Who Knew Lansdowne 2.0 Is Free?

 

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe’s tweet below sounds like an argument against Lansdowne.

With such a bad economy and a looming recession, why are we spending $419 million on Lansdowne in a high-interest-rate environment? Why are we spending it at all? People would really like to know that, Your Worship. Not a bunch of bullfeathers and bafflegab and spin but the real reasons for this Lansdowne money being spent.

Tell us the truth because what’s written below flies in the face of your actions at Lansdowne. If you actually believe we should be keeping taxes down, why the spending at Lansdowne? And if you have $419 million to throw around, why not spend it on better basic services? That’s what municipal government is about … not being a partner in a shopping centre.

Was the Lansdowne spending actually free and won’t show up some day on tax bills? What a surprise.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe is an acquaintance who your agent met at the Citizen, appeared on some of his shows and who I said hi to during strolling around Westboro.


Do The Math On Lansdowne Event Centre

The Mark Sutcliffe I know is a gentleman and a journalist. Sutcliffe was respected in the little community that is Ottawa local journalism.

Mark Sutcliffe would be a much more appealing (and electable) person if he stopped the spinning and toadying and went back to being Mark Sutcliffe. People over the years came to trust Sutcliffe as a voice of reason. That’s more important than listening to a bunch of self-interested politicians for advice.

Be Mark Sutcliffe. That’s a product that will sell very well. This new Mark Sutcliffe I don’t recognize.

Trust is easy to lose and almost impossible to get back.

 

Ken Gray

 —

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1 Response

  1. The Voter says:

    It would be useful to see what tax increases he’s pre-committed to for future budgets by approving Lansdowne 2.0.

    When you set a ceiling on the possible budget increase in advance and simultaneously have items that are locked in, you’ve reduced the room in your budget to cover increased costs or needed increased spending on other items. Instead of starting to build your budget from zero, you have to start with the pre-committed amounts already added in which leave less room for anything else.

    Given that the budget always has blocks that are not at the City’s discretion to alter, such as social assistance costs the rates for which are established by the province, you don’t start the budget creation process at zero ever. It looks as if the City has a budget of about $3B to work with but, once you remove the non-discretionary pieces, the City actually has very little room in the areas it can control. Adding any extra debt repayments reduces further the size of that relatively small window of money to cover services that residents depend on.

    This is beautifully illustrated by the situation that OC Transpo finds itself in at the moment. Because they are strapped in by pre-committed expenses and also boxed in by the 2.5% limit to increased funding through taxation, when they face declining revenues they have little choice but to resort to draining reserve funds and cutting services.

    In future years, the annual payments for the principal and interest on, give-or-take, half a billion dollars will be added to the non-discretionary side of the city budget. This means less money will be available for the city council of the day to pay for things like recreation programs and the like. The result of that shortfall may well be that cuts will be proposed to existing recreation programs as well as things like housing, snow removal and so on.

    A child was born yesterday. In 39 years, that child may run for Ottawa City Council and win a seat there. All the decisions made this month related to Lansdowne 2.0 as well as those over the past ten or so years on Lansdowne 1.0 will impact the City’s 2063 budget and the leeway that day-old baby will have to make decisions for the benefit of the community of the day.

    We need to recognize that the decisions of today have enormous impacts on future councils’ ability to govern the City they will inherit. Borrowed money isn’t free money, It has to be paid back, with interest, out of the revenues of a city that, forty years from now, may not even know what a ‘Redblack’ is or was.

    Yes, yes, yes – we live in parlous times. The pandemic. The housing crisis. Inflation. And on and on. But every Council since the City was created has dealt with its own crises, had its own ups and downs, and faced its own difficulties. The Councils of the future will face their own adversity and we should be dealing with ours rather than doing things which may well handicap those future Councils,

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