Council changes its spots

It is interesting that a council member speaking out and a few dedicated citizens who expressed their dissatisfaction with the way that council was dealing with the prison issue have influenced the change in decision by council. It wouldn’t be pre-election fever would it? No, silly me. Why would I think such a thought?

We hear tales of the city’s financial plight from time to time. However, projects like Coun. Pearce’s pet beautification project keep popping up. Remember, economic times are tough and money needs to go further and for needed or necessary items not personal whims.

Then there is the outlay of $50,000 for what might be best termed an efficiency study. Why did we have to spend this money to find out that things weren’t as efficient as they might be? With current layoffs and job phase-outs, didn’t that give some idea as to efficiency without the high cost of having someone from outside come in and tell you what you already knew but were charged $50,000 to be told? Restraint … remember councillors.

It brings into question the conceded to prison referendum. The mayor and council voted 5-0 in favour of the referendum. Prior to this vote, Coun. Pearce stated that there would be no referendum on the prison, period. Who says that leopards don’t change their spots? In the next breath, the mayor suggested that it would cost $50,000. It seems that $50,000 appears to be the magic number for many of the city projects. Where are we getting all of these $50,000 bundles in this time of economic restraint? Is there a printing press that we don’t know about?

Last election, the mayor campaigned on transparency, fiscal restraint, budgeting and approachability. On a report card it might look like this: approachability (C- to D); on fiscal restraint (C-); approachability (C). Perhaps, I’m being a little too generous here.

I am wondering if the advent of political change might be near given the outcome of the federal election. Maybe there is some trepidation on the part of the council that voters might vote for change and not clichŽd, empty promises that sound good but never seem to materialize. As a consequence, councillors might be re-thinking things somewhat.

Oh well, there is an election coming and we can reassess things then, can’t we?

Ron Barillaro