Ward 1 and 2 meeting- Ok turnout - Rob Ford was in attendance

For the size of Ward 1 and 2 there should have been more people but it was ok.   It was exciting and interesting!  

It is a shame there is not an equivalent meeting for Ward 3 and 4, at least there is none scheduled as of yet.

Issues brought up were–  Taxes, Transportation, Single Family Houses turned into Multi-unit houses, Police Coverage- Station and Crime, Parking, Public Art allocation.  Budget explanation by Rob Ford, Town of Ajax Rob Ford that is.  He must really hate his name at times!

Let’s all make a point to really try and make it to the Budget meeting in February.  It is a 12 month process according to Mr. Ford.  The Town does not just create it out of nothing, it is a culmination of the year’s work, it comes out of the public meetings, the costs of status quo etc.   Here again is the Budget timetable.   Here is the Casino Slot revenue FAQ and pretty charts too! 

I think it is unrealistic to think our taxes will ever go down, it just won’t happen, no matter how long the question you read off was, however we as citizens must continue to voice our preferences as to how our money is spent where we have wiggle room, ie Public Art,  Shaun Collier did state that he will be bringing up the issue of the Art reserve fund at a council meeting, it is something that needs to be reviewed,  $75,000 a year is put into a reserve fund for public art.  

Is Ajax open to participatory budgeting?  I can’t think of a better way to involve the citizens and engage the community in a positive way then that!  - Here is X number of dollars, decide how it will be spent in your community. 

Here is an interesting article and please contact me if you would be interested in an education forum on the idea.   I think I have a facebook contact out the Guelph way and I will tap him for some information.   I have not read the entire article and what is or was happening in Guelph does not necessarily fit for Ajax but what the process does is bring the citizens into the process.  Example, if the money was given to each area and those near the waterfront really want art– well go for it, if another area feels enhancements to some recreation programs better suit their community , then spend the funds that way. 

It does not replace Councillors involvement, it just adds to the process.

I don’t have my notes in front of me at the moment, I only meant to write that it was a good meeting but just kept going  :)

5 Responses to “Ward 1 and 2 meeting- Ok turnout - Rob Ford was in attendance”

  1. Michael Baker Says:

    The very low turnout (I counted 18 people) clearly shows the ongoing disconnect in communication & consultation between our elected members of council & we the voters/taxpayers of Ajax not only in Wards 1& 2 but throughout Ajax.

    Rob Ford stated how he & his staff take direction from council in drawing up a proposed council(”budget” I think you mean-Admin) but I believe it is the other way around. Councillor Collier told me that he will have maybe 2-3 days more than I/we will to review the entire budget & put together any changes he wishes to make. He points out that any changes are made on the floor & require support from his colleagues. It would be refreshing if 18 Ajax taxpayers from Wards 1&2 (at least) would pick up a copy of the 2012 proposed budget on January 30, 2012 & if 18 Ajax taxpayers from Wards 1&2 (at least) would attend the GGC Budget Meeting on February 6, 2012.

    Last night’s meeting proved to be interesting, revealing, dynamic, informative & productive. Will the other wards ever get a chance to speak their minds in an open public meeting? Last night’s meeting only scratched the surface re the topic of the 2012 propsed budget, to bylaws, to transportation, to community safety. Nevertheless ward meetings such as last night’s contribute greatly to building community & councillors Crawford, Collier & Ashby are to be applauded for holding these meetings. Now if only the voters/taxpayers of Ajax would only stand up & be counted when it counts.

    Admin: I will try to go to the GGC meeting, I have never been to one and I could book a personal day or vacation day for it! What do you think about participatory budgeting? I meant OK turnout as opposed to 3 or 4 people! I think budget stuff needs to start in the spring and if it is a 12 month process then they can do a better job of bringing the citizens into the submission process earlier. The councillors I think have to send in their “wishlist” budget items by the end of summer.

  2. SM Says:

    The low turnout shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s a reflection of our municipal election. People are too busy working or spending time with their families then to be bothered participating in one of these meetings which realistically won’t make a bit of difference. Your right Karem, taxes never go down. Every year it’s the same old routine by both the town and region. They come looking for more money. Usually they put the fear into everyone by predicting taxes will go through the roof only to later come back with lower amount. I can guarantee you that they will be looking for more money in the new year. Wait until all the land in this town has been developed. Then you’ll start seeing your taxes going even higher.

    It takes money to run a town and unfortunately that requires taxes. But it’s the way they spend this money that has many people upset. I think the money spent on that church in Pickering Village was a disgrace, even though other levels of government contributed to the cost. The money that is going towards that “art” is also questionable. Do we really need this right now?. What purpose will it serve besides looking pretty?. Let’s focus on the more important things like trimming 4 feet long weeks growing along the curbs. Clean up all the litter and illegal signs being attached to stop signs, street lamps, by people advertising their business. Let’s start fixing some of these roads that are falling apart and rip up the old train tracks that aren’t being used anymore.

  3. Marsha Dooley Says:

    It was a good meeting where residents could connect, voice their concerns and issues. As I stated at the end of the meeting the problem with council transparency is that they discuss, debate and vote on issues at their Thursday afternoon GGC meeting. When Council takes a vote at GGC and enter those votes into the minutes it apparent to us, their constituents, that a vote at council meeting the following Monday night is a done deal and a matter of procedure.
    I had much to say about the Pickering Village Heritage Conservation District but after reading the GGC minutes I decided there was no point in voicing my issues as all council had made their decisions, as recorded in the minutes. My comments would not sway not serve any purpose.
    The number one issue with constituents in the last election was traffic calming. Council has no money for traffic calming yet this year they are spending (our tax dollars) $90K for art in the park and $350K on the Village square at OKR and Church.
    Sure hope our economy picks up and those that are struggling and out of work find employment.

  4. SM Says:

    Marsha does raise a good point. The town has no money for such projects like traffic calming but yet they can find over $80,000 to spend on art in the park. These types of things don’t really surprise me. Remember the cost of creating the town a new logo/slogan several years back?. It’s stupid things like this that have people shaking their heads. But I guess we can also thank the people of Ajax who vote these same people in time and time again.

    As we’ve said before, having art in the park is nice…. but not something that is urgently needed at this time. How much money are they planning to put aside for maintainence and cleaning of these pieces of art?. We all remember how the war memorial was vandalized shortly after it was built at the foot of Harwood and then there’s that WW1 statue in Toronto that was damaged shortly after being restored. I’ve noticed increased amounts of graffiti down by the lake and I have to wonder how long it will take before these expensive pieces of art end up being tagged.

    Admin: You can have a nicer picture taken with a piece of art then something for traffic calming? Time will tell how long before vandalism takes place.

  5. Michael Baker Says:

    Everyone knows that the aim of members of council is to communicate & consult. It is written as a strategic plan & it is proclaimed at open public meetings held by Crawford, Collier & Ashby on behalf of all members of council …. and yet they do not do what they say … and we don’t care.

    And members of council know that to hold GGC meetings (the most important meetings of them all) in the daytime in a back room without public attendance & input just days before a council meeting which almost always approves all minutes before the public even sees them & can ask questions creates a major disconnect with their constituents but nevertheless they are comfortable with the status quo & the voters don’t seem to mind because only 23% of them vote & they keep returning the incumbents to council.

    The reality in Ajax is that practically none of the voters seem to care what council does at anytime with their tax dollars & with their Town. The sounds of silence are deafening & all members of council simply act accordingly because they know that they really are not being held accountable for their actions.

    Their political game continues to be played on their turf & according to council’s rules & they get paid good money to do so.

    What a great part time job that is!

    Well said Michael. I follow the Mayor of Calgary in my facebook and he posted this the other day. “While this is a budget that very much reflects the views of Calgarians (close to 24,000 people have had input into this), it’s nearly time for City Council to …” No matter how you feel about the Calgary Budget the Mayor has a blog and communicates with the citizens.

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