Thanks Grassroots Guelph…

No really, thank you.  Any group of citizens who care about the city — its people, its programs, its prosperity, its future, and its finances — who have a concern and bring it out into the open, it is a favour to all of us.  That is the essence of civic engagement and accountability.  It provides the city with an opportunity for true transparency and brings public attention to an issue that might otherwise be overlooked or ignored.

Grassroots Guelph submitted a petition to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs requesting a full independent audit of the city’s finances.   After meeting with the Grassroots group leadership and city officials, the Ministry responded that they feel no additional action is appropriate.  Read the Letter from Minister Jeffery here.

Although the Minister indicated she felt the matter was in good hands, and I have full confidence that the city’s finances and economic future are in excellent shape, the health of our city is still worthy of a robust discussion.

The petition of the Grassroots Guelph group got people talking.   This group is not really my cup of tea, as their mandate to date seems narrowly focused on curmudgeonry.

But I like to see the bright side of things.  In this case, kickstarting a community dialogue on the state of the city’s books is a good thing.  I urge the Grassroots leadership to take up the city’s offer to meet and address any outstanding questions and to offer full transparency on Guelph’s finances and financial management policies.  Please….look at our books, ask questions and dig deeper if you don’t understand.

More importantly, if Grassroots Guelph comes up empty and all their concerns and questions addressed, it will be most telling to see if they are able to overcome their political agenda to publicly declare “the financial management of the City of Guelph is in good hands”…..

LP

Weigh In on City of Guelph 2014 Capital Budget

The 2014 Capital Budget was presented to Council in early October. It’s a mixed bag of infrastructure renewal, strategic investments, economic development and upgrading of facilities, parks and buildings.

Input, questions, concerns? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Learn more about what is in (and what is out) of the 2014 Capital Budget at http://guelph.ca/2013/09/highlights-guelphs-capital-investment-strategy/

LP

Guelph Hydro Business Case BDR Review Summary Available

Findings of GHESIHorizon business case analysis made available

GUELPH, ON, September 19, 2008 – The City of Guelph has received agreement from BDR to allow it to release a summary of its analysis of a business case concerning the proposed merger between Guelph Hydro Electric System Inc. (GHESI) and Horizon Utilities Corp (H.U.C.).

BDR is the consulting firm retained to conduct an expert, independent peer review of the GHESIHorizon business case and accompanying analysis performed by Deloitte.

BDR’s conclusion after thorough analysis is that the business case is fair and reasonable from a financial point of view.

A summary of BDR’s findings are available at guelph.ca.

http://www.guelph.ca/uploads/administration/Guelph-Final-Presentation-single-electric.pdf

I’m a Taxpayer Too

On occasion, I get calls or emails from constituents reminding me that they are taxpayers and have certain expectations about the services they receive for their tax dollar. Many residents are worried about facing significant tax increases over the next few years.

As a taxpayer, I share these concerns. My teenage children are eating me out of house and home, not to mention rising fuel costs, and looming post-secondary education bills. I have a modest income and live a simple life (one bathroom – family of six!)

I don’t relish the idea of significant tax increases anymore than my neighbours and constituents. I want value for money just like everyone else. But what is value for money? What services and ammenities do progressive communities invest in? What services contribute to quality of life?

My Guelph is more than just garbage pick-up, sewage, roads and police. My Guelph includes greenspace, clean water and air, healthy active citizens, affordable housing, arts, culture, music and heritage. My Guelph takes care of its most vulnerable citizens. My Guelph invests in high quality community and urban design. My Guelph invests in economic and labour force development.

Municipal politics is about making investments that yield the best return for the community good. Please share your thoughts – what are your priorities?

Leanne