The headline in The Star indicating that Sudbury councillors are facing a $14 million dilemma is misleading. Sudbury is facing a $620 million dilemma and they aren’t willing or have the guts to examine what makes up this grossly inflated figure. They can’t even agree to freezing their bloated salaries to save $500,000 while other people or businesses are losing their livelihoods.
Their only solution is a 3.9 per cent increase in the property tax, assuming they can find $14 million in savings, which they never do, a 4.8 per cent increase in water/wastewater charges, another 1.5 per cent in a capital levy.
My estimate is that this will mean about a $313 increase in our taxes or charges for 2021, on a house assessed at $300,000. We would like to see a profit and loss statement on these charges. How much money was brought in on water and sewage? An educated guess is about $100 million.
How much was actually utilized for water/sewage specific purposes?
What was the capital levy used for or was it just an excuse to bring it into general revenues?
I applaud the consideration of the Python 5000, but if it is not accompanied by a reduction in road maintenance staff, it is just a waste of money. Speaking of which, on Feb. 20 — a beautiful sunny day around zero degrees with not a flake in sight — there was a City of Greater Sudbury snowplow with its blades up aimlessly driving around my little burgh at a cost of probably $100 an hour. Who schedules this crap?
Why is Sudbury in the long-term care business? If memory serves, Pioneer Manor costs us $5 million a year. Now St Joseph’s Villa is looking for $4 million and has asked the city for $1 million, which council is considering. These institutions were established as non-profit facilities and depreciation of the facility is a cost of doing business. Deal with it. If Red Oak or Chartwell or Finlandia can do it, maybe Pioneer can be sold to one of them for $1 and get the albatross off our backs.
The Kingsway Entertainment District? What is an arena? It is four walls, a roof, an ice surface and seats. We already have that and council and the city wants to spend about $100 million-plus for a shiny new object that basically serves the same purpose.
The fallacy that the current arena is sitting on quicksand and will crumble like Mount St. Helens on a moment’s notice is a red herring. It’s been around for 70 years and I don’t see any cracks that would suggest otherwise.
Parking? After 70 years this comes up? I remember the days of Max Silverman packing in crowds of 6,667. When was the last time that happened?
Constant carping about needles and the homeless downtown? Well, fix it. Maybe police patrols – walking, not driving – might alleviate that problem.
Homeless? Involve them in the decisions, not endless meetings excluding them that the mayor trumpets as progress.
Look, I’m not trying to be a disturber here. We just want a city that has its priorities straight, husband the spending to what is really necessary, do a line-by-line audit of staff that is really required to run this city, get staff numbers and salaries in line with other entities, be transparent and honest with us, don’t send out snowplows when there is no need, don’t send out road maintenance crews that have five or six people standing around with one person doing the work. We know we have to pay taxes and charges, but all of us just want to be assured that we aren’t being treated like patsies.
Is that too much to hope for?