Well, today was the day that Regina City Council was looking for your input Regina!! Where were you? The Executive Committee held a special meeting tonight, to review the 2013 proposed City Budget. But...where was everyone? Is it that everyone is just that happy with taking the 4.45% (+0.45% RRI) tax increase, or is it more to the fact that the City did a piss-poor job on getting the word out to the general public about this special meeting? Or is it more to do with taxpayer apathy, in that they are so pissed off at City Council for not listening to them when they voted, or when they signed the petition, or when they voiced their immense displeasure with so many things that City Council does wrong in Regina, that they figured there was no sense in addressing a bunch of people who already have their minds made up and will only pretend to listen to you, and then insult you after you address them?
What ever the reason is, I don't blame you. It's sad, truly, truly sad, that the City Council goes to hold this special budget meeting at a very unusual time, that not even the traditional media knew when the meeting was being held (well, at least Prairie Dog thought it was 11:45, and I don't blame them because that's when these meetings USUALLY are, and virtually no one can attend those meetings in the middle of the day - deliberate?). They did a horrible job at getting the word out about when this meeting was, and sadly, it showed in the attendance tonight. The only way I knew about it was because I am a die-hard watcher of the City site, and I know where to look. There was no big post about it on their website, no special announcements on TV, nothing. You'd think they would want as much public input as possible....or not. Ignore the statement that Mayor Fougere made to the media tonight about "we were expecting this meeting to have a lot of public input on the process", because really, if that were the case, they would have made better efforts of informing the general public about it. Of course he has to make a big deal of it now, to make it look like the process is "so transparent" and "it's not our fault you didn't come to complain". They ignore the fact that most taxpayers are pissed off and upset and afraid to address Council. They ignore the fact that they actually CAN deliberate in this meeting about their concerns that they allegedly heard on the doorsteps during the election. As elected officials, they do have a duty to listen to their constituents, and rather than waiting for people to call them to complain, perhaps they could be proactive and ask their constituents what they would like to see addressed.
In the end, there is another meeting to discuss/review the 2013 City of Regina budget, where they are proposing a 4.45% property tax hike, plus the 0.45% RRI tax hite, plus the 9% Water rate hike, plus the Recycling fee beginning in July, plus whatever other fees they will introduce because of the RRI. This will be held on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from what they said tonight, presumably at 5:30PM. I encourage you all to get to that meeting and make your voices heard! Don't worry if you think they won't listen, at least get your voices heard. The more they hear from you, the more they may eventually take you seriously and actually act in a finacially responsible way. There is no reason they have to go to you, the taxpayer, for this tax hike. They DO HAVE OPTIONS, including taking from the reserve, increasing debt, or....and this is a pretty unusual idea....cutting expenses. I suggested to them tonight, with not a single question from them, to go back to the Regina Police, RROC, Regina Library, REAL, and their own departments, and ask each of them to reduce their proposed budgets by even 1%. I highly doubt anyone will do this, but hey, stranger things have happened!
In closing, please, if you haven't already, check out the "Save Our Stadium" page on this website for full details on the Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group's Day of Awareness, which will be held Monday, January 28, 2013 from 4-5pm in front of City Hall. This is a demonstration about far more than just the Stadium, to show to the citizens of Regina, and City Council, that there are far more pressing issues that desperately need to be addressed in Regina, well before any luxury item like the new stadium. PLEASE do share this with as many people as you can. We already have some great folks signed up both on our Facebook event page, and outside of it, with some prominent names for those who know Regina's political landscape well.
Have a grrrrrrrrreat Regina Day everyone!