Sunday, May 27, 2018

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Opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the letter authors and not of The Meaford Independent.

Editor,

Meaford has become unaffordable to the majority of its taxpayers.

Yearly increasing taxes caused by the present management of the community are failing to provide a solution.

It is a sad situation when a town’s municipal staff is the biggest employer in the community.

Taxpayers and elected council must realize they are operating a multi-million-dollar corporation and have to represent the majority of taxpayers.

Non-municipal corporations are run by a board of directors hiring management to operate the corporation in the most efficient, cost effective and profitable manner.

Shareholders fire directors and staff if they are not satisfied that they are working as directed or are not competent.

Unfortunately, taxpayers' only opportunity is to vote council out in an election year.

The new council elected this year will continue to operate in the old fixed ways and taxpayers will complain but we will still have our annual increase in taxes.

I feel there is no way to fix the problem using existing mindset and structure of the existing council process.

Four traditional council members can out vote three sound thinking council members.

Re-electing present council members or adding a few new faces will change nothing.

We cannot solve the problem by non-effective grumbling and complaining about town operations and high taxes.

Nothing will change after the next election unless we direct that changes must be made.

The following plan is our only hope to fix our town.

The only way to attain an affordable Meaford budget is to eliminate every item that is not mandatory.

Taxpayers must elect council members that will swear in writing that they will uphold that principle.

There would have to be strict controls requiring tendering for all items over $10,000.

This new municipal structure would eliminate many employees, by layoffs, retirement or attrition.

This will also reduce our lifetime pension liabilities.

The new structure would mandate that Meaford contract out all services to private suppliers with preference to businesses that live in the municipality.

All staff must be or become Meaford residents.

The only mandatory municipal staff is clerk and treasurer.

Every other position could be contracted.

Municipalities are not required to have an accessible library as council has told us.

Municipalities are only required to provide library services, which could be a joint agreement with a neighbouring municipality.

Municipalities are not required to have a fire department. They must have fire services available and that could be done through an agreement with nearby municipalities.

Municipalities are not required to operate road services, building departments, tax departments or any other staff.

Meaford is not required to own, operate and maintain a huge fleet of vehicles and construction equipment.

This can all be contracted.

Meaford is not required to provide parks and recreation facilities or staff.

That is a problem; a lot of taxpayers enjoy these facilities and activities.

This new method seems very harsh but I think we would maintain and improve Meaford’s non-mandatory requirements.

Meaford would solve voluntary funding needs by aggressive community fundraising, grant funding and initiating new non-profit foundations.

Residents could create separate foundations for large ticket items such as infrastructure, the arena, Meaford Hall, sports fields, pool, parks and a library if desired.

We have large numbers of competent, creative people that will volunteer some time to improve our beautiful community.

I visualize Meaford taxpayers would see their tax bills reduce by over 30% using the new municipal structure.

I, like most taxpayers would save a lot of money and could afford to be generous with donations for fundraising requests.

Other foundations are funded by donations, life insurance policies that name the foundation as beneficiary or bequests from wills that name the foundation.

There are many philanthropic foundations and lottery profits that could contribute.

I am sure a tech smart volunteer group could find crowd source funding ideas.

The new Meaford structure would be a model that would be replicated by other municipalities and hopefully many counties would also see the financial benefits and initiate changes.

I am tired of complaints with nothing changing and want to see this go forward.

Residents must organize a meeting or some expression of opinion to indicate if there is support for this type of change to help our town.

We must elect council members that will agree to this plan or we will keep seeing yearly tax increases.

We need some names that like this idea and are prepared to run for office.

I anticipate some existing council members will see the benefits of this new structure and offer their services.

If you are not happy with the existing municipal operations, please email your comments and ideas to:

meafordtaxpayeropinions@gmail.com

Or mail to

Gardner/Change

205786, Highway 26, West

RR 1,

Meaford, Ontario

N4L 1W5

Robert Gardner, Meaford


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