Connolly puts common folk in touch with reality

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by admin on January 27, 2011

The Editor,

Thanks to Steve Connolly for his great expose, “MRC mayors hammer taxpayers again”  (Low Down,  Jan. 19 edition) on the regional council. Most residents in our area don’t know what the MRC is and what it is they do.

Mr. Connolly outlines a key issue on why our taxes are so high. Local municipalities like Kaz and La Peche, however, should be congratulated for keeping their taxes at 0.0 and 1.0 per cent, respectively, despite having to pay another level of government for a bunch of useless services that never really give residents much value.

Chelsea residents, meanwhile, have the most to lose. They get hosed by the MRC and as expected this year council appears to be trotting out the Perras 10-year budget plan, which compounds taxes by 4.5 per cent every year for the next eight years.

This guarantee of 4-4.5 per cent gives municipal staff and council the confidence that they can keep spending – even if it does not make sense or if situations have changed within the municipality. Chelsea is also running up the municipal credit card by increasing the municipality’s debt by 20 per cent to well over $12 million.

As well, Chelsea council appears to be developing its budget with little or no public input, and, as Bruce Langer pointed out in his letter last week, “Chelsea council meetings devoid of details” (Low Down, Jan. 19), it’s another example of our municipal friends pretty much doing what they like. Funny thing is, when you complain about our taxes, the MRC increases (which the mayors control) are used as examples of increased costs.

Unfortunately there is little residents can do except organize local meetings with their councillors and mayor, such as the one being organized Feb. 12 by Chelsea Ward 5 residents. They need to take the issues into their own hands and get face-to-face with the person they elected to represent them. It appears that until they do, not much will change.

Again, thanks to the tireless work by Mr. Connolly, his letter shows perfectly how out of touch local governments are with the common folk.

Kensel J. Tracy
Chelsea, Quebec