Friday, February 8, 2008

Spending Other People's Money

It's that time of the year again, when city councillors, under guidance from unelected city staff, decide what to do with the spoils collected from taxpayers. Even if city staff were elected by the minority of voting Londoners like council members are, it wouldn't improve the system much, because when you are doling out other people's money with relative impunity, there is no tangible incentive to responsibly manage that cash except to further your political advantage.

Remember, we are paying these people to spend our money on horse-lessons, creativity, entertainment, false hopes (think Ambassador London and London Economic Development Corporation), community festivals, heritage (think Pioneer Village, Capitol Theatre, Locust Mount, Guy Lombardo Museum), to name just a few areas where your money is squandered against your will. The perceived need of one group is necessarily bought with another group's resources.

Big thanks to council for expanding their expense account by an additional $1,500. Each councillor will soon receive $6,900 on top of their salaries to spread the word of their self-perceived worth. Let the fight for the handouts begin!

One option would see money handed to umbrella groups that would make the decision. The city's arts council, for example, could decide if a pottery guild deserves $200,000.

But several members of council said that kind of approach has been considered in the past, and making such decisions, no matter how difficult, is part of city hall's obligation to Londoners.

"This is something we can't delegate to other organizations," Controller Tom Gosnell said. "When you're building a community, this is what council gets paid to do."
Thanks for the potholes and slushy roads. Looking forward to more sinkholes, tax increases, and call centers.