I wish Eddie Francis well. I hope he achieves his goal for Windsor of competitiveness, efficiency, integration and just for good measure I'm going to throw in hope for sustainability, livability and a preferential option for the citizenry. All the citizens, not just property owners.
Not all citizens pay municipal taxes. Don't believe me? Say hello to your children. Is their Windsor experience important? Of course it is, in fact so important that the quality of life in our city years from now, the crime rate and future population base depend on us doing the right thing for them now. Until recently when my son bought his first house, those who paid no municipal taxes outnumbered those who did in our home, 3-2. Does the mayor work for them?
Gearing an inaugural speech towards placating only municipal taxpayers does not bode well for the quality of life in our city. I have no doubt that the Mayor's intent is noble, but his inability to separate "no new taxes" rhetoric from a "this is going to be the best city in Canada to live, work and invest" goal by defining his next four years on the issue of taxation alone should be disturbing to all but the most simple.
He's right about some things - there can be economies of scale but I'm not sure it's as simple as saying that the mechanic who repairs a city bus can jump under the hood of a firetruck or a police car quickly and easily.
One thing is certain. His successor will be tasked with restoring essential and desirable programs that will be cut in "across the board" budget reductions that have been the uninspired base of this mayor's fiscal policy and his last two councils' single minded fixation on what is, frankly, only part of what makes a city.
The question is not whether our taxes are too high. It's whether we're we getting our money's worth; whether we're using our collective resources for our collective good. Cuts across the board don't answer the question, they evade it.
Read The Windsor Star's Chris Vander Doelen's opposing opinion here: