Looks good on the outside

Aug 12 • Letters to the EditorNo Comments on Looks good on the outside

Sir: I must thank Brian Sharp for his letter, “Happy with use of our tax dollars,” in the June 20 Chatham Voice.

Differing views must be considered. Pointing out that city services look good I will agree, though most are private contractors.

I also agree the municipality has its geographic complexities, though that is nothing new. And I understand council is a democratic body, which is why they are like all the rest. I’ll explain.

My argument has always been balance, neither conservative nor liberal. Most can relate especially if we’ve been in a financial pinch or look at our own budgets.

We all must live within our budgets, balancing mortgage or rent, utilities, car, insurance, kids, etc. Losing your job really sucks. And most of us have run into times where we bit off more than we could chew and we’re still paying. This is because household debt is at an all time high across all classes of income, excluding the poor who cannot borrow.

As we sped through life with little money management skills, we bought stuff seeking the proverbial dream. Now most find themselves with very little left over, and everything on a payment plan. Thank you, banks and credit cards!

Most councillors are like the general public, with little to no fiscal restraint, let alone economic experience which would aid to understand future implications. When they review city budgets, the end result is raising taxes, and they never lower expenses. Unless you consider removing a street sweeper good for the citizens. This is not an accusation, it’s in print.

As stated before, the public sector compensation is the largest expense, which leaves only 30 per cent for everything else. Simple math. Would you donate to a charity where 70% is for administration?

Don’t expect any provincial or federal transfer dollars to save us; the previous decades of do-gooders racked up that credit card. Even Wynne cut health care spending before she left.

Government budgets must act fiscally responsible or it gets painful over time. Demanding more taxes from the people for governments’ benefit has not historically ended well.

If you give one child more ice cream than the other, you will be met with discontent. When the public sector was at par with the private sector there was balance. This is the change over the past three decades that matters. It is degrading confidence in government.

Look at how many kids want government jobs since they pay the most. It’s not about public service any more, it’s about the cash. Show me a private-sector job in Chatham-Kent that pays $40 an hour with less than a three-year degree.

I’m tired of decades of excuses about how other small municipalities have the same problems. Then stop doing what they’re doing! Misery loves company.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

And stop tricking the people into thinking the budgets are for snow and bridges when 70% of the budget goes to an increasing pay scale for employees that do not build bridges, collect garbage, or resurface roads. It is out of balance.

Robert Hakker

Chatham-Kent

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