What is going on here? Has our area suddenly become prosperous, full of jobs and business opportunities? Has Amazon decided to locate its newest fulfillment center to Central Frontenac? Is that why our elected officials need to ramp up spending to accommodate all the new job seekers migrating to our area?
I’m thinking it must be so. Frontenac County government, as far as I can tell, is only responsible for running an old folks home in Kingston and an ambulance service that could probably run itself. Its draft budget calls for an 11% increase in council salaries? 10.3% increase in Planning and Development? 7.83% for the old folks home plus maybe more for a support worker and a part time recreationist? What?
The Township of Central Frontenac actually does have some responsibilities. Is it being more fiscally responsible? Maybe not. Central Frontenac owes over $2 million for various capital projects, including $300,000 for a medical centre that, in my experience, doesn’t accept new patients, even those who pay taxes for it. The township draft capital budget now proposes an increase of $1.1 million, nearly 60% over last year, and that’s not including the new township office. The new township office?
I’ve lived in this township long enough to remember the township office seeming plenty adequate in Mayor MacDonald’s time, and being surprised by how much larger it was made, and how quickly it filled up during Mayor Gutowski’s tenure. Now Mayor Smith and council are seriously considering a new, larger office?
It’s hard for me to believe any of this. As I recall, amalgamation was touted as a way of reducing cost by rationalizing services. It doesn’t seem to have done that. It seems, instead, to have only served as a launching board for politicians and public servants wanting to build little empires at the taxpayers’ expense. I urge, nay challenge, those of our representatives for whom we vote to say no to these little empire builders. Unless there’s something I don’t see, a new wave of economic prosperity just about to hit our area, perhaps spending should be capped at the rate of inflation.