Colucci Misses The Mark
By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – If nothing else a shout out is deserved to the city of Windsor financial guru. There he was in a story that the Windsor Star posted on August 7, 2012 talking about “’Sometimes the right thing to do is the right thing to do,’ said Windsor treasurer Onorio Colucci, whose department is recommending council join the petitioning of Ontario’s ministry of finance for the change.”
Colucci and his financial wizards down at city hall are apparently suggesting that the inwards on city council get on board and join other communities to try and beat up the province to have it pay more money for something known as heads and beds. This is simply the money the province pays municipalities in lieu of taxes for city services such as water and sewers.
According to Colucci, as reported the Star, “’They’re paying us because they avail themselves of municipal services … those costs have gone up over the past 25 years,’ said Colucci.”
As unbelievable as it sounds this is a problem for Colucci. Nice one Onorio, for sure. We should all feel appropriately amused at the comments from the treasurer given he sits at the financial helm of the city and guides it through the often murky waters of money but doesn’t really understand what he is doing and manages to shed crocodile tears in front of taxpayers.
The big question that Colucci will probably deny answering, just like the acting police chief denied answering questions from CTV when the station’s newscasters sought comment on a civilian beat when he was down by a police officer, is why he stays at the helm and lets the city take on risky ventures for which it collects no taxes.
First, despite private investors wanting to build a brand new arena with, get this, a Wayne Gretzky G99 Restaurant and more, the city said no way. No way did it want the property tax revenue – the heads and beds from that building and that it was best, possibly to massage a few egos – not the same as couples massages paid for by an inward councilor using a library-issue credit card – for the city to go it alone get no revenue and be faced with mounting operating expenses.
Second, Colucci is standing back allowing the inwards on council to build a magnificent half-baked swimming pool and water park that will generate no tax revenue and, like the arena, subject the city to operating costs. In the case of the pool there was ample opportunity to share the risk and costs with other organizations particularly given some of the elite swimmers who will use it are from the county.
As to building a water theme park and entering the entertainment business Colucci really missed the mark there. Is it he would rather be some kind of impresario using taxpayer money instead of doing what was right and objecting? He is a professional chartered accountant, and he could have told the inwards that more than likely if the water theme park is a good deal there would probably be a few private sector investors who would build the thing and gladly pay the city property taxes.
If the inwards had done either, then Colucci, busy counting the money, or beans or something, probably in the basement of the hall would expect to be a lot busier and the city itself would have more revenue.
Instead, that the city has less money than it needs to pay for white elephants it is now the province’s fault and not that of the reckless selfish inwards on council who want to do everything on their own no matter what it costs taxpayers.
How does Colucci sleep at night? Does he not accept that he is at the helm and is allowing the inwards to put taxpayer money at risk and to eliminate any opportunity to have the private sector do things that could generate tax revenue that would benefit everyone.
No, the reality for Colucci is not sometimes to do the right thing but all the time and to show the inwards the benefit of his expertise and counsel and inform them that the city runs on tax revenue not pools and hockey rinks.
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