Mayor Stead has changed his mind, or someone – we won’t name any names- has changed it for him because this persuader (who will remain nameless but we all know who he is don’t we?) knows if HE runs he will lose and if HE loses he can’t get on Council to control it. So martyr Bob is putting himself on the re- election pyre to get burned as reported in The Advertiser of July 8th.
To quote from our fish wrapper copy:
Wolfville mayor Bob Stead is going to go after a third term in office.
Let’s stop right there for a moment. THIRD term. Why are there not term limits? There should be. This would be one of our first petitions to the new Council. Even before we voted for a new Council we would want the institution of term limits to be promised by those offering. We would not vote for anyone running for a third term on principle.
Bear with us, we still have to comment on Mayor Stead’s statement to Wolfville’s Lois Lane.
Assessment has been the focus of some concern among rate payers lately.
No Bob, wrong again. It is not assessment that has been a concern lately as it relates to Wolfiville Town Council. Assessments are an issue that ratepayers have with the Assessment Office (which was until recently a provincial responsibility) and not an issue with the Town which has nothing to do with (or should have nothing to do with) Assessments. The issue has been (apart from the elimination of the R1 zone and other increased density proposals) TAXES and the increase in the budget. Assessment has no fixed relationship with the taxes a town might demand. This is hard to get through Councillors heads but it is true. [It is true however that householders would have few bones to pick with the assessment office if municipalities didn’t fix their tax take to assessment growth.]
In the past 11 years, Stead says there have been two occasions when the town brought in property evaluation experts when there were ” obvious issues that needed to be addressed”
What issues had to be addressed? Did they inform the householders concerned that the Town was appealing their assessments for them? Did the assessments subsequently go up, or down? This was not an issue the Town should have got themselves involved with and it was handled in an irregular manner by all reports.
The newspaper article goes on to say:
Stead does not understand the stance of some property owners who object to the market driven system in place now. Of course it is capped by two years so there are delays in realising property values. …
What an admission. He does not understand. He is talking about the assessment system. He shouldn’t be talking about the assessment system. It has been claimed many times that the town does not tax by assessment. His statement proves the opposite. The tax system does not equate with the assessment system. Taxes are not market driven – or shouldn’t be. They are driven by the decisions of Councillors who determine how much is needed to run the town. This is the one and only criteria the Council should use.
They shouldn’t look at the market, they shouldn’t look at assessment growth, they shouldn’t look at how much individual townspeople can afford, they shouldn’t look at who they like and who they don’t like, they shouldn’t decide which of their favoured groups in the town needs money, they should ONLY look at what is needed to give residents the services they require.
The mayor says he wonders how the town will be able to attract volunteers to its boards and committees ” if there is continued negativity. ..”
We say, get out of the way and watch. We feel with a new open Council there will be a surplus of people willing to give their expertise.
The reaction of several hundred ratepayers against proposed changes to the draft municipal planning strategy led to a vacuum.“
Sorry, have no idea what he means here by a vacuum.
“There were a number of people whose opinions were not constructive. “
Translation. They didn’t agree with us [meaning the administration]
“A lot of those involved felt they beat a lot of people [sic], so my question is how do your repair the fabric of the community? This has never happened before.”
Translation. My feelings were hurt and the vision I had of a unified community was torn. We hate to reveal this Bob, but your feeling about the nature of the community was only in your head . It was never what you thought it was. It is not torn; it is what it is, a multiplicity of ideas and interests most of which were being ignored.
The article goes on to discuss Maple Avenue drainage issues which are important.
“We’ll need cooperation. Water runs downhill. I know I have the most sophisticated sump pump system in town.”
And he mentions the Greenwich land annexation issue.
“A good deal of study will be required before town Council takes any kind of stance, he added.”
Talking as if he will still be in the chair.
The mayor suggests that recent controversy has engaged the citizenry. “They’re very active now and before they were kind of sleepy and lazy”
Really? You mean they didn’t come out in their hundreds then. No, they came one by one over 2 terms with their concerns and suggestions and issues which were mainly ignored. Now all those who feel left out or not consulted have come together with others and guess what- there are hundreds and hundreds.
And here is another admission. “Ratepayer involvement kept the budget lean this spring.”
Why? Don’t we vote in a Council to do this for us every year, keep the budget lean? And he offers us a promise of new taxes if he is returned.
Stead notes ” in an election year you can’t raise taxes, but costs are increasing when you have multi year agreements. The cost of fuel has doubled.”
Multi-year agreements they committed the Town to. And if there was no slack why or how could they agree to cut the budget so drastically. AND we specifically looked in the budget (before it was cut) for allowances for increased fuel costs. We couldn’t find any.
We are sorry to see that Mayor Stead is reversing his earlier wise decision to step aside and let someone else have a go. Instead he faces what looks like a very aggressive campaign against him and a painful loss. He does not take criticism well describing recent objections to the policies he supports as his being “stoned” or “beaten up”. He will perhaps regret taking others counsel and going against his own first, and we think correct, instinct.
We would expect the mayor and every councillor to put changes to the MPS and the LUB on their platform in October if they agree with them. These changes should not be approved before the election but instead should require a mandate from the electorate in our view.