For the actual wording of the motions indicated, a link will be provided.
REPORT ON COUNCIL
April 9, 2001
Mayor Bob Klug, Councillors Bob Buchkowsky and Pierre Paul Maurice present. Gordon Salisbury absent, on vacation. Frank Hughes also absent, ill after a second, more serious heart attack, and not expected to return to Council for some time.
FRUSTRATION OVER HUGE INCREASE IN WATER FEES AND TAXES Well before 7 pm, angry citizens had packed the Council Chambers in Tiny, filling every available chair, lining the side and back walls, standing in the hall, on the stairs, and out the door, many eventually leaving because they could not get close enough to hear. They came to hear Ole Jensen (who ran unsuccessfully for the office of public school trustee last fall) make an impassioned deputation to Council against the 26% hike in Tiny's share of the municipal tax bill and against the leap in water fees for those on municipal water systems. He spoke of the hardship to ordinary working people of water fees that amounted to close to $800 each year for two years, declaring that such a sum represents 100 hours of work, 2 weeks. Curiously, he did not demand that Council justify the massive expenditures. Rather he focussed on the possibility of reducing the impact of the tax and water increases by spreading them out over time by debenturing capital projects, though without considering the interest that would then have to be paid.
Angry ratepayers were forced to wait--and wait--and wait--to ask their questions until the end of the meeting (the usual time for queries from the audience). Council proceeded through a light agenda at a snail's pace, fending off occasional eruptions from electors, giving careful consideration to an unprecedented number of items under correspondence. Many people left mid-meeting, still furious. Those who remained asked tough questions.
Was Council doing proper forward planning? Council (which campaigned against the use of consultants) promptly claimed credit for the 10-year plans put in place by the last Council for the fire and roads departments, both prepared by consultants. (At every stage of the way, Gordon Salisbury had opposed the Roads Needs Study, which had been proposed repeatedly by Patricia O'Driscoll for two years, only supporting it on the final vote.)
If a grant were received for capital water expenses, would there be a rebate of all or part of the capital water levy of $400? The answer was NO. Grant money would be put into the water reserve fund for future contingencies.
There was anger at the 3% cost of living increase in Council salaries in a year of such huge tax increases. There were mutters about Bob Buchkowsky's vacation tan, and sotto voce comments like -- "Enjoy your four years!"