Former councillor expresses dismay at lack of transparency

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an open letter to Assiginack mayor and council and has been reprinted here at the author’s request.

Dear Mayor Ham and Assiginack Councillors,

I attended the April 5 council meeting, knowing that the 2022 budget was on the agenda. I thought it would be interesting to hear you discuss your individual visions and what you felt was important to our town. I was absolutely shocked when less than 10 minutes later, with little to no discussion, the budget was passed without balancing the capital wishlist.

The list with all the capital projects that could/should be done was given to you with the instructions that, although the list totalled $1.2 million, you only had $271,000 to spend and you basically shrugged your shoulders. One councillor did question a few items, such as the anticipated cost of gravel this year and the need for a new firetruck (the pump is gone in the old truck.) At that point the treasurer informed you how they financed the last one, but no one seemed to be interested in pursuing that. One councillor felt that they didn’t need to fix the sidewalk to the beach this year and there was a very brief discussion about the state of the post office building and that was it. No direction, no guidance or leadership was offered by our mayor although he has years of experience in that role. No priorities for the year were set, no decisions reached, and the budget was passed with a wish list of $1.2 million.

I want you to know that I left that meeting upset by the appearance of how little you care about the wellbeing of our township.

You were elected as our leaders, our caretakers of our township. Can you not set priorities? Can you not make a decision? Can you not even give instructions to your staff to explore all options for the post office building and ask them to report back to you?

I believe it was truly inappropriate and disrespectful to the ratepayers of Assiginack and unfair to your staff to pass that budget without proper allocation of the monies you had to work with.

Brenda Reid

Manitowaning