Municipal Councils tell Chiarelli and Wynne “enough is enough”!!!

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

Mpp’s have voiced their disapproval of the Ontario Energy “gouging” that is taking place across Ontario up to this point but now Mayors and Councillors from Municipalities have had enough and are now going after the Provincial Government through the Ontario Ombudsman in order to try and save their very townships from Bankruptcy!

Macmillan protests hydro hike

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today January 12, 2014
Hector Macmillan
Hector Macmillan
TRENT HILLS – Hearing Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli predict that electricity costs may rise 40% over the next five years was the last straw for Trent Hills Mayor Hector Macmillan.
At their Jan. 7 meeting, Trent Hills council authorized Macmillan to take his concerns to the Ontario Ombudsman. Two days later, he wrote a letter that did just that.
Recalling Chiarelli’s words, the mayor said in a recent interview, “probably for one of the few times in my life, I was shocked speechless.
“Sandy and I have a small business we have operated over 20 years, and it won’t survive with an increase like that,” he continued.
Macmillan’s time as Northumberland County warden taught him a lot about social services and the needs they address of seniors, people on fixed incomes and especially the working poor. He is concerned how such a hike will affect them.
“They aren’t on social assistance, they have one or more jobs, they can barely make ends meet, they are just on the edge,” he said.
“We always talk about fixed incomes, but these are uncontrollable expenses. You can talk about shutting off the lights, but what do they do after that? The delivery charges keep going up.”
After the downloading of the Harris years, Macmillan could say a lot of good things about what the Liberal government has done for municipalities.
“But since the gas-plant scandals and now the proposal to increase hydro, I’ve lost my cool. They have lost me. There seems to be a huge disconnect between what their job is and what the taxpayer expects.”
There’s a good reason we need provincial and federal government behind such big-scale services as hydro, Macmillan said — municipalities can’t afford them otherwise, as they don’t have access to the same big revenue streams. It seems the province is tending toward more of a user-pay cost-recovery system that would be untenable for the users.
“People can’t afford it. We are still struggling to cope with the 50% rise over the last nine years,” he said.
“The Northumberland Manufacturing Association will tell you all about Global Adjustment charges they have to pay. Sometimes they can be three times as much as the hydro bill,” he said, referring to one local company that recently had to pay a monthly hydro bill of $19,000 plus a $68,000 Global Adjustment surcharge.
“Add another 40% on top of that, and it’s goodbye factory, goodbye jobs, goodbye economy. That’s not fear-mongering. That’s just realistic.”
When the Ombudsman contacts him, Macmillan intends to point out that the story doesn’t begin and end with Hydro One. The other pieces of the puzzle, like OPG and everyone responsible for making the price of this service as high as it is, should be looked at.
While the front-line men and women do a wonderful job, especially in this terrible weather, Macmillan said, “I am talking about senior management. We have heard about huge settlements and bonuses for senior people who are leaving — I’m sick of paying for it. It’s time for it to stop.
“I will be having that exact conversation with the Ombudsman, should he contact me.”
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Comments
  1. Wow! Since I live right next-door in Hastings County and am familiar with previous statements from Hector MacMillan, this sure seems a sudden and shocking conversion in his thinking. This brings several questions to mind:

    Question #1: Since Mr. MacMillan now seems worried about unwarranted costs to the people and is seeking the ear of the Ontario Ombudsman, does this mean that his council will now dump LAS as their private municipal watchdog and start using the services of the Ontario Ombudsman instead?

    Background on this topic, from the Ontario Ombudsman Jan 14, 2014:
    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/01/14/secret_meeting_investigation_landscape_a_platypus.html

    A more localized blast from the past, on the same topic:
    http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Newsroom/Ombudsman-in-the-News/2008/Why-are-municipalities-spending-money-this-way–(T.aspx

    More on this topic, courtesy of a well-informed blogger from Brighton, a member municipality of the Northumberland County “upper tier” (and according to the database on the Ontario Ombudsman’s site at http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Investigations/Municipal-Meetings/Who-We-Oversee-Municipal.aspx — the Northumberland County council also chose to use LAS, as did Hector MacMillan’s “lower tier” member municipality of Trent Hills):
    http://www.smilingidiot.com/brighton-council-prefers-to-pay-for-services-they-can-get-for-free-why/
    http://www.smilingidiot.com/brighton-council-spent-200k-legal-fees-two-half-years/

    =

    Question #2: Since Mr. MacMillan’s current concerns seem focused on skyrocketing electricity bills and the “gas plant scandal” costs to Ontario’s consumers, will he be the first municipal representative appointed to OUR local Crowe Valley Conservation Authority’s 10-member Board Directors to bring forth a motion at their February 2014 meeting that would withdraw their Nov 2011 support for the so-called “Marmora Pumped Storage Project” proposed by Northland Power?

    Background on this topic: Here’s the relevant excerpt from the local media on Sept 26, 2013, that followed my 2nd delegate presentation to this Board during 2013:
    Trent Hills Mayor Hector Macmillan spoke of the current subsidies for green energy projects, saying he would rather see more of those constructed rather than the costlier nuclear power plants. He suggested, “If we don’t get more involved with innovative projects like this in Ontario we are going to see more nuclear power plants being constructed.”

    (apparently Mr. MacMillan didn’t “get” my concerns about their endorsement contributing towards Northland Power getting the sought 40-yr contract “to be capable of running” BEFORE obtaining all approvals, which could result in a future need for contract cancellation after-the-fact to keep Northland Power “whole”?)

    =

    Question #3: Since Mr. MacMillan’s current concerns seem rooted in the lack of accountability to consumers & taxpayers, will he be the first municipal representative among our local Crowe Valley Conservation Authority’s 10-member Board Directors to insist that the majority disapproval demonstrated by people from throughout our watershed at the public meeting of October 25 be respected (see my Oct 25 speech transcripts here: http://www.hamiltonsgarage.com/marmora_green/images/pdfs/cvca/speech25Oct2013.pdf ) — along with the Board’s subsequent vote that had turned down a motion seeking approval of a proposal from big-city Quinte Conservation Authority for their future “operation of CVCA” (quoted description from Sandy Fraser, in a local media article about the July 20, 2013 Crowe Lake Waterway Association’s AGM ).

    Background on this topic: Contrast local media excerpts following that Oct 25, 2013 public meeting with the more recently demonstrated “strategic sub-committee” members’ apparent determination to repeatedly attempt to shove the proposal from Quinte Conservation through anyway (which raises the additional question: Why did they hold that public meeting in the first place?):

    From Oct 2013:
    http://www.communitypress.ca/2013/10/29/crowe-quinte-merger-cooled
    “When push came to shove, conservation authority members here chose maintaining service levels over saving money.”

    http://www.insidebelleville.com/news-story/4186485-motion-to-enter-service-agreement-fails/
    “Hector MacMillan suggested the board continue with the creation of an agreement with QCA, moving that “The board consider all public comments and that the sub committee further investigate the service agreement and report to the Full Authority Board on November 7. The resulting recorded vote, which was not weighted, ended in a tie which as Rand indicated, meant that it failed.”

    From Dec 19, 2013:
    http://www.insidebelleville.com/news-story/4281268-conservation-authority-unveils-new-logo/
    “The matter of having Quinte Conservation involved in a service agreement with CVCA, which was turned down during a well attended meeting held in the Marmora Town Hall on October 25, arose again with Gerow saying that his council unanimously felt there was merit in the proposal but that it hadn’t been completed. It was suggested by the Chair that perhaps a motion relating to the issue could be drafted for the next meeting.”

  2. BIX says:

    We must convince the city-slicker-greenies who support this government that their standard of living is on the way down bc of the inept criminal activities of the Liberals. Really, how stupid can
    you be to support an unelected leader who continues to support the biggest global scam (wind turbines & solar) in history.
    Yes, our rates are going up by 42% but don’t forget the ridiculous rate increases that have already taken place. This government should be tarred and feathered and then locked up.

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