I was gob smacked to read that the County of Barrhead council unanimously approved an unbudgeted expense of $400.00 to former reeve Bill Lee to drive his personal automobile in three parades this summer.
This decision was a slap in the face to all the civic minded volunteers who gave freely of their time to ensure the Blue Heron parade was a success.
It is apparent that the County of Barrhead elected officials do not value the countless volunteer hours of young children, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, families, grandparents, aunts, uncles and Barrhead residents to ensure a successful community event. Rather the elected Council sees the value of lining the pockets of their chosen inner circle with tax payer dollars.
I cannot count how many times, I have read in the Barrhead Leader, the numerous community minded groups, going before the County of Barrhead Council, with cap in hand, to seek support, help and respect as they volunteer tirelessly to improve the Barrhead community, only to be turned away.
Be these efforts for battered/abused women programs, early childhood/ toddler/ family programs, community youth at risk initiatives, literacy/numeracy support, baby/ toddlers and family’s programs, books for the library, community support for seniors and their volunteer care givers, girl guides, boy scouts, cadets, veterans, and all-aged- special- need community requests, are dismissed.
And, let us not forget the debacle of the pool and now the curling rink and skating rinks, outdoor courts, the lack of any tourist programming, summer programming support for families, and the dearth of innovative environmental or recycling programs and the continual deterioration of county roads.
The councilors seem to forget why they were elected. Let us remind them. It is to serve all the people in the County of Barrhead and provide leadership and sound policy decisions to enrich the lives of every citizen in the County of Barrhead.
The councilors of the County of Barrhead need to recognize that pennies do not fall from heaven and that the tax revenues collected on August 31, 2018, from the hardworking, honest, decent, citizens of the County of Barrhead are to be used to benefit all citizens, not just the Council’s narrow short-sighted vision and that of their cronies.
Again, the Council of Barrhead goes to the front of the class for, lack of transparency, lack of accountability, lack of fiscal responsibility, lack of community engagement and a total lack of common sense. Once again, they have abdicated their role as leaders in the community.
The Queen of England has daily published her agenda and every penny she has spent for over 60 years. Why cannot the County of Barrhead councilors do the same? We the tax payers are giving elected officials almost $40.000.00 a year, on top of their basic government salary and just like the Queen, county councilors need to show evidence of how taxpayer money is dispersed, tracked and communicated to the public throughout the year.
The County of Barrhead councillors must openly disclose their monthly expenses along with their daily/weekly/monthly agendas. Only with transparent Councilor renumeration accounting, will the citizens of Barrhead be able to follow the money and see how it is spent, how it is collected and celebrate the benefits of tax dollars working in the community. Only then can the citizens become informed participants with their local democracy.
It is imperative that The County of Barrhead councilors must accept public participation, public engagement and public inspection, as set out in the Municipal Government Act and to respond to citizen concerns in a professional, respectful, and timely fashion, as set out in the County of Barrhead Code of Conduct policy.
The council needs to stop bulldozing sensitive environmental wetlands and start draining the swamp found at the County of Barrhead council table.
Oh, by the way, I own a restored antique car and have an original power boat at Thunder Lake and would gladly donate these to the County of Barrhead for use in the 2019 Blue Heron Parade, along with fuel and my time… all for free.