The residents and taxpayers of Oshawa have every right to be both mystified and outraged on learning about the $6.2 million settlement (and the $1.5 million city legal fees) related to the 12 year long transit dispute.
Despite the fact the city has a highly qualified financial management team, a legal department, an independent auditing firm, and a mayor and council; collectively they were unable to draft a by-law, and transfer agreement with the region, which considered and assigned all future financial liabilities. Their failure to do so has resulted in an expensive settlement which Oshawa taxpayers will have to absorb on their already excessive property tax bills.
Taxpayers should also be outraged at the mayor’s casual “sorry about that” attitude regarding the settlement. His assertion that it could have been worse is small consolation, and insulting, to the taxpayers who have to absorb this considerable expense on future property tax bills.
Yes, it could have been worse and it also could have been a lot better, and perhaps even avoided, if thorough due diligence and professional business acumen where exercised from the outset. In addition, the $1.5 million legal costs incurred by the city could also have been avoided or greatly reduced.
In the private sector, mistakes (bungling) of this nature and magnitude usually result in a change of management.
Taxpayers should give considerable thought as to whether they want this mayor and council to manage the city’s financial affairs.