Some candidates believe spending more will get them elected. They try to entice voters with their expensive campaign promises that they will fulfil once elected.
Spending more is the easy way (we think of it as lazy) that requires no thinking.
Ask candidates to explain how they will do better.
Those promising to keep tax increases within the inflation rate are taking the easy way. Do not accept this fallacy.
Thinking involves looking at different ways to optimize and prioritize spending. It requires reading and understanding budget documents. It requires challenging major expenditures, such as the Coburg Community Centre and transit, to find better ways and more affordable ways to deliver these services to residents. It requires looking at discretionary items and sometime saying no. It is not easy but necessary.
Hiring consultants is another easy decision. Thinking of alternatives is difficult.
A little more thinking can bring more creative solutions that not only cost less but benefit others.
One possible alternative is to partner with education institutions to research and develop recommendations on issues that normally a consultant would be hired for. It benefits not only students but taps into the experience of educational institutions. Most educational institutions require students to complete a thesis on real life problems. Let’s help them and ourselves.
Ad hoc committees with experienced volunteers from the community could be set up to address issues instead of hiring expensive consultants. Cobourg has many great volunteers who already contribute so much to their community and the Town. They have one huge advantage over consultants. They live here and must live with the results of their recommendations.
Remember that coming up with alternatives requires some thinking.
Another example where no thinking is involved is the annual grant given to the Art Gallery of Northumberland (AGN).
The easy way is for Council to grant $150k every year to the AGN.
The AGN is important to our community, and we encourage people to visit and support this great cultural organization. The AGN does need to be more proactive in achieving its funding goals and not rely on the Town for ongoing funding. There are many other organizations that are just as deserving and seem to be able to raise funds quite well to support themselves. *
Ask candidates if they will ask the AGN for a plan as to how they will become more self-sustaining and not rely on the Town funding them $150k every year.
We should ask our candidates to do more thinking.
We should demand that our Councillors do more thinking.
Ask candidates what they are going to do differently and not just take the easy way and spend more.
* AGN fund raising seems to be lacking as the first 5 months of this year showed a funding effort that raised $544 and the targeted amount for 2022 is $10,000.
Last week, we read about the kids who raised $6,400 for the Northumberland Hills Hospital with 20 lemonade stands. If NHH and kids can do it, we challenge the AGN to do better.