Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Mayor Rob Burton Expenses 2012

In addition to these expenses, Mayor Burton also receives a yearly “Vehicle and Insurance” Allowance totalling $9000 per year.

282.13 — FCM Awards Feb 8, 2012 – Air Fare – Air Canada
50.00 — Women of Halton Action Movement – tickets
65.00 — Halton Region Chinese Canadian – Chinese New Year’s
110.00 — Oakville Sports Hall of Fame – tickets
35.62 — Oakville Chamber of Commerce -lunch with Dalton McGuinty
35.62 — Oakville Chamber of Commerce – lunch with Peter Kent
61.06 — EB Breakfast with Tom Mitchell
50.00 — Canadian Caribbean Association – Dinner/Draw
26.55 — Community Spirit Award – Ticket for W. Burton
65.00 — Club Filipino of Oakville – Dinner Dance
60.00 — Home Suite Hope – 2012 Empty Bowls
30.53 — Oakville Chamber of Commerce – Economic Outlook
871.51 — Total Mayor Burton

Of $3700 per year that Councillors are entitled to spend, Mayor Burton spent $871.51 or 23.6% of his total budget.

Categories: Council, Election 2014, Finance

POLL: Should Councillor expenses be posted online on a quarterly basis?

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

In Ontario, Councillors of municipalities are required to  post their expenses at least once per year. However, in municipalities such as the City of Toronto or Markham, a detailed report of Councillor expenses are posted on the municipalities website on a quarterly basis (every 3 months).

In Oakville, Councillor expenses are only posted once per year, and the report lacks any significant detail about where taxpayer dollars were spent.

The 2011 report regarding Town of Oakville Councillor salaries and expenses can be viewed here.

In comparison, a detailed quarterly report from the City of Toronto can be viewed here.

As you can see, in Toronto, Councillors are required to report expenses in a variety of categories (telecom, office equipment etc.) However, in Oakville Councillors are only required to report expenses in one category: Community Outreach and Professional Development.

In addition, in Toronto, Councillors are also required to post receipts or invoices from any goods or services purchased with their annual budget allowance. In sharp contrast, if a citizen of the Town of Oakville wanted to view a detailed report of expenses incurred by Town Council, they are required to submit a “Freedom of Information Request”, for which the Town of Oakville charges a fee. The Town of Oakville charges a base fee of $5.00 for each Freedom of Information Request, as well as $0.20 per page in photocopying and $60 per hour for the time that it takes a staffer to search for the required information.
Essentially, you are being charged by the Town of Oakville in order to find out how Town Council is spending your money.

Should the Town of Oakville begin to post a detailed description of each individual expense incurred by Councillor’s on a quarterly basis, or should we maintain the status quo?

Council votes to continue $105,000 election rebate program

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Mayor Rob Burton and Town Council voted unanimously to continue the $105,000 program.

Oakville Town Council voted on May 28 to continue the Campaign Contribution Rebate Program despite a report from the Town Clerk urging the discontinuation of the program.

The program, which cost the taxpayers of the Town of Oakville $105,606 in 2010, enables individuals who contribute to a candidate during a municipal election campaign to receive a 50% rebate for their contribution. The program was created prior to the 2003 Municipal Election on the recommendation of the Citizen’s Task Force. The original goals of the program were to encourage candidate participation, increase the proportion of individual contributions to candidate campaigns, and to increase the voter turnout in municipal elections in Oakville. Based on the Clerk’s report, none of these goals were actually met.

44 candidates put their names forward for election in 2003. This number remained the same in the 2010 election. Compared to the 2006 election, total candidate contributions decreased by $91,855 or 27.7%.

The Clerk’s report urged that the program be discontinued for the 2014 Municipal Election by stating that it could not “be concluded that the 2010 rebate program met the objectives established by the Citizens Task Force in 2003”.

The report also states that “the number of candidates participating in the municipal election process has not been impacted as per the goal of the program”.

Amongst other municipalities who offer this program which include Ajax, Toronto, Markham, Ottawa, Vaughan and Whitby, the Town of Oakville saw the greatest increase in rebates. For the 2010 Municipal Election, Oakville saw a 212% increase from 2006 in the amount of rebates paid. The City of Toronto ranked second with a 74% increase. The rest of the municipalities either had a decrease or were only offering this program for the first time in 2010.

Councillor Tom Adams voted in support of the program and expressed his view that “the program was more successful in issuing rebates than in 2006 and thereby supporting donations by residents to the electoral process”. However, the Clerk’s report states that the overall contributions for the 2010 Municipal Election decreased $91, 855 or 27.7%.

Amongst the Clerk’s recommendations for the program were to establish a requirement for an audited financial statement prior to the Town issuing a rebate. The Clerk stated that this requirement “ensures appropriate financial oversight of the allocation of tax base funds”.

A motion was made by Ward 2 Town Councillor Pam Damoff to adopt this measure, but Council ultimately decided against this requirement. Amongst the other municipalities who offer this program, all of them require an audited financial statement, with the exception of Ajax and Whitby.

Since contributors would be more likely to donate to the campaign of an existing member of Council, the continuation of this program supports the re-election of incumbent members of the Council of the Town of Oakville and does nothing to encourage the candidacy of potential Councillors.

Since the institution of the program, the Town of Oakville has paid $122,318 in rebates to contributors of municipal campaigns. 64% of that figure was paid during the 2010 Municipal Election. If the amount of rebates continue to rise at their current rate, the Town of Oakville will pay over $165,000 in rebates after the 2014 Municipal Election.