Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Council Not Foolish For Searching For a Better Way

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir, 

I was also present at the council meeting on October 26 and heard the same arguments concerning community grants as you did. I read your editorial published on Friday October 30 and as always was impressed with your description of the facts presented. However I totally disagree with your editorial point of view.

Firstly, there was nothing seriously wrong with the old policy. The application forms were easy to obtain, the criteria and conditions were clearly laid out and the decisions were made by councillors who were accountable and responsible for their decisions  to the taxpayers of MOM.

Secondly, the at times farcical discussions  between councillors and staff concerning who received grants  and how much was a result of total ignorance. This was a new council, probably presented with a 500 page brief at 4.30pm on a Friday afternoon and expected to be knowledgeable on all topics by the following  Monday. Surely, it was and still is the responsibility of our senior staff to educate and inform this new council well in advance of this, or any other procedures coming before them. Staff failed to do their job.

Thirdly, should we pay a 5%  commission to an outside company to perform duties involved in managing this project? Are we not in fact adding extra employees (even if it is only part time @ $2500) to MOM’s ever increasing payroll?  $2500 may be an insignificant amount to some but it is taxpayers dollars and is  25% of the annual amount required to keep Woodford Hall in existence.

If our staff did not educate our new council on the criteria governing grants; if our staff cannot manage this  refreshed Community Grant program policy; if we wish to reduce spending and not increase staffing levels; we should scrap the whole program and return the $50,000 saved to taxpayers by lowering taxes because it is just one more service that we cannot afford. OR we can choose an alternate method  by selecting and using  an advisory committee with residents from all areas of MOM to deal with grant applications and then make recommendations to council. Unlike your editorial, I do not think that the real reason four of the seven made a decision based on cost or on ego, I think  they based it upon responsibility, accountability and genuine concern for this Municipality. They are searching for ‘a better way’ of doing things  and that’s the bottom line. 

David Long, Meaford

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