The Windsor Fire Department's membership is derived of town and county residents. If West Hants follows through with plans to terminate its service with the WFD, the county firefighters will still be welcome to stay on in Windsor.
This letter is a lament. My dictionary defines lament as a passionate expression of grief.
What I am grieving is the lack of municipal leadership at a time when our community is sinking fast into economic stagnation and financial crisis.
Hantsport has already succumbed to economic reality.
Both Windsor and West Hants councils seem to be living in a fantasy world where they have the luxury of playing silly political games while the citizens bleed from too high taxes and a failure to recognize taxpayers have our backs to the wall too.
(If West Hants residents are crowing about lower taxes just wait until they have to finance the construction and operation of their new fire service and the higher insurance rates that service will bring.)
I would ask both councils to:
• Look at the empty stores on Gerrish Street, with more to come shortly.
• Look and listen to residents and local businesses struggling to pay the heavy burden of taxation.
• Look at the empty buildings in our industrial park.
It makes no difference whether you are a townie or live in the municipality — our futures are forever bound together and we will succeed or fail together. We can’t have a prosperous town without a prosperous county and vice versa.
The town crows about lower taxes. But they hope residents will forget about heavy, new taxes for sewer use recently imposed.
For years, municipalities hid behind rising assessments to mask the rising tax burdens on people. With the cap program, this has been blunted, but old habits die hard.
Windsor council talks about shared services. This is, in my view, a dodge. West Hants hasn’t and won’t pay for its fair share of services like the town pool, library or community centre. It simply won’t happen and the council must get over it. West Hants council, rather than show leadership on the issue of fairness, is locked into a selfish exercise of “what’s in it for me.”
West Hants council has taken the bizarre and unsupportable step to acquire its own fire service at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars. Like children, they are taking their ball and going home. This is the same group that paid $500,000 for a property appraised for $200,000. I have never seen a satisfactory explanation of why West Hants overpaid for this property. Taxpayers should be outraged. At the very least, the warden should explain where the taxpayer’s money went — who, specifically, received the proceeds from the sale and how the council can justify such an outrageous overpayment.
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Are these the people you want overseeing construction and equipping of a fire department?
The province won’t likely step in and knock heads to get these councils to co-operate or perish. Politicians have enough problems of their own they don’t seek out and solve other’s problems.
If you ask 100 people in this area if we need one government here I am positive 98 people will say a resounding yes. So let’s get on with it.
What business would establish itself in this area when we are so badly governed by people more concerned about their own perks and power than the best interests of the residents?
So this is my lament. Windsor – West Hants is a tremendous place to live. We have great people and wonderful natural resources. Why, in this ideal setting, do we have a stagnating economy and out of control governments trying to spend our money in ways which make little sense?
I lament we can do little about this between elections. I have read the press quotes from the “leaders” involved and I can only say I am astonished to think our leaders think citizens are so stupid they will buy their feeble and unsupportable arguments.
I lament that I feel so betrayed by those in whom I placed my trust as municipal leaders.
Finally, I lament there seems to be an apathy among citizens, which will result in our leaders continuing to run around playing these silly games. It is somewhat ironic that I am tempted to use the phrase “the leaders are fiddling while Rome burns.” The irony lies in that we are dealing with fire services and the fact a fire set back development of this town many decades ago.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.