Northeast Town should have offered voters a chance to weigh in on wish list

It is time for council to act on campaign promises by considering input of residents

An open letter to NEMI council:

After reading the various “wish list” items that council has been discussing, I continue to wonder why they are not soliciting any input from the public? That is not to say the items that were detailed are not valid. However, I find it frustrating that several municipalities went through the same electoral process last fall that we did, yet have still found the time and understand the value of including constituents in preliminary budget deliberations. In my opinion, this type of initiative represents ‘good business’—not to mention a willingness to listen to ideas that are generated by taxpayers.

Why could we not hold one meeting for the public, or have ward councilors set up a meeting for their own constituents (i.e. at the Museum for Wards 3-4, Library for Wards 1-2)—even an ad in the Expositor, asking for public input and/or submissions to be considered during budget discussions? In the end, why is the public not consulted (at all), before budget discussions?

To simply state that we already hold a public meeting after all of the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ of budget deliberations, seems to be procedural and routine—kind of a “we’ve been doing it this way for a long time” type of excuse. Why not try something different and new? What do we have to lose?

I consider some of the suggestions from the various “wish lists” such as replacing trees and adding washrooms at Sheguiandah Bay, then I weigh these with other ideas such as ditching, road maintenance or acquiring a new grader; several of the ideas listed on these “wish lists” span all ends of the taxation spectrum. Again, it seems reasonable and appropriate for managers and councilors to be asked for their priorities, yet at what point are we asking the residents who live in NEMI for their priorities?

Voters had the opportunity to send a message last fall by voting for a council based on a series of campaigns or ads that were published in the local media. It is now the time for council to act on these campaign promises, by considering the input of residents and making them an important part of the budget process before the final draft is completed! It’s a small (easy) step, yet in my opinion, one that would go a long way!

Mark Volpini

Ward 4 Resident

Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands