Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hey big spender . . .

Councillor Dubois managed to hold on to her Crown being the top spender on council for 2009, while Wyant nudged out Hill by a nose for second place. Had you played a triacter on this race the payday would have been small as the favorites came in to win. A special thanks to Prarieland Park for picking up Neault's travel expenses and again thank you to Nealut for not double-dipping.

The surprise spender was Councillor Paulsen (SP Feb.9/10) seemingly leading the charge on an additional $54,000.00 to separate the tax bill for the school boards. While it is true that most taxpayers fail to realise that half that bill goes to the school boards, we have also entered an era were the province has taken away the school boards' ability to tax and has a long range plan to reduce the weight of that expense from the property tax.

I expect that many taxpayers will be confused by the separate billing and may only pay one bill but not the other. Then the city will be required to pay the expense of collecting these taxes and late payment will penalize the property owner. No doubt some will add the two incorrectly and have a small shortage or overage. I agree with Penner, Wyant and Clark that the current tax bill is pretty clear as to allocation of taxes paid. Those three get a back on the pat.

On the upside, now there will be space on the notice to include all the indirect taxation we pay - ever-increasing levies on infrastructure, landfill fees, transit passes and utility increases. I'll let the environmentally conscious folks comment on the increased waste of paper.

Now council should spend a little time figuring out how we can pay for this as I recall six of them are committed to no tax increase.


  1. I was at council last night when the tax debate was going on. I think the swing vote was the Pringle but I could be wrong. There was definitely 4 against at one point Tiffany even spoke in defeat that the outcome would have been different if all had been present. Then something happened not sure didn't see the lights go out but one of them changed their mind.

    These yahoos can't even spend $54,000 correctly. I'm sure that would have put another snow plow down a couple streets this year. When times are tough it is PRIORITIES that count and issuing separate notices definitely isn't one.

    And what's with 4 councilors away at the same time They only have one meeting a month and they can't even take the time to show up?

  2. Dubois, Heidt, Neault, and Ljore were away.

    Clark, Penner, and Wyant were against.

    So that leaves Hill, Pringle, Paulsen for, meaning Atchison would have been the tie breaking vote. I wasn't able to watch that portion of Council, so I'm just speculating.

    At least the bills will all go out in one mailing, but is it necessary? Don't the current bills have a line in them showing the breakdown between City and School Board taxes? Is it worth $54K?

    Seems like a waste of money to me.

  3. It is a complete waste of money. With increasing property taxes, about to be jacked up again (despite the election promises), council is scrambling for any PR they can get. Why else are they so concerned with how the population perceives their tax bill? That money could have nearly covered council's entire travel budget next year...

    I wasn't overly disappointed when this council and mayor were re-elected (and I'm still glad Lenore wasn't elected), but next election we need an overhaul. After a year this is out of control. Mark my words, they will have 'no choice but to raise taxes' in the coming months due to unexpected shortfalls (i.e. blame Prov Govt for not increasing funds even though they knew about it for months, blame someone for poor snow clearing and unexpected expense associated with it). This is just a joke at this point, they are spending every dime they can with no regard. Then will play ignorant come tax time trying to convince us that it is the Prov Govt that is responsible for the higher taxes.....just look at the fancy new mail out saying so.

    Atchinson is running the city into the ground, I can't think of one thing that has improved under his tenure. Crime is still rampant and there is still a disconnect between the population and the police, River Landing is still an undeveloped dump (though Persephone is alright), we are committed to several expensive projects with no real plan on how to pay for them.

    So much for your legacy Atch, right your legacy is looking about as promising at old Dubyas.

    Whoever arranged the Harper protest can you please get to work and start arranging a Atch one? Please, I will actually attend this one

  4. Nobody should be surprised that a former school teacher (Penner), a socialist who wants anything but clarity in billing (Clark), a former school trustee (Wyant) all supported by a bitter failed politician and former school trustee(take a guess)think this is a bad idea. Tiffany is right the separation of the tax bill will let tax payers clearly see what's what. Next let's work toward ridding ourselves of trustees altogether, that would more than cover the "cost" of telling tax payers the truth! Belansky telling council it will take 400 hours to make the changes says a lot about the efficient running of city hall, what an embarrasment.

  5. Do you really need a $54,000 project to tell us what the difference is? What about simply breaking down the billing differently on the existing bill?

    In fact, anyone who really bothers to care will now probably be aware anyways thanks to the publicity this is/will generate.

    Anon 10:07, when you decide to personally attack the people who hold opposing views as you do, you tend to lose credibility. Wyant is lawyer by trade and I am sure has a clearer conception than you do about bills, money in trusts, and the principles of accurate reporting. From all indications the Mistress is not biter about her defeat, in fact I would say quite the opposite. I have gathered from her posts here that she is enjoying her free time, or personal work (not sure if she is in private sector again these days?). In fact, I think she is having a much better time 'telling it like it is' than she did walking the political tight rope. I value her insights into how how council operates. Clark I know not much about (other than he seems less interested in the ward he represents than the one he lives in), but to dismiss him as 'socialist' speaks volumes to your willingness to accept differing viewpoints. Are all Conservatives borne in the image of George Bush? Also, wouldn't Neault and Lorje be considered 'socialists' by your account as well? One is former NDP MLA and the other family to well connected Labour organizations. Penner by all accounts is on his last term before retirement, he has admirably defended his constituents during his tenure and I find no reason to conclude that he would now opt to look opposite of their best interests simply to muddle the issue of property taxes.

    I just find it amazing that when we are in such dire financial times we need to spend an additional $54,000 on a mail out explaining the breakdown of who is getting your property taxes. We already have a general understanding, what is the point other than to deflect blame off council for the high costs? This is plain and simple a PR move so people don't think they (council)are completely responsible for the property tax totals.

    As for the 400 hours, I agree that is ludicrous and an example of the disorganization at City Hall under the current regime.

    Rather than $54,000 on this how about we offer each Councillor $10 for every phone call they must address regarding this issue and explaining it? I'm sure we could satisfy those confused people that care for about $2,000.

  6. anon 10:07
    Good response I truly appreciate the dialogue however I accused CM of being bitter not a biter, I wouldn't know about the latter.
    anon 9:10

  7. Where does Ms. Dubois go on all of these all expense paid trips? I watch a lot of council meetings and I never see a report to council of where she's been or why, is this info available or in typical Janice Mann mumbo jumbo protected by the privacy act.

  8. Anon 9:10, glad you have a sense of humour after your drive by smearing. Let's just hope you have as light a sense of humour next time some publicly insults you or your family.

    Anon 10:07

  9. Yet again - perhaps the Grizz should do some more research before he shoots his mouth off. A quick look at the city's website reveals that council meets at least twice, if not three, times a month and the other Mondays they meet off-camera. Not that I agree with 4 councillors being gone at the same time - but get your facts right.

  10. I agree with anon 12:11 - not only does Bev Dubois travel around on these bullshit trips - her expenses go up every single year. Where's the reporting and accountability????

  11. Speaking of accountability - Myles Heidt is on an 8 week holiday. Moe Neault is gone for 6 weeks. You can bet those pigs at the trough aren't giving up their council salaries. Why are my tax dollars paying someone who takes off to the US for two months and leaves an entire portion of the city unrepresented??

  12. Interesting how even the councillors seem to not understand.
    Paulson stated that it needs to be clear to taxpayers that the majority of taxes collected do not go to the city. If my math is correct the city for 2009 took 51% of the taxes collected and with the 4 - 6% I think we are facing this year they will most certainly take the lead. Interesting that the mayor suggested putting the trustees names on the notice for the education portion of property tax. Interesting notion since the province now sets the milrate. The equivalent for the city would be putting the city managers name on the notice for the city.
    Might be nice if councillors would at least make their decisionsw based on fact.

  13. Anon 3:02
    With the Province now setting the mill rate for public school boards some of these may change but traditionally school board 55-58%, library 5% municipal 37-40% that's why we need separate notices!

  14. anon10:07/12:26
    You really shouldn't let this fun dialogue upset you so! Reread you message to yours truly again. I will still have a light sense of humor when "some pulicly insults me or my family" that pent up emotion stuff is going to start to affect your health, I'm worried about you.
    anon 9:10


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