That expression should be Windsor's new motto after THINK BIG. And not only does it apply to Windsor but also to those who are dealing with the City of Windsor.
Of course, it is about as useless as Sam's phrase is.
When it comes to screwing taxpayers however, politicians will act quickly.
I find it quite reprehensible that the Ministry is doing anything right now with WeACT's Application in front of the Ontario Municipal Board outstanding. What if WeACT wins? The application if successful means that Windsor's actions in its request to the Ministry were improper and the Minister had no jurisdiction for setting up the audit in the first place. It means it all has to be done all over again.
Naturally, WeACT anticipated that action and has made another Application to the OMB. If successful, the effect would be to put on hold the Ministry audit until such time as the OMB has made its decision.
Never fear however, the System cannot permit mere citizens to triumph. The next challenge to WeACT will be that the OMB has no jurisdiction to hear this matter in the first place.
More to come.
- "October 24, 2007
To: Ontario Municipal Board
From: Chris Schnurr
RE: OMB Case No. OMB File No.:
As you know, this matter involves a determination whether the Motion passed by the City of Windsor was proper. It is my position that the Motion was passed improperly and is a nullity with the result that any action by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs carried out as a result of the Motion being passed is also improper and a nullity.
The Windsor Star today reported the following:
WUC audit to cost $156,610
Dave Battagello, The Windsor Star
Published: Monday, October 22, 2007
An auditor has been selected to investigate the financial dealings of the Windsor Utilities Commission.
The process is expected to be completed in three to four weeks, according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Council received a written update Monday following its request to have an audit conducted on WUC to help explain a 86-per-cent annual water rate hike and satisfy concerns expressed by many angry ratepayers.
The Toronto firm Grant Thornton LLP is expected to begin the audit as soon as an introductory meeting with city staff can be arranged, according to a ministry letter included in council's package at Monday's meeting.
Costs for the audit will be paid for by the city. The final price is estimated at $156,610.
Mayor Eddie Francis said how the audit will be paid for will be determined by council during next month's budget deliberations.
Council requested the audit on Aug. 13, approving a motion brought forward by Francis, although some residents and Coun. Alan Halberstadt, fearing the process will not go far enough, instead wanted the investigation conducted by Ontario's Auditor General.
WUC officials had said the water rate hike was needed to help repair the city's crumbling watermain infrastructure.
Terms of reference for the audit have also been released by the ministry. It will focus on financial analysis of WUC dating back to 2003. It will also determine how the water, wastewater and sewer rates were accounted for in both WUC's and the city's financial statements.
The audit may also include examination of any books, accounts, records, receipts, funds or financial transactions relevant in the opinion of the auditor.
Upon completion, a written report will be submitted to Ontario's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Coun. Alan Halberstadt, who has been outspoken in his concerns about WUC's financial dealings, said he is happy to see issues, such as dozens of residential water meters not being hooked up and WUC's watermain replacement levy possibly not being used properly, being investigated.
But said there are too many unanswered questions he feels will not be covered by the audit. He had hoped that the related utility, Enwin Utilities, would be included in the investigation.
"It appears Enwin might be in the clear on this, but we don't know," he said. "Administration wasn't able to answer my questions about that, so I'm going to call (the ministry in) London.
"I'm not content unless I find out if there is more substance with regards to the information." [emphasis added]
Given the time period of the OMB process, it is obvious that the audit will be completed before the OMB has had the opportunity to make its determination.
I wrote to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and made the Ministry aware of my application to the OMB. Notwithstanding the application, as the OMB can tell, the Ministry has moved forward.
Pursuant to its jurisdiction under sections 34-37 and 48 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act, I hereby request that the Board make an order requiring the Ministry to discontinue the audit until such time as the OMB has made its final decision. Failure to do so, makes my application meaningless since the audit will have been completed long before a final decision is made.
In the circumstances, I hereby request that this action be taken forthwith.
P.S. We have learned today from the Star that the auditors have have started on Tuesday to undertake the audit so that our request must be heard immediately or there is in fact is no point in even having the OMB involved.
I trust that this ReACTion supplies proof why WEACT can use your support. As I said yesterday, your donation may be paid into the WeACT Legal Fund by visiting any branch of the Royal Bank and making a deposit to Account #08152-1008275. Donations can be made anonymously too.
And if you want to help out too, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get you in touch with the people at WeACT. A couple of practising lawyers and some law students who would like to do some "pro bono" work would be a useful and welcome addition to the roster!