Monday, September 19, 2005

"All of the funds are not coming from you and I as taxpayer…"
just some of them

The suggestion to be found in this London Free Press article is that there's worse things the city could be spending money on… which, isolated from consideration of the municipal government's responsibilities to taxpayers, makes it pretty indistinguishable from every other non-property-servicing program the city spends money on. If the city were to fund just one such socially-oriented program, services would be better and property taxes would be much lower, and hardly a protest or grumbling would seem worth the effort. But the city does not… and this article about a program that ought to serve as a perfect instance of charities, private contributions and honourable intentions helping the needy without government appropriations is instead a story about how even these able interests can plead for a handout because they know they can. It's hard to imagine they need the money…

The Home at Last community project is asking the city for $10,000 to help with the launch of its first initiative. Scheduled to be dealt with by council tonight, the plan has the unanimous backing of the committee, [Councillor Ab] Chahbar said.
The Home at Last program is a partnership between the London Home Builders Association (LHBA), London and St. Thomas Real Estate Board, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and the London Affordable Housing Foundation that assists low-income tenant families who can finance small mortages in finding homes that, by their state of disrepair, are affordable. The program pays all mortgage payments, utility bills and property taxes from the time of purchase until the family can move in after repairs and retrofits, identified by the LHBA staff and performed by Thames Valley District School Board Grade 11 construction students working in a co-op program with and under the supervision of LHBA, are finished. In-kind support for the program is provided by Reliance Home Comfort, Siskinds Law Firm, Royal LePage Triland, Vince Bogdanski, RBC, and Renew Building & Design Ltd.

Home ownership is a laudable goal, establishing senses of accomplishment, self-dominion, and proprietary interest in the maintenance of one's dwelling, contributing at the same time to genuine community standards and associations — and, as an added benefit, shocks more families by directly confronting them with their property tax bills by removing the veil of having those taxes built in to their rents. But if all the organizations listed above cannot scrape $10,000 together, I would suggest they scrap the program altogether — otherwise, they'll turn into annual dependents themselves.
"All of the funds are not coming from you and I as taxpayer," Chahbar said.
Whew! Such eloquent misdirection could set the standard for public-private partnership announcements at city hall for all time…