Kincardine gets failing grade
for not passing its own budget
By Liz Dadson
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If Kincardine council's goal was to save money in this year's budget, it has failed miserably.
After four consecutive Monday night meetings in March - 12 hours of meetings - plus countless hours of staff time, council turned down its own budget by a 4-4 vote at the April 13 meeting.
That means a waste of $5,400 which includes the per diem cost of $150 per special meeting multiplied by nine members of council over the four meetings.
While it's understandable that some councillors have objections to a 12-per-cent hike in the tax rate, why wasn't that all hashed out in the endless hours of budget talks? And who would turn down a 12-per-cent hike, with an argument that it isn't high enough?
And the ultimate question: why was the budget being put to a vote when not all members of council were present? If councillor Candy Hewitt had been there, the vote would have been 5-4 in favour of the budget, as she had indicated support at the last budget meeting.
Better yet, why does Kincardine council continue to be hampered by the divisive opinion of the councillor from Ward 3?
Councillor Randy Roppel was not at the final budget meeting on March 28 when the 12-per-cent tax rate increase was accepted, by a 5-3 vote. Nor was he party to much of the discussion leading up to that decision.
So, in his bombastic way, he stomped into the budget debate April 13 and declared he would not support such a huge tax increase. No discussion - that's just how it's going to be for the fine people he represents.
The three council members against the March 28 decision - deputy mayor Anne Eadie and councillors Ron Coristine and Mike Leggett - again voted against the budget, and it failed.
For the first time in the history of the amalgamated Municipality of Kincardine and the former municipalities, and perhaps every municipality in Bruce County and across Canada, a council did not support its own budget. A budget that was hammered out over four meetings, each being about three-hours long.
It's ridiculous and embarrassing!
Is Kincardine going to be forever cursed with councils that refuse to get along? Are we going to suffer through another four years of dysfunctional discussions and debates that go nowhere?
We don't even have a committee system in place that we could blame for the problems this council is now facing.
So, where does that leave the Municipality of Kincardine and its budget? Well, it's back to the drawing board on May 9 with yet another budget meeting to be held at 5 p.m.
Perhaps we need our neighbours from the north and the south to come and assist us with this task, since we don't seem to have the skills required to get our financial and budgetary house in order.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011