But Has Very Little Say In How That Money – OUR TAX MONEY – Is Being Spent, So We Are Being Told
By Doug Draper
Posted January 31, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Here’s a bit of a quiz for you?
Name a public body that gets to bill our Niagara regional government for more than eight and a half million dollars annually of our municipal tax money to cover most of its budget, yet doesn’t have to get a lick of approval from our Region’s council for its budget?
It doesn’t even have to offer our regional councillors much in the way of details on how that money is being spent.
Wouldn’t you know it? That body is oh so infamous Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).
And this January 31st, the NPCA’s alleged acting CAO, David Barrick, appeared before the Region’s budget review committee to outline what the Conservation Authority has chosen to let our duly elected regional councillors know, and to avoid disclosing details requested by councillors on some of the rest.
Just as an example, when Niagara Region’s chair, Jim Bradley, asked Barrick during the budget committee meeting why the NPCA would not make public the salaries of NPCA administrators making more than $100,000 annually – just as many other government bodies are required to do each year under the province’s so-called “sunshine” rules – Barrick answered that there is no requirement for the NPCA to do it.
“Why wouldn’t you publish them anyway,” asked Bradley again, “just to have our own sunshine in the Niagara region?”
Barrick then responded that the province told the Conservation Authority that information shouldn’t be released.
“The public will be frustrated with that answer,” Bradley said.
And so it went on, whether it was a question from councillors about amounts of money the NPCA has spent on legal costs or other items of business.
Toward the end of it all, Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop said he finds it interesting that Barrick had come before the Region’s committee with a budget approved this past November by members of the NPCA’s old board – many of whom were defeated a month earlier, in last October’s municipal elections.
And yet, regional councillors are now being told that they have no choice but to accept the request that old board made for more money from the Region’s coffers anyway.
Niagara At Large will be adding to this story this February 1st.
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