TODAY'S LETTERS: Missing hydro millions; Taxes driving away seniors

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What did North Bay do with $25M from hydro?

The following is in response to the letter Council lacks empathy, driving people from city, which appeared Feb. 9.

To the editor:

The 2016 census shows that 20 per cent of our population in North Bay is 65 years and older.

Given this statistic, it is reasonable to expect that within the next decade or so some 10,000 to 15,000 of us us will be pushing up daisies. Any expectation that we can grow the population by some 5,000 to 20,000 is quite unrealistic.

A tax increase anywhere between four and eight per cent is two to four times the rate of inflation. I would ask the deputy mayor to explain why, during the past two elections, tax increases were less than two per cent and now, after the election, she is demanding an eight per cent increase.

Could the deputy mayor inform taxpayers what happened to the $25 million that was paid to the City of North Bay by North Bay Hydro? Could she also inform taxpayers how much money was collected from the ticket surcharge to repay the $5 million owed to the North Bay Battalion? My guess would be between $2-million and $3-million short.

The city is now trying to sell a contaminated lot on lake Nipissing for $25,000, which cost taxpayers close to $5 million. But worse, the city actually bought that lot even though there is no market for contaminated property.

The deputy mayor is obviously in over her head.

But, ultimately, it is you, the taxpayers, who are responsible as you keep re-electing a majority of the incumbents unlike I. In the past three elections, I have not voted for more than two of the incumbents. In other words, anyone but …

Claude Fortier

North Bay

8% levy hike will drive away North Bay seniors

The following is in response to the letter Council lacks empathy, driving people from city, which appeared Feb. 9.

To the editor:

The older people are headed out of our community to places that are not familiar to them. We need funding to keep the elderly in the homes they already live in. We have a shortage of retirement homes to house people.

To create spaces for older people seems to have come to a halt. In my opinion, it would make more sense to help people to stay in their homes when it makes sense financially to do so.

We don’t need to put our older citizens into crisis. I won’t vote again for anyone who is part of an eight per cent tax increase. Look to make cuts in other places.

Do your homework for these very important people in our community that have already paid their dues over the years. In my opinion, you won’t find a better taxpayer.

Terry Gallipeau

North Bay

Silence, secrecy added to ‘broken board’

The following is in response to the article Near North District School Board quiets its trustees.

To the editor:

Given the incredible legacy and relationships that the Near North District School Board has provided this community over the years, foremost the best levels of schooling possible for our youth, as well as its commitment to an array of community partners, especially the parents, their children and the media, this, in my opinion, is not the time for a new set of communications guidelines as outlined in a recent Nugget article from the board.

These guidelines are not addressing and will not address the more serious problems of a broken board. The added secrecy and silence would further be in no one’s best interest, but rather strain the relationships and partnerships with parents, students and the media looking for renewal on many levels.

These guidelines merely reinforce and continue the painful secrecy and silence of their former counterparts and appear to further shroud and promote unilateral decision-making and control of their obligations to education as a whole versus inclusion.

With the Near North board intending to silence trustees under these guidelines, they will join many other parents and community partners and media who have faced similar longstanding secrecy and silence.

As a candidate, there were many issues that the education director refused to answer because of the election. However, the time is ripe for those who also ran and were elected that those questions can and should now be answered.

There is no question in my mind that those elected over time can move this board onward and upward, and that your choice, Jay Aspin for chairman, will be an important leader and resource on that team locally and provincially.

Clearly all candidates are aware of the operating deficiencies of the board and are ready and committed to take tough measures to correct them, whether it be in developing and adhering to a strong governance model, implementing a total change in culture that promotes accountability, transparency and open communications, or fully developing and adhering to a multi-year plan and many others important to the goal of renewal.

It disturbs me that trustees will be silenced and that the media is not being treated as the partner for the public forum it provides. The relationship with the local media, at times at odds, has always been one that has been mutually respectful and we all have benefitted from it. Do we want to relegate the media to a more token role with your new guidelines?

In the end, it is always important to try to do the right things for the right reasons. This is owed to the parents, and students whom you were elected. What really matters is the truth. In the same way that students are subjected to a code of behaviour and held accountable, how can we not hold all to a similar code of behaviour and be held accountable at any level or job in education we have?

At this time, we need to learn to work together for the good of all and renewal, not only in our education, but all facets of our community. We can educate contributing members of our society as well as caring and sympathetic individuals willing to be part of the solution not the problem. It can and should start with us as educators.

Frank O’Hagan

North Bay

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