Aren’t politicians lovely?
City council has a plan to deal with the shortfall caused by the larger-than-expected snow removal costs. Councilor Rainer Bloess describes it as “a little bit of shuffling the financial deck, but it’s trying to accomplish what’s best for taxpayers.” I’ll politely disagree and call it a financial slight-of-hand, in the wost possible sense of the phrase.
Earlier last week, the province allotted $14.6 million to Ottawa for infrastructure. The city says it’s $130 million behind on infrastructure maintenance so the province will kick-in and take care of 10% all at once. Sounds good?
It seems to have sounded good to the councilors to. What Bloess calls “best for the taxpayer” is removing $14 million from the infrastructure fund for use in covering the snow-removal overrun and to keep taxes down. When the province delivers the $14.6 million, the infrastructure fund will be topped up to where it started, and the councilors will no doubt claim the $14.6 million the province gave is indeed being spent on infrastructure. Of course this is a dodge and Ottawa city council should be ashamed of themselves.
My friend Shawn bypassed his city councilor and wrote to his MPP about this issue. Brilliant! The people mis-spending the money likely won’t listen, so talk to those holding the purse-strings. Surely they will have more pull with the councilors than their constituents. Sad but true.
I fully expect the topic of infrastructure to come up again. When it does, council better not moan about how infrastructure is suffering. Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi has already been quoted saying he’ll be “seriously disappointed” if council goes through with this plan. Why would the province provide further money when council has demonstrated they’re unable to spend money for the reason it is allocated?