Opinion: City Council’s most hated Cuts and Fee Increases of 2016

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2016 was a year filled with cuts and fee increases by Mayor Provenzano and this 2016 City Council.

Luckily, we Sault renters and homeowners will only have to PAY around 4.24% MORE to get those cuts and fee increases in 2017 ­čÖü

It was very hard for me to choose, but my top three most despised cuts and fee increases in 2016 by this Mayor and Council are:

1. The cutting of Summer Student employment (forever),

2. The loss of Recycling Bag curbside pickup in July, August and September (forever), and

3. The 10% fee increase to Bus fares and passes (forever).

Cutting summer student employment seems totally ridiculous to me. Every Sault Mayor and Councilor since the beginning of time has always said, “We have to bring our kids home!!!!” This City Council can’t even bring our summer students home?!? And cutting Recycling Bag pickup during the summer months is personal for me. I have a very small herb garden, and can only compost so much, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to take my recycling bags to the landfill at $10 a pop (plus gas and time). And even though I only take the bus a few times a year, it seems very cruel that our Mayor and Council would increase the price of transportation by 10% for people who are forced to use City Transit because, let’s face it, the vast majority of citizens who take the City Bus need to take it for reasons of affordability. And this 10% fee increase while reducing service hours is just plain cruel.

Anyhow, those are MY top three.

What are YOUR top two or three?

Please help me with this by emailing me at [email protected] OR by calling me, Mark Andrew Brown, at 705.942.6168, and I will make sure that each and every City Council member knows exactly what your most hated 2016 cuts / fee increases are.

It’s clear that our politicians don’t get how much we citizens are hurting.

If enough of us everyday citizens stand together we can encourage City Council to eliminate some of the most ridiculous cuts and fee increases they have made this past year.

But only if we stand together, and speak loudly enough.
Now is not the time to be silent.

Now, before 2017 begins, is the time to speak up and be heard!

So, yes, make your comments here in this article, but, more importantly, email me at [email protected], or call me at 705.942.6168 and leave me a message, so that I can speak to City Council on your behalf and let them know your most hated cuts and fee increases.

I need your help with this.

I can’t do it alone.

Who knows, if enough people email and call me telling me, “I’m sick and tired of paying more and getting far less from City Council”, we might even be able to organize a tax revolt and storm City Hall to get them to restore our cut services and reduce our tax and fee increases in 2017!?!

Stranger things have happened.

All it takes is YOUR one teeny tiny email or phone call to tip the scales.

Plus, we already have five City Councilors who did not vote in favour of the Budget: Ward 1 Cllr. Sandra Hollingsworth, Ward 3 Cllr. Matthew Shoemaker, Ward 4 Cllr. Lou Turco, Ward 5 Cllr. Frank Fata and Ward 6 Cllr. Ross Romano. So we really only need two more City Council members to vote with them to eliminate the cuts, and lower the tax and user fee increases passed in the 2016.

I’m sure at least two of the eight City Council members who voted FOR the 4.24% cut-filled 2017 Budget want to get re-elected in 2018.

Here is a reminder (in no particular order) of the citizen services that Mayor Provenzano and this City Council cut during 2016, and the fee increases they passed and/or implemented in 2016:

– 2 Free weeks of Landfill access (gone forever),
– 1 less hour of Landfill access Monday to Friday (gone forever),
– Weekend access to Household Hazardous Waste Depot and Landfill operation from Nov. to Mar. (gone forever),
– 6 hours of Sunday Bus Service (gone forever),
– Several front-line Fire Service Staff (gone forever),
– Municipal Daycare (gone forever),
– 5 Traffic Signals (gone forever),
– East End Library (gone forever),
– Significant numbers of Summer Student Jobs and Internships (gone forever),
– Hockey Hall of Fame funding (reduced forever),
– Printed Copies of Agendas (gone forever),
– Significant numbers of Summer Student Jobs and Internships (gone forever),
– An Engineering Test Lab (gone forever),
– Seniors’ Centre instruction and furnishings (reduced forever),
– Crematorium Fuel budget (reduced forever),
– 2 additional Full-time City Jobs (gone forever),
– Recycling Bag curbside pick-up in Jul., Aug. and Sept. (gone forever),
– $820,000 of yearly Road Resurfacing work (gone forever),
– $75,000 Canadian Bushplane Centre yearly funding (gone forever),
– $15,000 Youth Arts “Fringe North” Festival funding (denied),
– 10% Bus Fare and Pass fee increase (increased forever),
– Building Permit fees (increased forever),
– Arrears Tax Account Title Search fees (increased forever),
– Parking Metre fees (increased forever),
– Parking Lot Pass fees (increased forever),
– Bondar Pavillion rental fees (increased forever),
– All Marina fees (increased forever),
– Bellevue Park rental fees (increased forever),
– Summer Camp and Day Care fees (increased until not offered)
– Pool fees (increased forever),
– Athletic Field rental fees (increased forever),
– Ice Pad rental fees (increased forever),

And those are just the cuts and fee increase that I know of. If you know of any other cuts made or passed in 2016 please let everyone know.
Again, which of these cuts and fee increases do YOU hate the most?

And don’t forget, we’re paying MORE in Property Taxes, and Rent Payments, and Condo Fees just to get these cuts and fee increases ­čÖü

Email me at [email protected], or call me at 705.942.6168 to complain about your most hated cuts and user fee increases. Help me help you.

I’m on OUR side, and I’ll make sure this Mayor and Council get your message.

Then we’ll watch what they do, and see them at the ballot box in 2018.

Sincerely,
Mark Andrew Brown
Citizen of Sault Ste. Marie
[email protected]

3 COMMENTS

  1. The delinquents at ESSAR certainly stiffed a lot of Sault business owners for big $$$ which makes City Council’s cuts, fee increases and massive 4.24% tax increas in 2017 all the more ridiculous. This Mayor and Council don’t feel how much we ALL are hurting with the ever increasing price of everything. They just keep piling on!?! I don’t think that they want us all to move away?

    Email me at [email protected], or call me at 705.942.6168, and let me know the cuts/fee increases you hate the most, and I’ll make sure they hear YOUR concern.

    Besides, ESSAR has had a $0 effect on this Mayor and Council’s cuts and tax and fee increases. They just want you to think it has so they can pile on all of the cuts and tax increases loooooong before the next election ­čÖü

    Email me: [email protected]

  2. It’s not totally for the backs of essar bandits… not that they didn’t help cause some of the problems… our egotistically self serving, self centred blind leading the blind old boys club members who are to be blamed entirely for our cuts and fee increases…are their monetary supliments based on taxes collected. I truly think this should be a one time group of ……… Why can a much smaller community as Blind River keep their fountain running

  3. It won’t be too long before all of our citizens of working age will be (gone forever)
    All of these chintzy cuts thanks to, you guessed it, the Essar Global bandits.

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