There’s A New Group In Town

Everybody’s talking about the new group in town. And it’s not all flattering.

Why is there such a kerfuffle over the creation of the Amherstburg Taxpayers Association that is, as stated on their blog, “a group of residents concerned about our taxes, and how they are managed and spent”?

A quick read of the River Town Times and social media provides some answers but raises more questions.

Was the town’s Procedural By-Law adhered to? Section 12.1 of the town’s procedural by-law, “No By-law shall be presented to Council unless the subject matter has been considered and approved by Council.” If council had first directed Administration to research the topic and bring it back to council, the confusion regarding the interpretation or applicability of any legislation or definition of lobbyist might have been avoided.

Was the town’s Accountability and Transparency Policy adhered to? “This policy applies equally to the actions or decisions to be undertaken or made by Council, Staff, Committees, Agencies, Commissions and Local Boards, so as to try to increase the accountability and transparency of the municipal decision making process.”

Is the practice of reading a by-law three times in one evening counter productive and contrary to the principles of transparency and accountability?

Why did this by-law appear before council so quickly when other items drag on for a decade – like the accessibility of the library? the town’s website? or years – like the council meeting streaming? In 2014 webcasting was deferred to the 2015 budget.

As for increased accountability and transparency, isn’t that what politicians promise?

During the 2018 campaign, CBC’s Jonathan Pinto asked candidates questions. Only those that addressed accountability and transparency are set out below in this post. Read the full article at CBC.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?

Marc Renaud
I’ve dedicated myself to understanding municipal politics and community issues. Based on my experience, I believe council can serve the needs of the community better. If elected, I plan on bringing a more responsible and accountable council to the taxpayers of Amherstburg.

Donald McArthur
I covered councils for nearly 20 years as a journalist and I’ve written editorials blasting politicians for breaking promises or meeting behind closed doors. I know how the system works and I want to put the people into politics by engaging my constituents online and in person.

What is the single biggest issue in your municipality?

Patricia Simone
Whether it’s policing, infrastructure or taxes, the residents need representation at Town Hall. This means having councillors that show up, talk to residents, know the issues and are willing to debate them. If elected I will be that councillor.

Peter Courtney
The biggest issue in our municipality in my opinion is the lack of transparency surrounding the process, planning and procedures for new business development in our town. (ie, Wendy’s, Duffy’s property, and Centennial Park).