Last Tuesday night’s Council meeting was 2-1/2 hours I’ll never get back. And it wasn’t yet over then. But after listening to a marathon “Other Business” session (over an hour), I was falling asleep in my seat. For a Council, some of whom have said in the past that they aren’t there to get re-elected, there certainly was a lot of time spent doing what they seemed to think made them look good.
When the Mayor interrupted the General Committee for an in camera session even a veteran political geek such as I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m told I didn’t miss anything, although I think what went on in camera might have been interesting, but that wasn’t an option for me.
Although a number of what I suppose could be considered to be important topics were presented that evening in Council,a few of them spent an inordinate amount of time discussing even the least important items and second-guessing Staff.
Finally we arrived at the topic of guidelines for budget increases in the upcoming round for next year. This was a subject that should have driven a great deal of discussion, concerning the impact this could have on the future of just about everything in Thorold. However, when the Staff report was completed and the Mayor asked for a motion, the Councillors sat in total silence, each seemingly trying to avoid eye contact with the others. You could have heard crickets if they hadn’t all fallen asleep already.
Finally, the Mayor made a recommendation himself. This was momentous and I figure he must not be considering running again because he always calls for a zero increase. Instead, he suggested a 2.5% increase to the budget.
Despite the subject’s importance and the fact that 2.5% is more than 0% but well below the number that Staff claim is necessary just to tread water, still there was nothing, except for a request by Councillor that they be given a report on what they stood to gain or lose by adopting this number. When the Mayor told him that they would find out when the budget was presented, there was no more discussion. The 2.5% was accepted. No one said it was too much, no one said it was too little, no one said anything.
It’s possible that they all figure that they’re not stuck with the figure. Every year they add and subtract items they think are important. What happens then, though, is that items most people don’t even know have been taken off aren’t discussed unless it’s of importance to a Councillor. It seems to me that it would be much better if they were to start high and then take things off the list, having to publicly justify why they’re removing it: better but not easier. But what do I know?
And this after the same Council had expended enough hot air in the Council meeting proper to supply a fleet of blimps large enough to blot out the sun at the next Super Bowl. But, in the end, maybe they just tired out their jaws, or maybe they just figured they’d contributed enough to global warming for one night.