know why? The planning stage is very accurate. Is the city's planning really bad? Perhaps it should be outsourced? Give me a break!
4/25/2014 1:09:26 PM
Zelig says:
The answer to your question "when are our elected officials going to stop taxing us to death?" is hidden within the question itself.
4/25/2014 1:21:09 PM
papercut says:
Our local road crews do a great job of plowing our roads.......BUT.......The timing that they are sent out to plow should be looked at......I have observed that the plows will wait and go at times when OVERTIME is paid.....this occured on Good Friday in my area.

I have heard from employees that it is common practise to optimize timing with periods that generate overtime pay such as holidays.

Again...hats off to the road crews...fantastic job....BUT....the management could perhaps reduce costs by looking at the above and changing the timing?????
4/25/2014 1:20:49 PM
Reignmaker says:
Why in the blue hell isn't the reserve fund the first stop for a budget over run. A tax raise is more permanent than using reserve funds. If not for reasons like this, what is the reserve fund for?
4/25/2014 1:22:00 PM
mikevirtanen1961 says:
The reserve fund is usually sufficient to cover a 50% overage. However, this season has been so intense that the snow removal reserve has already been depleted.

There are other reserve funds available, but to use them would be contrary to policy, and would thus require the direction of Council.
4/25/2014 2:26:10 PM
Reignmaker says:
Thank you for that. hopefully, they decide to use other reserve funds instead of lobbing more tax onto the community.
4/25/2014 3:49:26 PM
minstrel says:
i think you got the answer to you own question when you mentioned that a tax increase is permanent.
4/26/2014 4:08:39 AM
ibrando says:
Take the fricken money from the welfare dome fund! END OF STORY! Wake up already council!
4/25/2014 1:25:26 PM
eventscentre says:
We mustn't do what you suggest. To do so would be detrimental to the city's plans to build this magnificent structure. You've got to keep things separate-a snow removal budget is a snow removal budget and an Events Centre is an Events Centre. In the unlikely event that the Events Centre incurs cost overruns, should we snatch money from the snow removal budget? I think not
4/26/2014 10:33:37 AM
Wild West says:
Why do people instantly attack the police. It's high time people start asking about the fire department 2 deputy chiefs, looking for a third, plus a chief. Police respond to around 60,000 calls a yr fire around 1,000. Ask how many fireman are sleeping on any given shift I guarantee it is triple the amount of cops working the road. They want new buildings nobody bats an eye.
4/25/2014 1:48:23 PM
virtualrealityczech says:
What happened to the money in the snow removal budgets for the years when snowfall was below average? Where was that used?
4/25/2014 3:06:47 PM
Me n My Opinion says:
In the years that snow removal costs come in under budget, the difference is put into the reserve fund. In the years that the cost is over budget, the funds are taken from the reserve fund to cover it.

My understanding is that the snow removal reserve fund is now gone. 2013 was a bad year, and that carried into 2014. The City did a lot of snow bank removing this winter (part in 2013 and part in 2014) which is very expensive to do. Also, if you look back at the snowfall dates, there were an uncanny number of Thursday and Friday snowfalls this past winter. Clean up after a snow storm usually takes three days (or four). When the storms come on Thursdays and Fridays, it means a bunch of overtime to clean up on Saturdays and Sundays. If we could schedule all snow storms to happen on Mondays it would be a lot cheaper.

4/25/2014 3:58:32 PM
Eastender says:
Why can't this city run a 7 day a week 24 hour a day operation based on either 8 hr. or 12 hour shifts, which would eliminate much of the overtime, being paid. Private industries do it all the time. You dont need to drive to Tims for coffee and waste 45 minutes, have your coffe on the job, 15 minutes like everyone else.
Instead of hiring pork barreling consultants to see how much money you can waste on frivolous luxuries, like the welfare bubble, try hiring efficiency experts to streamline your workforce, and operations.
I'm sure there can be hundreds of thousands of dollars saved each year on overtime and wasted hours. In slack times you run a spare board at straight time, instead of calling in crews at time and a half, among many other changes that can be made.
Unfortunately there is nobody on council or in administration with big enough kohonies to push for these changes.
4/25/2014 8:38:18 PM
yqtyqt says:
It appears that my first attempt to respond to your comment was removed since I mentioned the legality of spending the winter control money on other purposes.

So I'll soften my comments to agree that we once had a winter control reserve, approved by bylaw. to deal with adverse winter and snow removal costs.

What happened to the money in the reserve fund (approved by bylaw) is anyone's guess. Similar RFunds exists in most municipalities and for sure in northern municipalities. It begs the question as to why they no longer exist. Timmy or Carol? Can we have an accounting of these reserve funds.

It is a crying shame that moneys for dedicated purposes aren't there when we need them.

But don't put this one on taxpayers backs, when some pet projects can be delayed. Event Centre anyone?
4/25/2014 4:33:57 PM
chezhank says:
@yqtyqt The Winter Road reserve fund is still there,at the end of 2012,it was at $2.29 million. The report for 2013 is out but with the transparency that Hobbs campaigned it is not being released.
4/25/2014 6:10:28 PM
reese says:
Soon the only budget is going to be the police budget the liberals pass so many laws to please themselves then let the offenders go
Not tne police departments fault, could be yours if you voted them in power
4/25/2014 3:12:07 PM
Kam River says:
Answer easy how many millions have been wasted (1) on the Multiplex,
(2) $57,000 on the youth centre
(3) yearly paining of the bike lanes, which they keep adding to that are not used
This council is addicted to raising taxes.
Time for them to go

Any bets they will raise our taxes again and again
4/25/2014 3:43:06 PM
gvbwlt says:
More Taxes! how much more do they think the little guy can stand. Our hydro is going up next month, my gas is up $53 more a month, Fuel for my vehicle is nuts and food is continually increasing in price. We are pensioners whose income does not go up anywhere close to the percentage of these increases (we get maybe $5.00 or less in Jan of each year if we're lucky). We may have no option but to sell our home in order to survive in this city (many other seniors have already been forced to do this). If it wasn't for the grandchildren we would be out of here! How are low income or single parent families surviving. Thank God for the food banks, we are close to becoming like the third world countries. And all the local politicians can think about is building a new arena/convention centre which should have been built years ago when times were better.
4/25/2014 4:04:55 PM
signman says:
Quit dumping all our hard earned tax dollars into the Waterfront!

Enough is enough!

The Wall Street Journal calls Convention Centres White Elephants! They are nothing more than

( Subsidy Sucking Machines)

according to the Halifax article I read about.

And our city wants to build an Event Centre and continue to tax us to death!

Listen to the Chamber of Commerce and STOP this nonsensical spending!
4/25/2014 4:13:10 PM
NowayJose says:
"We don't have a balanced budget right now and by law, we're required to have a balanced budget, said city manager Tim Commisso.”
Some kind of “mystical law” that states that the taxpayers have to foot the bill….because of the incompetence of so many?
I thank you Tbnewswatch for the post but if we had the ability to express our true feelings, without repercussion, so many people would be “run” out of office! Good thing we live in a civilized society.
Think!
Enough said.
4/25/2014 4:19:08 PM
minstrel says:
how about we start to balance the budget by cutting salaries to those responsible, retroactively!
4/26/2014 4:19:40 AM
brandon says:
People are already at their breaking points and yet another surprise increase.

The thing missing from this discussion: CUTS. City employees (I won't mention which..... we all know) get big increases every year way beyond real wage growth and inflation. Can we lay some of them off? Reduce service? What can we do? My parents are gonna have to sell their place cause taxes have gone up so much.
Taxes are going to take their house.
4/25/2014 4:21:04 PM
signman says:
Quit dumping all our hard earned tax dollars into the Waterfront!

Enough is enough!

The Wall Street Journal calls Convention Centres White Elephants! They are nothing more than

( Subsidy Sucking Machines)

according to the Halifax article I read about.

And our city wants to build an Event Centre and continue to tax us to death!

Listen to the Chamber of Commerce and STOP this nonsensical spending!
4/25/2014 4:21:35 PM
musicferret says:
I feel so bad for anyone on a fixed income or those who's houses have had their assessments increase dramatically in recent years and can no longer afford the payments.

Our city needs to stop raising taxes beyond the rate of inflation. Simple as that.

In fact, they need to reduce taxes just to make up for the years of unsustainable increases that have already crippled home finances.
4/25/2014 4:24:34 PM
progress now says:
My understanding is the city believes there is considerably more room to raise taxes in the community.

I don't see what is to stop them - not council, not citizens, not the chamber of commerce - from what direction would administration take advice respecting prudence?

Consultants maybe, but we don't hire consultants to give them that sort of advice.


4/25/2014 4:40:26 PM
chezhank says:
Council and Administration should read the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce report, An Analysis and Forecast of the City of Thunder Bay's Municipal Finances. 'Totally irresponsible' http://www.tbnewswatch.com/news/319616/'Totally-irresponsible'
4/25/2014 5:04:51 PM
funinthesun says:
spend,spend,spend - does anyone on council ever try to generate any money??
Every time I drive down Waverley Street, all I see are dollar bills with wings on them flying in the air. It's time to put some meters on that street and get rid of the free parking,for the University students and North core workers who refuse to pay at the Court Street Parkade. Driving down that hill in winter was a nightmare. Cars in front of hydrants and some even parked the wrong way.
Two hour parking in front of Trinity and St. Paul's churches. Is it never monitored??
Apex can't be everywhere, but maybe hire some more staff to make some $$$.
Also would like to hear from someone on council regarding ReGen Med....did they ever pay any of OUR money back??
4/25/2014 5:10:43 PM
orca says:
This excessive snow is God's way of telling council you don't have money so stop spending. Unfortunately, i don't know if they're listening.
4/25/2014 5:27:24 PM
eventscentre says:
I agree with you. And all those really mild winters with hardly any snow is God's way of telling council that they have a lot of money to spend so get spending.
4/26/2014 10:48:13 AM
sprintfan says:
And the budget shortfall will be how much when the TB Tel dividend no longer exists? The city borrowed $10 million to "Upgrade TB Tel infrastructure" and still collected their $17 million dividend? Kinda like taking from Peter to pay Paul? If TB Tel was really a "true stand alone company" rather than a glorified revenue producing city department, the city would not be receiving the full dividend! Council will likely hire a consultant to look into their "Crystal ball" so they can claim TB's future is brighter then it really is!
4/25/2014 6:13:39 PM
orig junkyarddog says:
If elected I want the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario to go over this cities books for the last 4 years or longer. Have all departments audited and made accountable for losses. Including our most expensive ones police and emergency services. Our City is like a big leaking bucket with lots of holes, which need to be plugged. And to get rid of those feeding or should I say gorging themselves on those holes. Doug Powell
4/25/2014 6:27:43 PM
Lykarock says:
So now we will be over budget 6 million because of a hard winter? Seriously? Now the council can again pass the buck to Mother Nature. I don't think she has a big enough purse.
What about the million dollars the City is spending to provide the planning of a new building for the Art Gallery. "we don't own it". It is a private business. Use the 22 million in the Renew Thunder Bay fund for God sake. Maybe we need to trim the salaries of a few in City Hall who cannot seem to balance a budget or keep anything on track. The Waterfront fiasco is now going to be followed by the Event Center. If the City cannot forecast their budgets and miss out by 6 million, we need new people sitting around the Table at finance/budget time. They have to borrow money to complete Golf Links when they have 22 million sitting in the bank. hmmm..
4/25/2014 6:53:55 PM
FactualJack says:
It amazes me on how many of these people that post have experience in Municipal finances. They seem to think their simple solutions are the answer. Well they need to wake up to the reality that it costs money to run a city.
4/25/2014 7:21:09 PM
Eastender says:
You dont need to know calculus to know you cant spend more than you take in.
Its as simple as that. Anybody with a mortgage and a grocery budget could run this city more efficiently.
You dont buy a Rolex on a Timex budget!
Trouble is you cant teach that to the Keystone Kouncilors, who keep tripping over their shoelaces to see how much they can spend before we kick them out.
4/26/2014 1:25:23 AM
Jack Frost says:
Thanks to city council of Blunder Bay...

I and many more will and are being TAXED right out of Blunder Bay altogether !!

Happiness will finally be viewing Blunder Bay in the rear view mirror for the last and final time !!
4/25/2014 9:27:11 PM
Back-in-the-bay says:
Don't forget to pack a sweater!
Good riddance.
4/26/2014 8:54:22 AM
Eastender says:
Good advice, back-in-the-bay, but make sure you have a couple of sweaters on hand yourself, since you wont be able to afford your heating bill when your tax bill goes through the roof.
4/28/2014 10:37:28 AM
pylon says:
How unbelievable is it that the city management wouldn't see an over budget situation especially when it comes to snow removal.

THEY FINALIZED THE BUDGET LAST MONTH.

Last week it was about 04:30 when I saw a sidewalk plow going down my street clearing about 2" of snow, the forecast for that afternoon was +14 C... What kind of policy is that? I understand that slips/falls are a concern but honestly it sat for 2 days before that..

There must be no creative thought in those offices, just a 5 monkeys skit going on over and over.
4/25/2014 9:40:26 PM
bttnk says:
How about a wage freeze for city staff like they are mandating for non-union staff at the hospital?
4/25/2014 10:07:10 PM
Sinjo says:
Why are they plowing sidewalks when it'll just melt tomorrow?
4/25/2014 11:23:28 PM
nvjgu says:
And where do they think we are going to get this tax increase. We are over budget too.
4/26/2014 7:22:49 AM
timeforchange says:
bttnk--- I love silly comments like those from you. Freeze wages. Are you joking? The cops just got over 3% so the fire guys did also? Every city worker got a raise including council. The Mayor decided to take a few less trips and he makes it sound like his is sacrificing. Wow, good effort there Mr. Mayor. Mr. Commisso speaks about a possible tax increase while saying financially, all is well with out plans going forward for the white elephant on the waterfront. This with the full support of city council who will stop at nothing to make sure they build a building for no one because if we want to keep our children here the argument goes, we need to have an AHL franchise. Who knew building a strong economy was so simple.

BTTNK thinks that the leaders should lead. Sorry the first priority is giving cops more and more money. Then we give it to the fire guys then we give a little less to everyone else. Priorities are paying the cops first. Everything else is secondary.
4/26/2014 8:51:51 AM
bttnk says:
@timeforchange - Maybe you need to read my comment again because you seem to be confused. I don't mention anything about "leaders leading".

I've said that other public sector employees have had they wages frozen for the upcoming fiscal year. Why not take a long look at having city employees do the same? Alternatively, you can give everyone a 2-3% wage increase, and raise taxes by 2-3%.

4/28/2014 8:53:57 AM
signman says:
NO MORE TAX INCREASES!

Don't even go their! Start doing your job and reduce expenses! City Hall has 3 times the number of employees they used to have and our population is going down! Get rid of the baggage and put to work those that are left!

Too many on the sunshine list being supported by those who can least afford it!

It is my understanding the number of taxpayers now in arrears has doubled! It is quite obvious many taxpayers are on the brink of losing their homes as a result of the unacceptable tax rate in Thunder Bay.

As the Chamber of Commerce stated recently

"property taxes will reach alarming levels if municipal spending continues to increase at the current rate."

They already are!

Thunder Bay has one of the highest tax rates in Ontario and Canada when you compare property value to the amount of taxes paid by property owners.

Thunder Bay will soon end up like Detroit, bankrupt, if some common sense is not forthcoming!
4/26/2014 10:43:59 AM
dank says:
It is really easy for a sunshine lister to recommend tax increases. I thought high salaries were supposed to attract smart people with common sense. They should be treating every tax dollar like it was their last. It seems every consulting company on the map are in this city's back pocket. As to essential services, there should be a balance. We can't be without them but they have also bankrupted some communities.
4/26/2014 12:58:30 PM
Factualjack says:
The only problem with a 1 % tax increase is that it becomes perpetual for ever. It becomes part of the levy unless it is rescinded by council. The snow removal budget was in a surplus for years due to a lack of snow. Now that we have an anomaly raising taxes to deal with this issue is not the best solution. It's like the hospital levy...where did that go when it was paid for. If you have a budget problem then perhaps you need to do some pain for one year such as cutting services in other areas then reimplement them in the following year.
4/26/2014 1:53:41 PM
Thook says:
Can someone explain to my why a grader went down my street yesterday afternoon? The only thing on the street to Plow was the water and dirt. No wonder we are over budget.
4/26/2014 2:40:37 PM
gremlin says:
This council doesn't have the kahunas to make the necessary moves that could save the city literally millions per year. Its quite simple really.

1 - 20% reduction in city workforce (all departments)

2 - get rid of the unions (all departments)

3 - 20% reduction in pay (all departments including management).

There, problem solved.

4/26/2014 4:41:24 PM
anvil of crom says:
uhh because that would be barbaric anarchy? The agreement unions make are called contracts. They city signs the contract, the contracts states the terms of what the employee gets from the employer and what the employer expects in return. And both sides kind of have to abide by it. Makes us a civil society.
Contracts are usefull , and they are the reason a employer cant can you just because one day they walk in and don't like your face sheeesh.
That being said a wee bit of spending restraint is always to be looked for.
From my perspective I knew a few areas of city staff that had heads roll a few years back, example some areas of social services were hollowed out like a gourd and in a nasty way to boot.
4/27/2014 10:31:50 PM
jonthunder says:
We truly do need an election and some new actors to deal with our financial management.
4/26/2014 6:34:39 PM
nvjgu says:
It's just not worth owning anything anymore
4/26/2014 8:34:56 PM
Mazda323 says:
Gremlin, whether we like it or not, the union is here to stay. We somehow have to convince that union to:
A). Get rid of the dead weight - and there is a lot of it
B) agree to a wage freeze -which is not a union's mandate, they want more people working, period.
So were back to the dead weight, either get rid of it, or put it to good use
4/27/2014 8:31:45 AM
djs says:
Right now, the city needs to find money to pay for the snow removal, but they also need to streamline how they do the snow removal and when they do it. Some areas get snow removal even if it hasn't fallen and others are lucky to see their snow removed days after it falls. Sidewalks are a huge issue in respect to when they get done as some simply don't seem to get done in anything remotely resembling a timely manner.
Council needs to re-examine their plans for snow removal and think outside whatever box they are trapped in--what they do is not efficient or cost effective.
Finding money this time means cuts to budgets and wish lists--hopefully the things we want go before the things we need. This year is an exception; next year, they can hopefully plan better, and if they have extra, the wants can get more money.
4/27/2014 9:21:59 AM
chezhank says:
“The City of Thunder Bay has an extra $5.8 million from its 2010 operation budget…City treasurer Carol Busch said… it will go to the stabilization reserve fund to help wherever it can. “If we budget and then mid-year there’s something significant that hadn’t been included — it gives you an avenue for financing that,” she said. For instance, Busch said the city plans snow removal costs using an average, but if there’s a massive snowfall and they go over budget — money can be taken from the stabilization reserve fund to make sure there isn’t a deficit.” At the end of 2012 that the balance in the Stabilization Reserve Fund showed $15.8 million. Time to upset the apple cart at city hall! Need I write more?
4/27/2014 10:39:00 AM
sam says:
Does anyone know how snow removal works with the city. Are the workers who do the snow removal extra to the normal workforce? Is this extra cost of snow removal related to just overtime? Is there actually a snow removal budget or is it part of a larger budget that includes other activities?
4/27/2014 10:39:29 AM
signman says:

I was in Detroit recently and saw first hand what a bankrupt city looks like. Half of the population there has moved to the suburbs.

Why did this happen?

Why are so many city residents in Thunder Bay talking about leaving and doing the same thing here as property taxes and spending are out of control.

The Chamber of Commerce keeps warning the city to get spending under control and get a handle on taxes.

Th city in turn pays not attention and trys to dismiss their reports!

I have never seen the public as upset as they are now with our representation in city hall.

The Concerned Tax Payers of Thunder Bay back the Chamber of Commerce in their concerns over taxation and spending.
4/27/2014 12:45:50 PM
MAC1937 says:
I agree with Yellow Snow 13... and it appears to me.... we need a real house cleaning at City Hall, both City Management and City Council... or the quickest route may well be a TAX REVOLT... which looks long overdue.. and some have indicated considering that route now
4/27/2014 4:05:55 PM
gremlin says:
Mazda323:

I can appreciate what you're saying but the city unions will never be convinced that there's even a problem.

Here's a ? for everyone. What do Detroit, Mi./Harrisburg, Pa./Stockton, Ca./Fresno, Ca. to name a few, have in common? Answer, declared bankruptcy. Why, because of

1 - out-of-control city spending on projects

2 - high union labour costs & benefits (all departments including police & fire)

3 - unfunded liabilities due to the generous pensions for city workers (all departments).

For a sobering reality check I can recommend looking up "Stockton bankruptcy". This is what happens when you have "spineless politicians" in office.

Here's another thing those cities have in common. They were all run by Democratic "socialist leaning" administrations. For the less educated on here that means NDP & Liberal counsellors & Mayor.
4/27/2014 4:21:16 PM
yqtyqt says:
Awesome posting. Public sector unions are the problem here. They're far too powerful. They're far too influential. The election laws permit them to buy votes in federal, provincial/state and municipal elections.

This becomes an issue of economic cllass indifference. In a nutshell, those with wealth need to invest in the areas where wealth is earned and needed, those with modest wealth (the middle class) need to spend their money on their own domestic economies and not abroad, and those in need should petition for opportunities for educational and social for assistance. Not more freeloading.

It would seem to me that we have far too many waiting with their hands out hoping for gov't cheques. With the new demographics and aging population, and the newly employed expecting gold to be dropped into their laps overnight, we're on our way to economic disaster. The numbers collecting gov't cheques will soon outnumber the employees contributing.

You need no math degrees to figure this one out
4/28/2014 11:36:03 AM
trips says:
that old adage fits the city workers in tbay ...how many electricians does it take to change a light bulb ...4...one to stand on the ladder and 3 to turn the ladder...its the managers of these departments telling them that that is the way its done..a new approach is needed at the upper levels of management
4/27/2014 5:45:14 PM
Curious says:
First they need to reduce the number of managers & supervisors, stop wasting money on bike lanes & overpaid unnecessary staff making these foolish decisions. Reduce the number of vehicles out there. Every man & his dog has a truck! Stop allowing on call staff to use their vehicles for personal use. Reduce the extreme theft - set up a warehouse & have people sign for product. That would reduce staff and theft buy tens of thousands per year. Take away credit cards - too much personal items are purchased at taxpayers expense. I only wish they would focus on what is really going on on the inside - thy would be able to reduce our taxes not raise them!
4/28/2014 9:21:45 AM
Robert Bob says:
Tax and Spend, this is how you operate any City government. No need to be publicly accountable we are politicans and are trusted by the Public to Spend their tax dollars. We take care of the Police and Fire Services with lucrative contacts with benefits and wage increases whatever they want. City Workers we take care of then as well. We don't operate on Profit and Loss whatsoever, Tax and Spend is our Motto.Who really cares if the taxpayers are unhappy, they dont really want "service cuts". Reserve Funds hold on thats for future things the City may need. We can't predict Bad weather so the increase is only 1% to cover the shortfall, No big deal at all. It gives us a nice excuse to look like we tried to save taxpayers from a major rate increase earlier but who new the weather would be a problem. The streets are safe and plowed, lots of overtime needed for the City staff and road crews. They invest the additional income back into the community so all is good.
4/28/2014 12:04:06 PM
gremlin says:
anvil of crom:

What is barbaric is what is happening to the "average joe" who because of UNION GREED is losing their ability to keep a roof over their heads. Seniors are losing their houses because they can't keep up with the property taxes, escalating hydro & water rates which is all tied into high "labour rates".

Your so called contracts are "negotiated" @ the end of a barrel. Look up "Stockton, Ca. bankruptcy" or "Detroit bankruptcy" & you'll see what "anarchy" really is.
4/28/2014 2:45:36 PM
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