CFBB OPINION: Avoid any Sister City Agreements
For the Mayors’ staff not to communicate properly with the rest of Council is unacceptable. The December 20th press release was a clear contravention to Council’s resolution and could very well be in violation of the City’s own Code of Conduct. Mayor Jeffrey and Councillor Medeiros are the architects of this controversy and should make a formal apology to Brampton’s Tamil community for misleading them to think a Sister City agreement was forthcoming. Just like the recent Sister City Agreement with the Town of Ribeira Grande , Sao Miguel, Portugal, CFBB feels that there has been little evidence over the years of any real economic benefit to the City of Brampton with these types of arrangements. In our opinion, these politically motivated sister city agreements are just vote pandering and an excuse for Council members to take junkets at the taxpayers’ expense. In our opinion, the best policy moving forward should be to avoid any new sister city agreements entirely. Don’t we have more important matters for our Mayor and Council to focus their attention on?
Chris Bejnar and Doug Bryden
OPINION – CFBB supports Durham Health Coalition’s call for the Province to address Hospital bed shortages
We would like to share an Editorial from Durham Region.com (Oshawa This Week) with our followers.
The editorial highlights a serious issue that CFBB has raised repeatedly over the past few years, that Brampton is the most underserviced Top 10 city in Canada with less than 1.0 bed per 100,000 residents. It is also the ONLY city with ONE ER department, an unacceptable situation! (National average is approximately 2.3 beds per 100,000 residents)
In 2017 we will be opening a new healthcare facility with NO additional beds, and we just recently received $6 million of funding to FINALLY open all 608 promised beds at Brampton Civic. The additional beds, CFBB have confirmed, will take anywhere from 6-9 months before fully operational, a full decade since Brampton Civic opened its doors!
Once again, we are calling upon Mayor Jeffrey, Council, and all of our Liberal Brampton MPP’s to demand that Peel Memorial Phase 2 planning commence immediately which will include a second ER with a minimum of 200 inpatient beds.
Chris Bejnar and Doug Bryden
January 13, 2017
CFFB Opinion – A “confusing” Sister City Agreement with Vavuniya , Sri Lanka.
It looks like Professionalism, Accountability and Transparency might have been good New Year’s resolutions that should have been made by our Mayor and her staff for 2017.
In the attached Media Release issued by Mayor Jeffrey and Councillor Medeiros dated December 20, 2016, (since removed from the city’s website), the Mayor officially extended an official invitation to His Excellency C.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister, Northern Province, Sri Lanka, to visit Brampton to sign a “Sister City” agreement with Vavuniya, a city in Sri Lanka with approximately 70,000 residents. She did so without an approval by Council. Now, given the backlash, she has had to backtrack, resulting in considerable embarrassment to herself and the City.
Why does the City not have an established policy on not only what qualifications would be necessary to consider a potential Sister City relationship, but what are the economic and social benefits that would result from that relationship? To date, sister/friendship agreements from the past have yet to show any measurable economic benefits to our city. Why spend staff’s and Council’s time on such wasteful initiatives?
This matter surely does not rank very high on the list of important matters to spend precious time and energy on, given the significant outstanding issues to which the Mayor should be turning her attention.
Link to December 7th, 2016 Economic Development meeting minutes:
Doug Bryden and Chris Bejnar
January 11, 2017
CFBB Response to passage of 3.3% Budget increase
CFBB is pleased to see that Council specifically listened to public comments and concerns expressed during the budget process. Quashing or deferring expenditures focused on employee betterments such as a dedicated exercise and fitness centre , large common area TV screens, Councillor office budgets and phasing in office renovations was an appropriate response to the public message that optics relating to accountability and responsibility matter.
The special levy of 2% included in the 2017 budget begins to address past deferrals of much needed infrastructure up-grades in the City, a situation bedeviling many communities across the province facing the same infrastructural needs.
It is our hope that Council will be addressing the need for property tax reform in order to address the thousands of investment properties that do not contribute their fair share for infrastructure and city services. Any future tax levies that will be required for provincial responsibilities should also be carefully considered moving forward.
It will not be easy, perhaps even possible to keep taxes at or below the rate of inflation, given that the community is growing so quickly and we have this huge infrastructural backlog to take care of.
When the Region of Peel and the School Board requirements are combined with the local tax levy, the overall impact on the taxpayer results in a property tax increase of 2.3%.
Altogether, CFBB feels that this is a responsible budget for the City of Brampton in 2017. However we feel that more work will need to be done next year.
We thank both staff and Council for their dedication and considerable efforts on behalf of the taxpayer.