Thursday, May 13, 2010

Haldimand "Council Flip Flop"

Funds allocation defeated
Posted By NICOLE AMBROSE , CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Wednesday May 12, 2010

"Point of order!" said Councillor Craig Grice as Coun. Buck Sloat began to reiterate his and Coun. Don Ricker's point on the direct allocation of $100,000 to charity organizations in Haldimand County. Monday's council meeting began with the approval of minutes from last week's council in committee.

During the May 3 meeting, a recommendation was passed allowing the "funding allocation of $100,000" from the county's 2010 budget to be distributed evenly between the Community Support Centre of Haldimand-Norfolk in Caledonia and the Salvation Army in Dunnville.

However, as council proceeded to approve the minutes, Coun. Ricker had a suggestion.

"You almost wonder if there shouldn't be an amendment that there's no direction, no idea where this money is going to be spent, no confidence that this council is spending $100,000 and what portion of that is going to be spent in Haldimand County and which portion is going to be spent in Norfolk." says Coun. Ricker. "Both these organizations that are in this resolution serve both counties and at this point, they can use the money as they wish if they find the need is more of service in another area, they can do so and we can't stop them."

Coun. Ricker explains there are many organizations within the county that could also use the money as much as the next, and many of them have already enquired into whether or not they could be considered also. "We don't know if [the money] is going to get into the hands of the people that need it."

Coun. Sloat sees the reason in Coun. Ricker's request and explains perhaps the motion should also take into consideration how and where the taxpayer's dollars are being spent and says, "It should be clearly stated that this money be spent to better the lives of Haldimand County residents."

"I think it was made quite clear to the presenters, but [the motion] doesn't say it," says Mayor Marie Trainer referring to the representatives from the organizations who came to council in previous weeks to explain how and where they would use the money.

Coun. Leroy Bartlett is curious how council picks the winners and losers saying, "We've picked two winners, but there's probably a lot more organizations that are waiting in the wings that would like money also."

After all opinions were heard, council proceeded to amend the motion adding the phrase "on the condition that both agencies are required to spend the funds to the sole benefit of Haldimand County residents." The amended motion was put to a vote, after Trainer was left to second the motion, and was defeated.

"I find that greatly astounding," says Coun. Ricker who explains he finds it "interesting" that council would vote to spend the $100,000 but not designate it to directly benefit the residents of Haldimand County.

"This is out of our realm, this is not the procedure we should be following, this has not been done right from day one.

Some of the members have voted to move forward on this aren't concerned whether the money is spent in Norfolk or Haldimand County - $100,000 from Haldimand County taxpayers.

Amazing." The recommendation fails with a final vote of 4-3 and the original motion of May 3 council in committee remains carried. "I find that really incredible that the groups of the organizations are here to present their case, [council] had an opportunity to ask all kinds of questions, which we did and they were answered, and then this council does a turnabout from a 5-2 vote . . . Shame on us," says Coun. Lorne Boyko.

Article ID# 2574437
http://www.dunnvillechronicle.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2574437

20 comments:

  1. Mayor Trainer and Councillor Sloat should be ashamed. How sad!!

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  2. "This is out of our realm, this is not the procedure we should be following, this has not been done right from day one.

    Now we have someone on council admitting that this was not done right? How many decisions have been made that were not done right! Remember this is an election year and with this kind of game playing some on council should do the right thing and walk away now. We as residents, hard working tax paying residents that pay their wages should not have to pay the price for political blunders like this to take place for the next couple of months. I certainly know who I am not voting for, bring on the election now, I am ready.

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  3. How many times Donna have we seen this posturing? How many more times do they think they can fool us. This as the first poster said is shameful. The sad part is that the two organizations had already been informed that they would receive the funding and I am sure that they desperatly needed the money. What are they going to do now? In the Regional News this Week it stated that council we not even lobby the upper level of governments on there behalf? The is the least that they could have done on theri behalf.

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  4. Donna hear is the story from the Sachem;

    Council votes no to funding

    By Jim Knisley

    News

    Haldimand County Council changed its mind Monday and decided not to help two agencies that deliver aid to the county's neediest citizens.

    Last week, county council voted five to two to provide special, one-time funding of $50,000 each to the Salvation Army's Community and Family Services in Dunnville and the Caledonia-based Community Support Centre for Haldimand-Norfolk.

    This week council voted four to three not to provide the assistance.

    The turnaround came when Mayor Marie Trainer and Councillor Buck Sloat voted against the motion. They had voted in favour of it a week earlier.

    During this week's debate Councillor Don Ricker said if the motion were approved council would have "no idea how the money will be spent."

    He said council wouldn't know if the money got to people who need it or if it was all spent to benefit Haldimand residents because both organizations serve both Haldimand and Norfolk.

    Sloat said council's resolution should be tightened. "It should be clearly stated we want the money spent to benefit Haldimand residents."

    The original motion said the two charities would be required "to report back at the end of the year as to how the funds were used and the results." An amendment to add a phrase that the money be used to support only Haldimand residents was lost.

    Councillor Leroy Bartlett, who along with Councillor Ricker voted against the motion last week, said there are a lot of groups in Haldimand County that would like to receive money from the county. He said council was "picking winners and losers" which is something council has criticized the federal and provincial governments for doing.

    Ricker said there are a lot of groups doing good work.

    After the final vote, Councillor Lorne Boyko, who voted in favour of providing the $100,000, said: "I find it an incredible turnaround."

    Council voted five to two in favour last week when representatives of both groups were in council chambers to make presentations and answer questions about how the money would be spent. A week later, the motion is lost four to three, he said.

    A final paragraph of the defeated motion said that Haldimand County would also "lobby the appropriate federal and provincial ministries to secure additional and ongoing funding to support these human service agencies in Haldimand County."

    Julie Fleet, Board President of the Community Support Centre, says this decision is detrimental to the future of the support centre. “Our doors could be closed by December,” she says.

    Fleet says the centre has been operating on a shoe-string budget, and that the funding would have been a huge help.

    She adds that Trainer and Sloat’s reason for voting no bothers her.

    “They should have asked us. We can show where our dollars are used. We get the odd request from Ohsweken, but all of the people we help are from Haldimand County.”

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  5. Good for Council, how can they spend our hard earned tax dollars for administration of organizations that serve people outside of the County's borders? How many of these organizations are out there offering the same service, there is no co-ordination. A wise choice in my opinion, bring on the election!!

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  6. I agree with the last poster that our tax dollars should not be spent this way, or at least the way council voted last week, but in saying that one has to point out that Trainer and Sloat should be ashamed of themselves for giving false hope to so many. They both were fully infomed the week before and voted accordingly, did they get a few phone calls and this is what changed their minds?

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  7. Thanks for your comments. Thanks for the Sachem article, I haven't received my paper yet.

    I believe that being honest is the key. Some may not agree with your stand, but when you change your stand and the affect is devasting as it is in this case (my personal opinion)how can you expect a person to trust your word again?

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  8. Well said Donna. Honesty! Openess! Accountable! Transparent! Compassionte! Caring! these qualities do not seem to exist with Trainer and Sloat. All they are thinking is Election! Election! Election! Vote for Me! Vote for Me! Vote for Be! Well gues what my vote will not be cast for either one of them! Time for some fress faces!

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  9. Count tax dollars are for servicing, garbage pick up, snow removal, roads etc. we have a hard enough problem trying to fix our pooty roads without my tax dollars being spent this way. But I also must digress that this was a huge flip flop and I do feel for the two groups that were banking on these funds.

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  10. Hey Donna,

    Why do you think they have an entire week between committee and council........a time for reflection and truthing. Might as well approve everything on the same day if you can't change your mind........has nothing to do with "honesty" and everything to do with responsibility to the taxpayer. Wake up and have some respect.

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  11. To the above poster, you are bang on right! Every member of council has a financially fiscal responsibility to the ratepayers.

    Council in Committee meets on a Monday at 9:30am, all of the council members receive their agendas on I believe the Thursday before C of C. (when I worked for the Chronicle, I picked up my agenda on the Friday and spent part of the weekend reading the agenda. Some weeks these agendas are around 600 pages)

    In this particular case, the parties were present at the C of C meeting, plead their case and council debated this issue for around 35-40 minutes. As well a staff report was generated. This staff report stated that municipal governments do not usually use tax dollars in this manner, and stated that in Haldimand's case we have never gone this route.

    Council voted at the C of C meeting to support this motion.

    At the next Monday's meeting at 6:00pm it was Councillor Don Ricker I believe the paper stated that brought this forward again. It seems that the issue was where the money was going to be spent. After a long debate the week before, a staff report and a presentation by the agency what information was not given to council to make a good decision?

    My question is what didn't Sloat and
    Trainer understand? Did Sloat and Trainer contact the groups to ask additional questions? Did they speak to members of council during the week in between? I don't have the answers to these questions, but what I do know as an individual that has been involved in fundraising, this was a blow to both groups, the money was in the bank.

    The responsiblity to the taxpayer is certainly a high priority for elected officials, but in saying that, what was their reasoning for voting in favour in the first place, where was the respect for these groups that listened to council debated their issues the week before, to come and find out that it is now a dead issue.

    It is not often that council changes its vote, in most cases the vote is changed because of lack of information, in this case my opinion is that council had all the information that was needed to make a good judgement call.

    So where is the respect?

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  12. I think the city was in the wrong promising funds to these private groups to begin with - it is up to individuals to support local charities. I don't think it should matter if the money helped some people in Norfolk (it is charity after all). I read somewhere that only 2% of one of the charities user base were Norfolk residents. That being said there are a million reasons why this should never have been tabled to begin with. I think the right thing would have been to pay out the 100k and draft up some new rules on how funds should be distributed to private charities (if at all). We have now taken away from charities that were expecting the support (at a cost of $2 and change per resident). I would call on council to personally pony up the cash but I am sure it would be a cold day in hell before that happened.

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  13. Ryan makes a good point Donna and I am impressed that he is posting on your blog. I read his blog everyday.

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  14. Where would it stop Ryan? With no co-ordination amongst groups offering the same services? The taxpayer can't keep paying for everything.

    On an aside, I find it funny how you have removed the comment section from your blog, seems you don't respond well to criticism.....too bad. You have a lot a growing to do even though you are a self proclaimed millionaire. You're out of your league, run for councillor before the big job. That would be a stretch though too.

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  15. Ryan,

    By the way, it is a County and not a City! A little different! With your response, we should call on all taxpayers to pony up the cash for anyone who comes asking. I guess we're not as well off as you, we live in a world where every penny counts. Maybe you could provide the groups with a $100,000 of your money.

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  16. My sentiments exactly from the above poster! Ryan took off his comments section, yet he feels free to post here. Ryan Donna has it right and she has been doing this for a few years, eveyone has stayed respectful from what I have seen, learn from others that some just want to heard, as soon as you take their voice away, you have lost their vote!

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  17. Thanks everyone for your comments, it seems that we have gone a bit off track here. It goes to prove what I have always stated and the reason why I started my blog in 2007, people just want their "Voice to be Heard"!

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