A very taxing question:
Who is accountable at city and regional councils when $1.4 million of taxpayer dollars are handed over to correct an expensive income-tax debacle dating back to 2006 that involves freebie parking spots for generously-paid municipal employees?
Unfortunately it’s frustrated taxpayers who are once again hit in the wallets – not the elected representatives who are supposed to act as watchdogs of municipal spending nor the financial experts employed by Kitchener, Waterloo and regional councils who you would assume might be a familiar with the basics of income-tax laws.
When the issue involving tax-related benefits was exposed by the Waterloo Region Record, Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr — an accountant — said the situation that cost the city $400,000 was “regrettable” but one that has been corrected by council.
Regional Chairman Ken Seiling seemed to see little wrong with taxpayers shelling out $800,000 to pay off outstanding tax bills for employees and a similar attitude to public spending was evident at Waterloo city hall where taxpayers — not employees — were stung with a $155,000 bill.
Needless to say such embarrassing pre-election blunders were handled by Kitchener and the Region in meetings that were closed to the press and public.
Small wonder people stop voting and become cynical about local government when they watch money being squandered at a time when thousands are feeling insecure about their jobs or are still unemployed as the economy starts to recover.
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