60 of 63 Motions for budget cuts by Coun. Ben Tucci Defeated

By  | March 6, 2012 | 49 Comments | Filed under: Local News

Last night Coun. Ben Tucci came up with over $1.1M in budget cuts, which if adopted would have brought the tax increase to just over 2% down from 3.74%. 60 of his 63 motions were defeated. 3 were adopted. Of the over $1.1 million he recommended be cut, only $25,000 or so was cut.

Here is a list of cuts recommended by Coun Tucci.


Council meeting – March 5, 2012 Agenda items 11 & 12        
Moved by Councillor Tucci______________________ and seconded by Councillor Cowsill _____________________ that the following proposed cuts to the 2012 operating budget be adopted. 
The resulting savings of $1,132,420 or approx. 1.66% reduces the proposed tax increase for 2012 from the 3.74% coming out of the budget tax force meetings to approx. 2.08%.   
Section & line/item Page 2012 budget proposed reduction % or $ revised budget $ reduction Commentary
20100 Mayor/Council            
2147 – FCM 5 $12,000 10% $10,800 $1,200  
2282 – Celebration Of The Arts 5 $15,000 10% $13,500 $1,500  
2350 – Conference & Seminars 5 $38,000 10% $34,200 $3,800  
21100 Administration C.A.O.            
2350 – Conference & Seminar 33 $4,500 $1,500 $3,000 $1,500 Matches 2011 actual
3041 – Promotional/Marketing  33 $2,400 10% $2,160 $240  
3042 – Promotional and Meals 33 $2,400 10% $2,160 $240  
3290 – Training & development 33 $4,700 10% $4,230 $470  
21140 Corporate Communications            
3041 – Promotion/Marketing 37 $4,700 10% $4,230 $470  
3042 – Promotion and Meals 37 $1,600 10% $1,440 $160  
3290 – Training & Development 37 $8,400 10% $7,560 $840  
21145 Legal Services            
2806 – OMB & Outside Legal Services 39 $87,000 $1,000 $86,000 $1,000 Matches 2011 actual
3042 – Promotion and Meals 39 $2,000 10% $1,800 $200  
3131 – Searches – Miscellaneous 39 $20,700 10% $18,630 $2,070  
3290 – Training & Development 39 $26,500 10% $23,850 $2,650  
21212 WRTMC            
2392 – City Contract 47 $87,400 $1,700 $85,700 $1,700 Matches 2011 actual
Section & line/item Page 2012 budget proposed reduction % or $ revised budget $ reduction Commentary
21310 Economic Dev. Administration            
3290 – Training & Development 49 $3,000 10% $2,700 $300  
21340 Economic Dev. CTT            
2265 – C.T.T. 55 $147,900 $2,900 $145,000 $2,900 Matches 2011 actual
23100 Admin. Corporate Services            
2972 – Office stationery/Supplies/Equ 69 $2,100 10% $1,890 $210  
3042 – Promotion and Meals 69 $4,300 10% $3,870 $430  
23300 Human Resources Services            
2280 – Camb. Apprec. Evening Expenses 79 $19,300 10% $17,370 $1,930  
2450 – Council Gifts/Condolences 79 $11,700 10% $10,530 $1,170  
2801 – Labour/Labour Relations 79 $100,000 10% $90,000 $10,000  
23471 Clerks            
2455 – Mtg. meals/Pages/Investigator 83 $8,500 $2,500 $6,000 $2,500 Council meals reduced by 50% to $2,500
23510 Insurance and Other            
2780 – Insurance 99 $850,000 $300,000 $550,000 $300,000 Set aside for “potential” claims not actual experience.
23520 Corporate Expenditures            
3867 – Contribution to Capital Budget 101 $10,114,800 $427,000 $9,687,800 $427,000 Capital budget reductions (see list below)
23560 Contingencies            
3740 – Contingency Allowance 107 $200,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 If req’d, funds can be found/moved at the time Council 
Section & line/item Page 2012 budget proposed reduction % or $ revised budget $ reduction Commentary
25100 Administration Transportation            
3290 – Training & Development 161 33,600 10% $30,240 $3,360  
25312 Lot Operating Expenses            
3150 – Snow removal & Salting 173 126,500 10% $113,850 $12,650 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
25320 Street Lighting            
3172 – St. Lighting – Maintenance 177 498,000 $0 $463,200 $34,800  
25650 Road – Winter Maintenance            
5061 – Plowing 197 343,000 10% $308,700 $34,300 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
5062 – Snow Removal 197 179,300 10% $161,370 $17,930 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
5066 – Sanding Streets 197 196,000 10% $176,400 $19,600 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
5067 – Sidewalk sanding 197 70,300 10% $63,270 $7,030 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
5069 – Salting Streets 197 659,700 10% $593,730 $65,970 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
5070 – Sidewalk Salting 197 79,200 10% $71,280 $7,920 Favourable conditions = reduced requirement
5076 – Winter Standby 197 125,400 $39,900 $85,500 $39,900 Favourable conditions – use actual for 2011
25670 Roads – Misc. Activities            
5098 – Crack Sealing 201 101,900 10% $91,710 $10,190  
25800 Asset Management/Support Serv            
3290 Training & Development 203 20,900 10% $18,810 $2,090  
26211 Administration Parks            
2295 – Leased vehicles/Mileage/Fuel 235 122,000 10% $109,800 $12,200 Still represents a $13,200 increase year over year
Total operating budget savings         $1,132,420  
CAPITAL BUDGET            
Section & line/item Page 2012 budget proposed reduction % or $ revised budget $ reduction Commentary
Transportation and Public Works             
12C002 – Structural Rehabilitation 29 400,000 10% $360,000 $40,000  
12C003 – Bikeways implementation 29 100,000 10% $90,000 $10,000  
12C004 – Misc. Retaining Walls 29 125,000 10% $112,500 $12,500  
12C011 – Sidewalk Program 29 50,000 10% $45,000 $5,000  
12C013 – Traffic safety  29 150,000 10% $135,000 $15,000  
12C014 – Pre-engineering 29 250,000 10% $225,000 $25,000  
12C015 – Street Lighting 29 150,000 10% $135,000 $15,000  
12C020 – Parking Equip. installation 29 345,000 10% $310,500 $34,500  
12C021- Infrastructure design 29 250,000 10% $225,000 $25,000  
12C023 – Manhole, catch basin re-build 29 200,000 10% $180,000 $20,000  
12C024 – Laneway Disposal 29 100,000 10% $90,000 $10,000  
12C028 – Transportation Master Plan 29 250,000 10% $225,000 $25,000  
Office of CAO            
12D001 – Web development 439 50,000 10% $45,000 $5,000  
12D002 – GHG Inv. 439 50,000 10% $45,000 $5,000  
12E001 – Building revitalization 449 80,000 10% $72,000 $8,000  
12E002 – Core Area Signage 449 50,000 10% $45,000 $5,000  
12E003 – Zoning By-law update 449 102,000 10% $91,800 $10,200  
12E004 – Core Areas Improvement 449 356,000 10% $320,400 $35,600  
Corporate Services            
12F001 – Computer Equipment 511 695,000 10% $625,500 $69,500  
12F030 – Printshop Photocopier replacement 511 139,000 10% $125,100 $13,900  
Section & line/item Page 2012 budget proposed reduction % or $ revised budget $ reduction Commentary
Parkland Development            
12K003 – River Walkway repairs 625 50,000 10% $45,000 $5,000  
12K004 – Inclusion & Access 625 100,000 10% $90,000 $10,000  
12R003 – Computer Equipment 841 128,000 10% $115,200 $12,800  
12R004 – Web Site Development 841 100,000 10% $90,000 $10,000  
Capital levy savings         $427,000 To be returned to Corporate Expenditures
            line item 3867 in the operating budget. 
            See above operating budget listing.

49 Responses to 60 of 63 Motions for budget cuts by Coun. Ben Tucci Defeated

  1. malcolm March 7, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Time for Ben the banker to be mayor and Doug the teacher go back to school and learn about finance during hard times.

  2. Margaret Barr March 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Good one Scot! Now this is the kind of hard-facts that folks should be noting (and keeping in mind).

    Malcolm, Ben could use your expertise as a seasoned campaign manager. It’s no secret that if all goes according to plan, Ben will run for the mayor’s job next time out. If he does, I’ve already promised to help out all I can. Anybody else???

  3. les March 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Ben running for Mayor may be an option as long as Doug doesn’t.Otherwise, for some reason, this city votes for the same old without any further thoughts of the future, just have a look at the tenure of council. I have heard though that Doug is going for another term to ” finish ” up what has been started.

    Unfortunately the mess we are in is in large part due to years of overspending.
    Civic administration building and now the entertainment complex all add up to tens of millions of dollars the could and should have gone to the infrastructure and other backlogged issues that are now piled up and incomplete.
    What is missing from this massive list are the two new departments that were never there before, Legal and Communications.
    I would like to see our previous annual legal bills before we hired 3 people for that department while still sending out legal work to be done by the private sector.
    As for the communications department, I for one don’t know who that is and what they do and I feel that I am pretty well in touch with what goes on down there.
    Good job Ben, pulling together what is not immediately obvious to the outsiders who pay the bills.

  4. Scot Ferguson-Barber March 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Doug told me that he hasn’t decided yet, and Ben has told me that he doesn’t plan on running for Mayor. Remember that Ben has a career in banking, and he is well respected as Ward Council, both of which he’d have to give up.
    The question is who will Ben support?

  5. Margaret Barr March 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    The last time I spoke to Ben about it, he was running (for mayor). I will have to catch up with him and find out if he’s changed his mind. As for Doug not having decided yet, that’s a pat answer for any politician who is NOT running the next time. No mayor wants to be seen as a ‘lame duck’.

  6. Hags March 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I can’t believe I’m with Malcolm (a known Trotskyite) on this one.

  7. Parvinder Singh March 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    If you had a chance to watch the meeting on Rogers, you would have seen it was an interesting meeting. Coun Cowsill and Coun Tucci supported every cut mentioned above. Coun Ermeta supported just over 80% of the motions. At the end he said that although he would have liked a lower increase, he respected what council had decided and ‘grudingly’ supported the budget. He did make statements asking for cuts to be made in future years. Coun Kiefer, Monteiro, and Wolf supported a couple of motions mentioned above.

  8. Parvinder Singh March 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Coun Reid, Price, and Mayor Craig opposed all the cuts

  9. brenda veith March 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm


    For those of you who thought he was a puppet – think again. Ermeta even requested a recorded vote for every cut that was discussed. Me thinks Ermeta is practicing the fine art of stiring things up while being a team player

  10. Mike Cahill March 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    My conversation with Ben, (as he was hammering a Tucci sign on my lawn during the last election) was simply that if he ran for mayor, my ward would be open. I mention this as the ideal situation for me as i plan to run in 2014.
    This will, obviously, be noted as the greatest practical joke in Cambridge history.
    That being said, let’s get some perspective. The previous administration made a fetish out of no tax increases based on essentially doing absolutely nothing.
    This city has come a long way, increased population, lost a large part of its manufacturing base, been screwed over by the province and the region and still managed a 3plus percent tax increase!
    That is a small increase! Very small. Look at Kitchener and Waterloo or others.
    Look at the rate of inflation!!
    In reality, (a place many of our online chums don’t recognise) we have been well served by our councillors this year.
    Just sayin’

  11. ben tucci March 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Folks, while I am humbled by the comments and appreciate the support, I do not want my efforts “coloured” by what some might see as an attempt to undermine the Mayor for my personal advantage. So for now let’s set aside my declared desire to be Mayor. That is not what this is about. It is about a Mayor and some Councillors that appear to be disconnected from the real world. Need I remind anyone that the rate of inflation is well below the 3.35% tax increase that was passed? We are supposed to be the stewards of our community. We are the Board of Directors voted in “by the people” who are then charged with the responsibility of managing the Corporation “for the people”.

    Mike, thanks for the support during past elections but with all due respect I don’t think it is acceptable for any community to bring in the kind of budget increase we did at a time that people are still recovering from a debilitating recession and dealing with rising fuel, food and other cost of living increases. It is clear that the Mayor subscribes to the argument that you are making, that we are hard done by the arbitration system, by the Federal Government and by the Provincial Government. While this may all be true, it is an argument used by municipal politicians to avoid the harder decisions and to act as they see fit with impunity. It is simply an excuse for a lack of leadership. I have always believed we have to play with the hand we are dealt and if required, to do more with less. That is what every business and private citizen have to do every day. As I said in the TV interview after the meeting, we are the ones that are supposed to set the example. Yet in Cambridge, it is the taxpayer setting the example that we failed to follow. It was not a good night for this Council.

    Best regards to all, BEN

  12. Facetious Lee March 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    OK, so Ben is running for Mayor – at some point – when he is reasonably sure he has a darn good chance of winning.
    Let’ face it. Ben would be lost if he had to sit out of politics for 4 years. It’s his life.
    Ben for Mayor? You know, I have a growing admiration for the guy. At the same time, I’m nervous about Ben wielding the big gavel.
    On the proposed budget cuts, Benny and Ricky got it right. But, Ben can be a spend-thrift as well. Case in point, Drayton.
    It takes a lot of little cuts to make up the 6 Mil spent by Council on Drayton.
    So, why oh why is Benny all of a sudden being very thrifty?
    Maybe things got a little too close for comfort in the last election. Ben didn’t exactly win by a landslide if I recall. Oh it wasn’t a nail-biter – but a little closer than perhaps Ben would have liked to see it.
    I would much sooner that Maggie run for Mayor. I’ve said that before. Or, was it the other guy – not sure – one of us said it. (oh what a tangled web we weave…..) Anyhow, now we have Maggie supporting Ben. Nuts!
    Mr. Craig is cheering. He’s jumping up and down. Or at least if he wants another term, he’s ecstatic!
    To see why, let us imagine the candidates on the slate. Doug, Ben, Andy and perhaps Linda. And, whats Pam thinking? Ya never know.
    Of course there are many non-thinkers out there who will always for for the current Mayor. And for those who are less than enchanted with the Mayor, they will split the vote between all the rest.
    Ben, you need to take the big step. Tell us how badly you want to sit in the big chair. With the big chain around your neck and the big gavel. Declare that is what you want. Then tell us what you want to do when you are in power.
    Actually, I’d like to hear what you won’t do.
    I would like to hear that you plan on being a no-frills Mayor. No gold buildings. No money for schools or whatever. Lotsa money for pipes and sewers. The best looking underground we can’t see. Thatsa whata I wanta to hear.
    Yes Ben, I might possibly be a supporter. But, Mayor Mags sounds really, really good to me as well.

  13. Scot Ferguson-Barber March 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Facetious, are you still harping about Drayton? It has already led to a lot of the recent revitalization of the Galt Core, and it’s not even built yet. I spend every day down here, so you can’t tell me otherwise.

  14. malcolm March 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Well Mr Hags actually I am a 1950-60’s neoconservative a proud graduate of the M.Barr Rehab Centre recently. If Margaret wanted another round in politics I would be onboard faster than Jack Robinson.

  15. Facetioue Lee March 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

    You have one heck of an imagination Scot.
    Tell me, oh please tell me, about all this revitalization that has happened, or is happening just because Drayton is coming.
    The brownfields are still there.
    Why don’t you come out to Sandra’s fundraiser this evening so I can personally give your head the shake it so badly needs.
    I may even toss a few rice kernes your way. I like supporting starving artists.

  16. Carl Gazzola March 8, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Brenda – At first I wondered how Coun Ermeta voted against Mayor Craig over 80% of the time if he voted against him on something like 30 motions – then I remembered back to the meeting and saw how they voted on each section NOT each line – so they voted on 20100 Mayor / Council in one motion, 21100 Administration C.A.O. in another motion, etc

  17. malcolm March 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    The Mayor and his council built City Hall,
    they thought was a green boat call,
    They fed us some honey, while spending our money,
    To see if the Green would float with all.

    The Mayor looked up where his bong tree now grows,
    and he sang to a small Liberal crowd,
    Let’s tax N spend as the outlook is sunny,
    make good use of their money seniors,
    and build a theatre to make us so proud.

    Ben said to the Mayor, ‘I’m not after your chair!
    But many other’s like the tune that you sing!
    With the cupboard so bare complaints everywhere,
    Even Margaret may jump in the ring.

    Let the motion be carried! Too long you have tarried:
    Said a voice from out of the green,
    Scott Ferguson- Barber, a theatre martyr,
    and strong supporter of green.

    Four years to go, oh what a show
    With green trains on the Go, the money would flow
    from the hands of those oh so blind.
    And there in the woods the voters all stood,
    With gonads now in a bind.

  18. Margaret Barr March 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Malcolm and Facetious…Thank you. I’m still thinking…But Ben has my support over any other potenial candidates that have made gestures of seeking the mayoral seat (at this time).

  19. Hags March 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Malcolm you must be the oldest Neo-con on record;I like it!
    Scot, downtown Galt was a lot more robust when I was the mill manager at Tiger Warnock’s salt mine….and I quit in ’02.
    Mike, so quick to laud a frugal council? My wife and I have lost a third of our wealth since ’08 and are still not back to ‘ground zero’. In the meanwhile gas and food increases take a growing chunk of our income. In our case we are slowly falling behind the ‘reasonable’ demands of Dougie, Kenny, Dufus Dalton and Stevie…did I miss anyone?
    So, give it to me straight folks…you have all had great increases in salary and your investments are skyrocketing….making the demands for more-more-more from our multiple layers of government a painless proposition. Right?

  20. Facetious Lee March 8, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Margaret, I don’t think the next election will be the right time for Ben. He needs just a few more years of being a banker.
    When Ben looks at his chances of winning the Mayor’s chair next time, he is simply not going to gamble. He ain’t gonna want to lose his part-time job.
    Now, as for Andy, he’s hungry for a political job. I’m thinking he will run. He might possibly bow out if you let it be know you are running.
    “Team Maggie” is going to need plenty of time to show you are the only real alternative to Doug Craig (along with the ever-growing number under his control).
    Please, Maggie, please. I’m sick and tired of the way this city is run. I have a lot of confidence in you to run this city in a business-like fashion.
    Hey Citizen readers. Are there any more than me out there who want Margaret for Mayor?

  21. Jack Connell March 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Its too bad that all politcions of all stripes, from municipal,regional,provincial and federal politicions must come to reallize the fact that there is only one tax payer and thats the ordinary every day person.
    The sooner politicions realize this the better of the whole country will be.

  22. Jan Liggett March 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I am surprised that no one is mentioning the presentation delegate Uwe Kretschemann gave at council that evening. Forget the small cuts to the budget (death by a thousand cuts, err 63 cuts). Uwe had some pretty clear and tough statistics to drive home. He does every year at budget time, but NO ONE on council ever listens. He started off with the following statement:

    “The fundamental issues you face with the budget is your insistence to maintain the

    policies which contribute to the tax increases you need, not only to maintain the

    programs you have, but to effectively and efficiently deal with the $130M shortage in the

    capital expenditures required to repair our failing infrastructure.”

    He then continued by laying out the $25M expenditures of THIS SAME council (except for the 3 newbies) from the past ten years. We have gotten used to these bills and think nothing of them even when they are not a municipal responsibility, but an upper tier government’s. I guess we either don’t mind or don’t realize we’re paying for the same bill twice. While I can appreciate the reasons for the expenditures, I think we have to truly take stock of how we got to where we are today; in debt and no end in sight. Otherwise we stand to repeat these mistakes over and over and over again.
    He went on to speak of the spending policies totaling $5M over those same 10 years. Next came the kicker,

    “However, the most fundamental threat to the program budget is the salary and benefits budget. The total net expenditures, after senior government subsidies and user fees are subtracted; in 2002 was about $ 40M. In 2012 that budget has risen to about $ 70M. The total wages and benefits amount to $ 54M in 2012 or about 77% of the net budget. To illustrate the point quickly, the fire suppression salaries and benefits went from $10M in 2002 to $15M in 2012. The fire services administration went from $ 496.000 to
    $ 854.000. The corporate services went from $ 1.3M to $ 2.6M including an increase of 5 FT employees. The economic development dept went from $ 361.000 to $ 512.000. The benefit budgets in human resources increased 5.6% in 2012. The technology services benefit pkge increased 7.8% in 2011 and 6.4% in 2012. The clerk’s office benefit pkge increased 5.9% in 2011 and 7.1% in 2012. The realty and corporate services wages increased 4.1 % in 2011 and 3.5% in 2012, while the benefit pkge increased 9.9% in 2011 and 8.6% in 2012. The library administration salary and benefit budget increased from
    $ 317.000 in 2002 to $ 482.000 in 2012, an almost 50 % increase. In addition, in 2011 they received a 2.5% wage increase and a 7.7% benefit pkge increase. For 2012 the budgeted wage increase is 3.2% and a benefit increase of 7.5%. The library public service salaries and benefits were $ 1.4M in 2002 and $ 2.3M in 2012, including an increase of about 3 FT employees.

    In ending he said, “No longer can you blame the senior levels of government

    for your policies (as the mayor recently did in his column in the Times) which

    will bring your house of cards budget tumbling down. You must face the fact

    that the province is broke and the feds are not going to give you any more tax room!

    Your policies must change. …period.

    Some would like to say that they lead by example or should, that they are stewards of our money (see above posts) but the recession started 4 years ago. What happened in the previous 3 year’s budgets? What happened to stewardship in those years and previously while our infrastructure was deteriorating? I too lost 35% of my investments that were my retirement, while at the same time my taxes keep climbing. I see foreclosure signs in the windows of homes all over this city. I hear daily of businesses closing down.
    I will be running again in ward 4 whether Ben runs or not. You are right Allan, it was a close race, 356 votes to be exact. Status quo is not good enough for me

  23. Facetious Lee March 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Jan, now there is what I like to see. A declared candidate!
    Sorry I can’t vote for you Jan. Unless, of course, you move me into a nice big house somewhere in your ward. Just a thought. My one vote might make a difference.

    So, now let me see.
    We have Jan running in Ward 4.
    Maggie running for Mayor.
    Facetious Lee might run for Regional Council.
    Where, oh where, shall we put Ben? Oh yes, he can run for Regional Council
    as well. We have 2 too experienced persons to replace. And, just to give
    the taxpayers some choice, Atinuke will maybe run for Regional Council as
    Who shall run against that Pricey guy? Maybe Mr. Hagey?
    Oh, if I could only run the world – starting with Cambridge.

  24. Hags March 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Jan and Uwe are right on the 77% salary/admin number. I looked at the budget for the county Board of Educ’n and saw a similar number.
    If you want to reign in that number however, you have to take on powerful unions. Sorry but Doug’s a union man.
    Also, wished Uwe would publish more; he is a wealth of useful info and rather uncommon, common sense.
    Oh, and electing councillors who can say NO, for me, is a must.
    Last, sure would be nice to see ANY government recognize what they have put us thru re…loss of investment wealth, god-awful gas prices, the HST…and the continuing upward creep of taxes and service fees from every level of government.
    PS. Flaherty will cut back as Dalton was forced to…meaning Doug and Regional council are imbecilic is coming up with ANY tax increase.

  25. Another Boomer March 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Just a thought.
    In order to evaluate increases cited in the lengthy post above
    (referring to the presentation at Council), we also need to
    consider the increase in Assessments (the tax base) as some
    component of increasing budgets would be due to
    population growth.

    That said, there should also be some efficiencies of scale

  26. ben tucci March 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Let me repeat, my efforts to cut the budget (63 lines items to be exact) was not in any way meant to undermine the Mayor or members of Council and certainly not meant to prop up my lot in life. I didn’t think that savings of $1.2 Million would be considered to be small and of no consequence like one posting above suggests. These were reductions that could have been adopted immediately with more significant changes and expense reduction to come over time. Whether I decide to keep my ward seat, run regionally or run for the mayor’s seat that is a decision for another day. God and family willing that is. By the way, I haven’t changed. I’m the same guy that refuses to be part of the old boys/girls club. Not perfect but sincere and dedicated to making this City a better place. I have no problem with having to still defend some of the larger investment decisions I’ve supported in the past including Drayton, City Hall and others. I believe most nay sayers on the City Hall issue have come to appreciate the building though some will never admit it. In terms of Drayton, please let’s give it some time folks. It too will prove itself to be a wise investment that pays for itself over time and all the while we retain ownership of the ever appreciating real estate. As for the past 3 budgets, perhaps one chooses to ignore the facts for there own self promotion. The facts are that I have consistently advocated for reductions at budget time. The difference this time is that I chose to do it in a far more public way not relying on the print media to try and get the story straight. The Citizen has provided the forum for that additional transparency.

    Best regards to all, BEN

  27. Facetious Lee March 9, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Ben, the Drayton property could end up being worth 100 Trillion dollars in terms of Real Estate value.
    Would that lower my tax bill?
    Might you some day sell the theatre or the land and use the proceeds to lower taxes. If that were the case, yes, you might argue it was a “wise investment”.
    Anyhow, I’m looking forward to Drayton coming. I would have contributed if it hadn’t been built with public money.
    All I’m saying is there are young families in this community who are forced to pay for Drayton (and Dougies upcoming whims) through their taxes and cannot afford it.
    Of course, if they can’t afford it, they shouldn’t be purchasing a house, correct?

  28. Facetious Lee March 9, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Ben, let me say if it’s just you and Dougie on the slate for Mayor, you are the man.
    1.2 million IS significant savings.

  29. ben tucci March 9, 2012 at 6:27 am

    From a pure numbers game you’re right the appreciation of the real estate value does not accrue to the taxpayer unless you sell the real estate and it goes back into our coffers and then used to lower/eliminate taxes. Point well taken and I guess I should be careful to point that out when I say it is a wise investment. It comes down to the perspective one uses. All I know is it is an investment in our community and we should not only be looking at what it cost but what it is worth and expected to bring in to our community as well.
    Thanks for reminding me of the other perspective on the numbers.
    Have a good day. regards, BEN

  30. les March 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Ben, your efforts are always appreciated as a member of council, I just wish the list was brought up years ago as most if not all of those issues exit.
    As for the Drayton investment and the city hall.
    The city hall issue was studied and condemned by a public committee you folks put together. They came to the conclusion the city is better off renting. You can correct me if I’m wrong as it was a long time ago and I don’t have the study.
    The money taken from Hydro income should have been put to the infrastructure as found money solving immediate problems which are now over the hundred million mark in costs. Had they been addressed then, the figure would be far smaller.
    Drayton is a private company. One of my many questions to council was what are you building for the other private companies in this city who wish to grow, hire people and thus pay TAXES which this company does not. The answer is simple. Entertainment, arts etc. is always a lose lose when it comes to finances, facilities and so on. I have played now for 40 years. Earnings have only diminished not increased. People simply don’t appreciate the arts nor are willing to pay for it. I always advocate for help to the arts whenever possible. However to build a 14 million dollar building with “0” ROI ? Rent it free to ONE company for 50 years ? to company who can’t make ends meet without public and private donations to make ends meet? No taxes paid of any kind coming back to the tax payer who funded it.
    You know where I stand on this one. What’s worse is the hide the piggy method council used to blow it through. NO transparency at all. How much is are we in Cambridge in for ? 6, no 8 no 10 million ?
    Bottom line in the budget though is the 77 % factor for wages.
    What is the staff salary figure for the CIBC ? Would it ever be allowed to get to the 77% mark ?
    Public sector wages and benefits are way out of scale and getting worse.
    We make hay with Greece. Have a look in the mirror as we are soon no better.
    Salaries and job justification is the first place to look in the budget as the greatest expense then go to the other nickels and dimes by comparison.
    Here are two more.
    What is the difference in costs of when we contracted out legal and now that we have our own department?
    What is a communications department ? There are two huge figures by themselves that didn’t exist before.

  31. JAN Liggett March 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm


    You call it self promotion? Boy, I didn’t know that when I ran against you that I lost my taxpayer’s right to voice my opinion on yours or any member of council’s actions or votes. I state it again. To say now that people are suffering is too late for many. What happened in the previous 3 year’s budgets? What happened to stewardship in those years and previously while our infrastructure was deteriorating? What happened when taxpayers paid over $600,000 for a private building and then sold it for what $140-150,00 ?
    Uwe was right, it is the pervasiveness of the policies that are the main culprit. That was why I implied that 63 cuts in the GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS is nothing. In the smaller picture it is substantial, but the budget as a whole is not a small picture.

  32. Thomas Vann March 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Jan. You can count me in for helping you in your ward. lf machines are going to be used and polls cut again from 238 down to 50 there will be no need to run for the same result would probably happen. Yes, l like your train of thought Jan and yes l will also assist anyone that runs against many present councillors and that includes the Mayor. The old boys club know very well what happened in the botched 2010 election. With luck the Province will monitor the 2014 vote but don’t count on it. We do know who will jump to the Region Post though. My money says Doug out, Ben Mayor, Nic run, Frank run, Donna out, Pam run for NDP Fed Job, Gary out, Rick out, Karl region, Jane out, Millar out. l still feel Ben did attempt the right chain of thought in the Budget mostly. He was well aware l’m sure most would be tossed but….Then again l offered to save the City a great deal of money to assist with correcting many of the election screw ups we found for free but heck they don’t want someone to fix anything or to not have control strings over someone doing it now could we. Nope. Hire a $$$ person from out of town for this. Oh well, it’s only money. Good to here your back in Jan.

  33. malcolm March 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Well I will go with Ben in any election, he has $$$ knowledge, is honest, straight forward, not afraid to put in his five cents worth on any issue and take criticism. I wouldn’t put my faith in Uwe or environmentalists.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

  34. Facetious Lee March 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Malcolm, no faith in Uwe? Open your eyes!

  35. les March 10, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Telling the truth is revolutionary. Telling it when the time is opportune is better. This is afterall politics. Unfortunately Malcolm, if it wasnt’ for the environmentalists, you and I may well be dead by now. You have to admit that, it’s just a matter of fact.
    Uwe is dead on and it’s only the tip of the huge government iceberg.
    As stated lately in the media by municipal officials, local municipalities only receive 8 % of tax monies with which to work, a fact I didn’t know.

    So then why are spending 12% ?
    Simple beause they can. It’s only a 3.5 % tax increase ! This time !
    If it’s all about the $$$$$ Malcolm where has Ben’s 63 point plan been for all these years. I listen but have not heard about it.
    Oh that’s right, he’s running for Mayor.
    It’s not a knock against Ben as a person this is politics, but them you know that better than I.
    It clearly looks as though these points are a matter of timing and opportunity. Just the way I see it.
    The points I have made/asked above would/could save far more in one foul swoop and I dont’ have any reason to pitch them.

  36. JAN Liggett March 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm


    “I wouldn’t put my faith in Uwe or environmentalists”

    Is that me you are writing of? If so, are you trying to pigeon hole me as an environmentalist ONLY? If you know about my concern for the environment (concerns that many have), then you also must know about the other areas that I am and have been involved with? You must also know that I own 2 businesses in town, so I think that shows I know about budgeting. Just wondering. If I misunderstood, I apologize in advance.

  37. Hags March 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Funny but many who are decrying a 3.4% increase from Dougie and council, had no problem in voting McGuinty/McGary in our last election.
    Dalton’s rash and undisciplined management of our provincial economy makes our local leaders look like frugal and prudent administrators by contrast.

  38. Thomas Vann March 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    True Hags, but wouldn’t it be nice to find a homeowner type of leadership somewhere? Anywhere? Steve? Dalton? Doug? Stop spending what we don’t have. Wait! We have room still on our Visa!

  39. Hags March 11, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Tommy boy,you are correct but we need to be consistent in our logic…and I struggle with it all the time. Anyway, it makes little sense to me that those who championed McGuinty would so eagerly skewer local council for making a much smaller mess.
    We need politicians with the courage to say no, that’s all. I don’t see any out there at present.
    Now to really annoy people…I would welcome a Harris type to do the necessary dirty work that guys like Steve, Dalton and Doug are unwilling to do.
    To me, unbalanced gov’t finances are like a ‘Fram oil filter’…you pay now or you pay later…just ask Dalton.

  40. Facetious Lee March 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Hags ole buddy, you just watch what you’re saying about some of my Liberal friends.
    Go nuts on my NDP friends – but not my Liberal friends.

  41. Thomas Vann March 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I have read many of your media letter and find a happy go lucky yet common sense person hidden under that skin of yours Hags. Some articles l am locked in judgement on, then others are pure brilliant works of humor. lt is nice to hear someone just over 40>>> speak with such authority. Please continue. Zero budgets should be the goal unless a war or disaster takes place. Seems the disasters are in government with little stones to halt the runaway train.

  42. JAN Liggett March 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Actually, there were many Liberals not happy with McGuinty’s policies and weren’t afraid to say so. If members don’t speak up and just toe the party line for the sake of being a Liberal, Conservative,NDP or Green, status quo will always be. I don’t have the time of day for that.

  43. Facetious Lee March 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Speaking of my fine Liberal friends, wonder where Mess’rs Kirby and Friesen are of late?
    They seem to have time for the Times at times.
    S’pose they have given up on converting Hags.

  44. Hags March 12, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Lee, you are right. Bill is hanging out at the Torstar Times…as merely a’concerned citizen’…who trashes Leone every chance he gets. Bill, much like John Friesen, is still fighting the last election…like get over it, you lost!
    Anyway, it’s a shame that the Times has never ‘outed’ Kirby and John Friesen for that matter. I tempted to ‘unmask’ them but then thought…naw,they drank the Kool-Ade…and are blind to the damage Dalton has done.
    Tom, thanks for the kind words. I wrote an article once about the great contributions of all parties to Canada. It doesn’t much matter the party stripe for me but results do matter. If Dalton made a mess and hurt us all…I’ll go at him…if Chretien did a good job on the economy (and he did), I’ll thank him. Again, hard to be consistent though when personal preference clouds our usually clear vision.
    Funny but my dad oscillated between NDP and Conservative….talk about why I’m screwed up!

  45. les March 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I and many others agree on the ” no party stripe ” point of view.
    Getting elected and doing what is required without destroying everything in your path is what must be done but few do so. I have always stated that I vote for the person first, the party second.
    Everytime someone mentions Harris my skin crumbles. I voted for him the first time simply for the reasons you state. It was obvious the second round he was a complete loser and was on the road to destroy the province and succeed. When you pit people against each other to solve what are perceived to be problems you will surely lose. I still love the downloading and forced amalgamation tricks all claiming to have saved money. Look at the mess we are in now.

  46. Lary Turner March 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    “If you want to reign in that number however, you have to take on powerful unions. Sorry but Doug’s a union man.”
    Hags …. I was not aware of this! Could you enlighten me as to which powerful union does our Mayor belongs.

  47. Facetioue Lee March 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the Union,
    you don’t get me, I’m part of the Union,
    you don’t get me, I’m part of the Union –

    Dougie and the Strawbs

  48. Lary Turner March 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Facetious Lee ….. I only asked Hags the question as I’ve been told “Dougie” is a Conservative …. and I haven’t met any Cons who are big supporters of “powerful unions” ….. if his politics are as I’ve been told; this must be a first.

  49. Hags March 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Well.. he made a point of standing(literally)with the teachers on the ‘day of protest’…so Lary, ol buddy…he’s a union man. And me, I like unions…just not public sector unions.
    As Jan has stated previously, in order to get a handle on budgets, you need to get a handle on the cost of salaries(unionized)and admin….Doug’s not the guy.
    Les, re ‘pitting group against group’…eg, the average Joe was not against teachers but was against teachers unions; there is a difference.
    Look, people will hate Harris, Palin, Obama, Harper, Trudeau for ever….but I guess I’m asking to look at them with a bit more objectivity. Even Dalton who I have railed against, raised the min wage…and that’s the most intelligent thing he’s done…and I will give him credit for that.
    Last, conditions Harris faced are here again…and the pain will go down the line from the Feds, to the local level.
    I hope I can leave this thread now cause there’s not much fun in it.

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