In the September 25, 2019, edition of the North Grenville Times your reporter, Hilary Thompson, posted an article about discussions taking place at the Merrickville-Wolford Council table.
Of the many comments that jumped out at me from the article, the comment from Mayor Doug Struthers to Deputy Mayor Mike Cameron is a concern. It reads “At the council meeting of September 9, Mayor Struthers told the Deputy Mayor that it was not respectful, and “borderline derogatory”, that he continues to ask staff about applying for grants”
Mayor Struthers is wrong.
How are the members of council supposed to do the job they were elected to do if they do not ask questions and receive professional, qualified answers to those questions? The mayor and council members are elected to oversee the operation of the municipality on behalf of the residents. Council is responsible for controlling finances and maintaining infrastructure. When Council members do not ask questions the public is not well served.
For example, in 2016 the new municipal auditor showed that Merrickville-Wolford in May 2014 had over-borrowed $1.2 million in funding the Sewage Treatment Plant, (Which becomes $2.2 million over the 30 year debenture period) putting an unnecessary burden on the backs of the water/sewer users.
The over-borrowing might not have happened if someone around the Council table simply asked “Why are we borrowing $1.2 million more than the actual cost of the plant?” Moreover, the hiring of a new and licensed auditor might have happened 3 years earlier if someone around the Council table had thought to ask if the then current auditor was licensed and if he could show poof of that.
For Deputy Mayor Cameron to be told he is “disrespectful and borderline derogatory” because he wants to know about grant applications is both wrong and insulting. This information should be coming to the council table so Council can see what money is being applied for, what money is being ignored, and why.