I can’t help it….every four years we have a municipal election and I see election signs plastered all over the city screaming PICK ME! …..PICK ME!. Then and the next thing I hear is the Lenard Cohen’s song “It’s Closing Time” running through my head.
As we get closer and closer to the day of deliberation, the promises, the smiles, the hand shaking and maybe even baby kissing and then we caste our votes and seem to end up with a crew that’s pretty much like the one we booted out during the last election……why?
Did you know that poll after poll taken, year after year places politicians anywhere from two to three spots from the bottom of the Most Trusted Professions list?
Why, are the all a bunch of lying SOB’s. No, they are folks that for the most part want to do the right thing, a good job. They hit the Council chamber full of piss and vinegar with the best of intentions however they enter the solidified, entrenched culture of bureaucratic structure where all to often the tail has been wagging the dog.
Some years ago while at a meeting in Fredericton a senior civil bureaucrat made a comment during our conversation . He said: “They (the politicians) will be here four years and after they are gone I’ll still be here”. That comment spoke volumes about who was in charge.
If Saint John taxpayer is ever going to receive fair value for taxes paid we will require that the dog (Common Council) starts waging the tail (City staff). Council after Council we’ve seen the citizens receive less and less for our tax dollar while City staff receive more and more. We have now reached the point where over 80% of our $151 million dollar annual operating budget goes towards City salaries, and benefits. Where and when will it end?
We need a Common Council with “the courage to make the difficult decisions” does that phrase sound vaguely familiar? Will this be the Council that finally draws line in the sand and says no more?
While checking on Moncton’s 2016 operating budget recently, (my lay approach to “municipal bench marking”), I came across this little tidbit of information.
Did you know that in 2015 Moncton made the Top Ten of Business Friendly Cities? A little more research revealed that Saint John rated second from the last as the Least Business Friendly City in the Maritime provinces? Can someone tell me what the hell is going on at Saint John City Hall? Are we truly open for business?
While we’re comparing Moncton and Saint John I would like to know why Moncton can provide Protective Services for $36 million or 29% of their operating budget while Saint John requires $52 million or 34% of our operating budget?. Both have a population of 70,000 give are take a few hundred people.
Why Saint John invests less than 3% or $4 million of our $151 million operating budget while Moncton invests 9.3% or $9.6 million of their $144 million dollar operating budget? Do you suppose investing more in recreation has anything to do with Moncton’s population significant population growth?
Why the Moncton Zoo receives nearly $1 million dollars annually while our Cherrybrook Zoo receives $50,000?
Why the Moncton SPCA receives close to $250,000 per year for animal control while our overworked Saint John ARL/SPCA receives one third of that amount to provide animal control to a much larger area? By the way did you know our good and close neighbors Quispamsis sends their cats and dogs to Moncton? …….so much for community co-operation.
I’ve only scratched the surface when it come to less than acceptable value for our tax dollars. Quite frankly I’m tired of seeing election signs with slogans that say “Saint John Knows So and So” or “Making Saint John Great” or “Leadership for Growth”and all those other open ended hollow motherhood slogans.
I’m going to vote for the candidate that says “I’m Going To Kick Ass” or “I Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick” or “Stop the Gravy Train” …..anyone that has grown a pair and has the courage to end decades of status quo or the same old same old.
I know my suggested election banners are not politically correct but that’s the guy or gal that I’m voting for. How about you?