December 3, 2023
Recently, I attended one of the two open houses on the 2024-2026 multiyear budget, hosted by the budget standing committee and city staff.
Sadly, there were more politicians in attendance than common folk. Which wasn’t entirely unexpected in a city where three out of four eligible voters don’t bother casting a ballot. Among the politicians present were Port Dalhousie councilor Carlos Garcia, Grantham councilor Bill “How dare you question city staff” Phillips, Mat
Siscoe Sendzcoe, the man who occupies the office of mayor, and regional councilor Sal Sorrento. For those wondering, no, Sal didn’t stop to talk to me. He was, however, sporting a new all-gray look complete with a wavy hairdo. Maybe he thinks it will make him look more distinguished. Like one of the Three Wise Paisanos. But he still looks like Sal Sorrento. See lipstick, pig.
On hand for the rabble was enough paper to dam the mighty Mississippi. Around 200 pages of numbers and fluff, with much too much of the latter.
What’s happening indeed?
Printed in full Technicolor, illustrated with pictures and done up with fancy presentation software, I shudder to think of the number of person-hours that went into preparing all of this. Not to mention the massive printing costs. All while they whine about budget challenges. Yes, the rabble have the right to know where their money is being spent. As one of the councilors noted, new provincial legislation requires them to seek public input. But this had more of a feel of a sales pitch than a budget presentation.
Take, for example, this graphic, illustrated with a nice little pig, telling us how grateful we should be that our tap water costs significantly less than if we were to buy water in 500 ml bottles from a store. Funny, I never thought that anyone would actually buy “a cases” of water bottles to use for bathing the kids. But maybe I’m just out of touch with the current trends these days. It wouldn’t be the first time.
This was followed by color photos of many of the city staff along with shots at their desks or inside the office. Telling us what they do and patting themselves on the back.
Clearly, staff were looking for a “compliment.” On our dime.
Garcia and Phillips then had the nerve to talk about how they’re working so hard to find savings. Each selling himself as the second coming of Ebenezer Scrooge. Looking out for the taxpayer every step of the way. We socked it to you good and hard this year, but next year, we’re tightening our belts and we’ll save you a ton. Trust us.
You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t.