The only really interesting thing at the Council budget approval meeting was the slugfest between Councillors Craven and Meed Ward.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 19th, 2013   Nothing changed but we did get a look at the way this city of ours intends to handle the development of its budgets in the years ahead; where the priorities will be and where the problems that need to be resolved are as well.

We learned that when Councillor Craven was first elected the annual shortfall on infrastructure maintenance was $6 million.  That was the annual shortfall more than ten years ago.  Craven now tells us that the annual shortfall is now $18 million annually – which put another way means we should be spending $18 million to get our roads up to standard but have not been doing that.

That is a mess that this Council hopes to get out of starting in 2018 when the hospital levy will have been paid down and the city can start spending serious money on getting the roads fixed.

Councillor Taylor meeting with staff to check up on some of the numbers in the budget binder. Taylor suspects the hospital has another big financial ask of the city up their sleeve.

Not so fast advised Councillor Taylor, who pointed out that the city’s $60 million to the hospital will cover phases 1 and 2 – he suspects there is a phase 3 out there which we will have to pay for.  No mercy for us at that level.

Council Craven decided the 2013 budget was one he would vote for – he didn’t vote for the 2011 or the 2012 budgets.

Councillor Meed Ward didn’t vote the 2013 budget but the rest of the crowd did, except for Councillor Dennison, who sent his regrets and was not present in the Council chamber.

That red light was a sign – Sound of Music didn’t get the $37,000 they felt they needed as fall back money if the weather turned on them and events had to be cancelled. Note that the pier in this 2011 picture isn’t visible because there was nothing to see. The city plans on officially opening the pier during the Sound of Music festival this summer. SOM should charge the city a fee for horning in on their event.

Had Dennison been at the horse shoe Meed Ward believes the Sound Of Music would have been given the $37,000 in fall back money they asked for.

Bfast, the city’s transit advocacy group asked that the 8% transit fare increase be deferred until there was a clear policy on new equipment acquisitions in place and when there was decent public input.  Other than delegations during the budget process the public was basically shut out of any opportunity to have some input.

Good debate on the why of the fare increase and the usual mumblings about better community engagement but come May 1st – there will be a transit fare increase.

Councillor Craven wasn’t flashing this smile at Councillor Meed Ward on Monday during the budget debate. It was getting close to ugly between those two

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward: She gave as good as she got in her slug fest with Councillor Craven during the budget debate

For reasons that were never clear Councillor Craven had a real “hurt” on for Councillor Meed Ward; they were slugging it out frequently during the evening.

The debate on the budget left things just the way they were at the committee level.  The good news was that the Burlington Teen Tour Band won the All-Ireland Championship.  The city had put a chunk of change in the budget for the BTTB – can we expect to see an increase of tourists from Ireland this summer?

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