To the Expositor:
In response to Melissa Peters’ letter to the editor (Northeast Council needs money for ‘irresponsible hypocrisy’) in the May 6 Expositor, I would like to clarify and point out a few informational pieces that the writer conveniently neglected to mention.
While Ms. Peters has every right to make her points known to the whole of the municipality, it would be beneficial for her to state all the facts, especially since Ms. Peters sat at the council table only five short months ago. As it relates to councillors mileage claims, there is little debate that a council can choose to either keep the current system or change it. In this case, our council opted to remain with the status quo. Whether constituents agree or disagree with the policy, it really comes down to the decision of council.
Ms. Peters is seemingly suggesting that certain councillors are being unethical by claiming their mileage when attending meetings. This is a policy that is in place and budgeted for every year. Certainly, if taxpayers have a concern, they should carry out this discussion with individual councillors, or at the council table, through a deputation.
Furthermore, surely Ms. Peters is aware of the annual public meeting, geared to taxpayers, to discuss the annual budget. Did she raise her concerns at the public meeting?
Ms. Peters sat as a member of council for four years. Every year the budget was reviewed and debated. For four years, Ms. Peters did not seem to have any issue with the mileage policy—at least none that she was willing to discuss openly during four years of budget deliberations when she was in office. Would she consider making a deputation, in front of council, to discuss her issue? Did Ms. Peters ever motion to have the current policy changed? If so, when did those
discussions take place, because they certainly were not reflected in any of the council or committee minutes.
Finally, as a point of clarification, Ms. Peters is seemingly pitting Ward 4 against Ward 2 with her suggestions that Ward 2 taxpayers are left footing the bill for services they do not benefit from.
Since Ms. Peters and I are both members of the ‘former councilor’ club, we both know from our experiences that the cost of certain municipal services are incurred by all taxpayers in all wards. So although there is some frustration with her argument about Ward 4 drainage (and who is left paying for it), you can also add roads, sidewalks, street lighting, library, and the recreation centre (just to name a few) to the list—services that all wards pay for, regardless of where the expense is incurred. As you know Ms. Peters, the province has legislated municipalities to follow these rules. And again, these rules apply to all municipalities, not just ours. I suggest you read the Ontario Drainage Act.
Ms. Peters, in the four years that you sat on council, I attended numerous council meetings and during your tenure, I rarely saw you either raise a point or debate an issue. That was your prerogative. However, before putting ink to paper and chastising the very same council that you sat with for four years, I strongly suggest you think twice. You had an opportunity to address the issue(s), but you chose not to. If you still have an axe to grind with a few councilors, remember that you had a real opportunity to voice your opinions when you were on council.
a Ward 4 resident