Councillor Budget on Cable TV on Monday night clarified after the Council meeting that Council did not pass an "election budget." I thought perhaps Council was acting "rationally" by acting as politicians do at election time. You know, show voters how well they are doing by keeping tax rates low so they can be re-elected.
But his denial made me very concerned. Re-read again my BLOG Thursday, April 13, 2006 "Wiggle Room" and the comments there:
- "Department overspending a chronic problem,"
- "departments overspent their budgets last year by $7 million,"
- "Coming in with deficits every year is not OK,"
- "That model is not sustainable in the long run" and
- "colleagues on council "need to be realistic" when the budget is set."
Do you see my concern---it is not an election year budget after all. It's much worse.
Here is a proposed memo I thought about sending to the Audit Committee just to get the ball rolling. Let me know what you think:
RE: Total Breakdown of City Accounting System
It seems to be impossible to collect some very simple data---for example, how much money has the City spent, directly and indirectly, on outside fees to lawyers and consultants on the border file. The Mayor suggested the amount was about $1.7-1.75 million at year-end (although that was also the number released in the previous August). At the end of February, Councillor Halberstadt thought the figure was $2 million while Councillro Postma upped the ante saying it was $2.2 million. What is the true number?
Just so you know, the Star reported:
- "The city will disclose what it has spent on Toronto lawyer David Estrin and his consultants to fight its border battles, city solicitor George Wilkki said" on March 7 ..."There is no difficulty in giving a total"
- "Onorio Colucci, acting city treasurer, said billings related to Estrin and his associates are spread through the mayor's office and the city's legal department, requiring some effort to assemble. "We have asked staff to put that together and will have that shortly"
- Mayor Eddie Francis said he has no problem releasing amounts related to Estrin's expenses. ...We have consistently revealed those numbers. People should know what we are spending on the border file.
Obviously the Mayor and Council want people to know what the amounts are and Administration is eager to gather that information.
However, over a month has passed and that information is still not available. Why not? Clearly, there is no desire at City hall to hide the true story from the taxpayers from what was said so it must be due to the financial systems failing.
I know that there was a mess at Enwin (some of you are involved with Enwin aren't you and received all of that extra pay because of the crisis there) and a fiasco at the Library requiring an audit. Now here is another potential disaster that you should look into.
Oh by the way, if you check my Blog...."January 26, 2006 "Audit Of Windsor Tunnel Commission Needed" there may be another problem at the Windsor Tunnel Commission you might want to check out too if you have a spare moment or two.