Letter to the Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR - BILL PRATT

Major change is coming in our town council.

We could end up with only one member of the present council being returned to office.

In the mayoralty race we lose at least one, possibly two, of our stronger council members.

We lose another in the run for deputy-mayor.

We could possibly lose two more of our present members in the run for council seats.

That makes your vote very important for the future of our town. SO VOTE!

The Chamber of Commerce performed a valuable service to voters by holding the all-candidates night. There was a sizable crowd on hand to hear presentations by candidates and to meet with them individually.

However, there were few questions from the floor to focus on the what, whys and how of dealing with perceived community problems – or visions for the future.

Some thoughts:

There is nothing so common in political campaigning as debt and taxes. But, debt and taxes are inevitable if we are serve public needs. Sure, you have to pay for what you get, but don't over sweat it.

Individuals go in debt – homes, cars, education and the buy-now-pay-later promotions.

Business types go in debt – to buy a business, improve, expand, equipment and cover the drought periods between producing and selling product or service.

So what do municipalities do? Spend nothing and let things collapse around us? Tax today to pay for tomorrow's projects – building up a zillion dollar reserve fund? Proceed with necessary projects today and assess taxes tomorrow?

Taxes? It's not just what we pay, but what we get for our money.

Do we have the most efficient form of management structure? Should a new council take a hard look at the way things are being run? Should we return control of some operations to volunteer boards and commissions – sort of "privatizing" things like the cemetery, museum, arenas, community centre, airport, etc.? Council would still have overall control, through budgets if nothing else.

In recent years did you sometimes get the feeling that council was allowing the hired hands free reins to run the ranch, while they focused on selling the back forty to pay down the mortgage?

Can there be a means to better council oversight of staff decisions to prevent things like the sign silliness and the computer servicing fiasco? (What the heck does IT mean – intellectual termination?) Can there be a management committee of council to work directly with top executives? We elect a council to run things. They hire the staff.

Do we look more and more at letting the county run things? Tillsonburg abuts four municipalities in three counties. All form part of our greater community. Folks are "Tillsonburgers" even if they don't live right in town.

Shouldn't good planning involve working closely with our neighbor municipalities?

Do folks in the county centres actually give a hoot about us in the tail-end of the three counties?

Example. Woodstock council got in a snit over a Norwich home being hooked to the Tillsonburg sewer system. Jeez! Don't tell them that the sewer line goes through a corner of Norwich and serves businesses in Norfolk! Or that we allow Norfolk water to be imported for town use! Or that street letter delivery extends into the urbanized corner of Norfolk!

Doesn't it make practical sense to have services centered in Tillsonburg extend into the greater community?

Final question:

Would we get more persons interested in running for office if terms were cut to two years? Is a four-year term too big a commitment for some top-line potential candidates?

Bill Pratt,

Tillsonburg

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