Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

Here are some ideas for you


Every year now the same drama is played out over and over again. Windsor should become Groundhog Day The Movie Capital of the world. There are the countless meetings of the Mayor and Council going line-by-line through the Administration budget, the pain and agony until victory is reached. All the while they are laughing at us.

Of course we have been deceived. As if high taxes are the norm, that success is a 0% tax increase (oh forget about levies and high Utility costs that give the City "tax" money through the back door) and tax cutting...heaven forbid.

We are being trained NOT to ask for our money back, to allow our politicans to use every penny we give them as if it is their God-given right to spend it on whatever mind's eye vision they can dream up next.

And there is the Messenger not only helping out but congratulating them for screwing us royally. The Windsor Star really has become a crummy newspaper as far as I am concerned.

Let me give you another small example from good old Mini-Gord. This guy is a gold-mine for Bloggers.

He writes:
  • "City gains from debt discipline

    On Feb. 19 the final $18.3 million payment comes due on Windsor's new arena and community playground, the WFCU Centre.

    And yes, Windsor is good for the cheque.

    Thanks to the "pay-as-you-go" financing regime adopted by city council in 2002 (at the urging of former treasurer Roman Martiuk -- thank you, wherever you are), Windsor taxpayers will own the $72.1-million recreation complex free and clear."

Unfortunately, he is a**-backwards on his view of that financial concept. Doesn't the Star have fact checkers who have access to their own story archives?

It is completely wrong but it provides the justification for us being ripped off. Just read the following and understand why taxes are so high:

  • "Windsor Star 11-30-2001

    City treasurer Roman Martiuk was reluctant to provide details on how the money will be spent because a comprehensive report is being prepared for budget deliberations, which begin next week.

    But he said the money is coming at an opportune time as the city attempts to lower its debt. City council has already adopted a "pay as you go" strategy introduced by Martiuk that relies less on lease financing and short-term borrowing...

    Council has approved Martiuk's debt management strategy, which includes phasing out short-term, five-year debt -- which used to be taken out for infrastructure projects like fixing roads.

    The policy limits debt to the financing of large one-time expenditures for long-life assets over $10 million -- such as a new arena."

DUH don't use pay-as-you-go for huge projects like an arena.

Oh joy, we saved money on interest but the City took it out of our pocket-books! Taxpayers in effect financed the arena as if we were the City's Bank and did NOT charge a penny of interest. We suffered.

Remember this BLOG [October 09, 2008, Bank Of Windsor Taxpayers Going Broke]:

  • "You will learn that City Hall's "pay as you go" philosophy is great for Administrators. That can keep borrowings down and interest rates lower as the City supposedly becomes financially stronger and fiscally responsible. The problem is that the cash comes right out of the pocket of taxpayers.

    We become the "banker" to the City except we are forced to "give" the politicians the money whether we want to or not. It is taken from us through increased taxes or through games playing like 86% increases in WUC charges and sewer levies. A debt reduction Levy is not really used for debt reduction but rather for "debt avoidance." That means, while we think that our money is being being taken to reduce the amount of our debt, it is not. It is being used on spending programs.

    In some cases, pay as you go makes sense, say for small item purchases. So if you bought a TV set, you really should have the cash rather than pay the outrageous interest rate that stores and credit card companies charge for credit purchases.

    But how many people would buy their house that way? Very few. Most people do not have the money to do so and would take out a mortgage. Even if a person had the money, it would be unlikely that it would all be paid out just for the home since who wants to be "house-poor."

Ok, you say, we suffered a bit. Now that the arena is paid off, we can get tax reductions since in future, we don't have the big payments to make.

Oh are you ever silly. We have just given Edgar a ton of money for him to spend, spend, spend ever year on canals, airport hubs, Zalev brownfield and other mind's eye visions. Think I am fooling, let Henderson tell you that:


    By 2009, when major projects like the Norwich Block fiasco, the city hall welfare tower mistake and the new Huron Lodge at St. Clair College have been paid off, the city will find itself with torrents of money flowing in and no major funding obligations. In 2009 it will have an additional $23.5 million available, in 2010 $36.4 million and in 2011 another $36.4 million."

Now you know why WUC rates keep going up. Replacing sewers is not sexy enough for Edgar so why use the Torrents for them.


It was suggested at least in the 2005 Report where it was said:

  • "The City is still compromised by the community perception that there are some preferred agencies in the know while others are left out, providers feel powerless that changes will be made regardless of their input...

    The City often struggles with communication relying on an "inner circle" of providers who are informed first."

I wonder if that perception is still out there a half a decade later. Are there private daycare centres that have the edge?

Hmmm if Angela Berry is loooking for an audit project, auditing daycare to see where the money went and to whom for the last 5 years might be fun. Better than the arena audit I would think.


So much for local content. Watch for the big US firms to come in thanks to the Conservatives

  • "The crux of the deal will see Canada agree to provide U.S. suppliers with access to a range of construction contracts across Canada's provinces and territories, as well as in a number of municipalities.

    In return, the United States has agreed to provide Canadian suppliers with access to state and local public works projects in a range of programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009...

    "(The United States) has won that access for American firms, and I look forward to signing the agreement soon," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement Friday. "For years, U.S. firms have sought market access to Canadian provincial procurement under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, which Canada resisted."

The only problem from our perspective. It is too late for us:

  • "Washington has already spent much of the nearly US$800 billion that Congress has set aside for stimulus spending. Van Loan said he recognized that, but added: "I am not going to cry over spilled milk in the past, but I am going to be very happy about the opportunities we are securing for the future, which is more jobs for Canadians..."

Canadian officials declined to put a value on this deal, or how much Canadian companies stand to gain."

No wonder!


About the Mayor's wildly successful trip to Coventry, England, here is how it was reported by the Coventry newspaper

  • "Coventry Telegraph
    Ties are key for business
    Feb 5 2010

    TIES between Coventry and a Canadian city have been strengthened – which could lead to increased business between the two, according to local leaders.

    Eddie Francis, the Mayor of Windsor, Ontario, along with business leaders from the city visited Coventry as part of a brief tour of the UK.

    The delegation from Coventry’s twin city visited the headquarters of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in Binley and a return trip has been arranged for June this year."

Wow, was that it? A nice stop with some friendly people to arrange an exchange? Use SKYPE next time. It is has video too and is free.