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City of Thunder Bay has become an employment office with 2800 full and part time employees

City of Thunder Bay has become an employment office with 2800 full and part time employees

Time to seriously addressed the high taxes and tax rates

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO   ~~~~~~  April 24, 2021   (LSN)  Since you officially became City Manager in 2016 you have not seriously addressed the high taxes and tax rates in Thunder Bay and why we have the second-highest taxes in the province. At tax time you simply mimic others that came before you and state that there are just two options. Increase taxes or reduce services.

 You are being paid handsomely to the tune of $265,759.00 and we ask " is the best you can do"? Why don't you roll up your sleeves and address the real problem?

The Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay has become an employment office with 2800 full and part time employees. Unheard of for a city this small. (The City of Thunder Bay's population is just 109,000 ) The recent Sunshine list tells the real story.

 Mr.Gale have you read the results of the new Sunshine list?  I don't mean just the first page where it lists your salary and the salaries of 20 other city employees.  I mean all 28 pages  that show that the Corporation of the City of  Thunder Bay has  559 employees on the New Sunshine list..  The cost to city taxpayers to support  this sunshine list is 71 million dollars. Remember this does not include the city's other 2,241 city employees, many who are making close to $100,000 per year.

Mr Gale have you looked at the statistics from the other cities which are operating much more effeciently and at less than half the cost?. Our Sunshine list is more than two and a half times larger than the average of the other cities in the survey  After reviewing  the Sunshine lists from other Ontario cities with populations of more than 100,000 and less than 150,000, that include St. Catherines, Milton, Cambridge, Guelph, Kingston, Ajax, Waterloo, Whitby, and Chatham Kent,  we would like to ask you  Mr Gale  if he could  please explain the following.

  1. . Why are we spending $71 million dollars on our City Sunshine list which is $44 million dollars more than the average of the other cities in this survey?
  2. ..Why do we have approximately 342 more city employees on our Sunshine list?
  3. .. Why are we paying each of our city employees on the  sunshine list approximately $4,000 more a year?  (The average salary of all city employees on Thunder Bay's  sunshine list  is $127,000.)
  4. . Why is your salary approximately $ 25,000 dollars higher than the other CEO's? ( Prior to being hired full time  as Thunder Bay's City Manager in 2016 you were the  chief Paramedic with EMS. However you have had no previous experience as a city manager and  this was never more evident than  when you with-held information from the public on a funding denial from the province in regards to a proposed indoor turf facility in August of 2020.

On March 29th, 2021  a wage increase for non union managerial employees was passed by council in closed session.  The average  wage increase for these 306 non union managerial employees was approximately $1,573  dollars.  A  1.5 percent increase effective Jan 1,  2021 and another 1.0 per cent increase effective July 1st. 2021 was passed by city council.

84 of these non union managerial employees are on the sunshine list now with an average salary of approximately $125,000 dollars.

Mr. Gale why do we have 306 non union managerial employees for a city of just 109,000?

Mr Gale why do you think this wage increase was necessary which will cost city taxpayers approximately $481,338 dollars? 

Do you know Mr. Gale that many low income taxpayers  get virtually no increase each year?  Did you know Mr. Gale that many homeowners are actually living on less money each year?

Mr. Gale do you know that these big increases you oversee will result in less food on the table for some?

Through attrition and a hiring freeze the city's total payroll can and must be reduced. Fire chief Greg Hankkio has proposed to council to reduce 8 positions within the fire department through attrition?  Mr Gale, when do you plan to ease our tax problem by actually implementing a similar  plan of action as many taxpayers are at the breaking point now?

Mr Gale your failure to control staffing levels and salaries like others  before you has resulted in Thunder Bay having the second highest taxes in the province. And the city debt of 212 million dollars  is costing taxpayer's $15 million dollars annually  to service.  Businesses do not want to locate here in Thunder Bay due to the high taxes and are more likely to look at surrounding municipalities like Shuniah and Oliver-Paipoonge and who could blame them. Businesses will not set up shop in Thunder Bay as the high taxes scare them away.

If Thunder Bay's Sunshine list was similar to those other cities in this  survey the City of Thunder Bay would save over 1 billion dollars over the next 25 years. 

Remember the other cities in this survey are averaging about $27 million dollars to fund their Sunshine list and Thunder Bay's Sunshine list is costing city taxpayer's  $71 million dollars and we have the second lowest population in this survey.

The money we would save would help keep our taxes in line  and would enable us to maintain present infrastructure and build new when needed.

We have been asked how  the above information can be accessed. If you have a computer simply google in New  Sunshine list and the name of the city.  Every city employee including their position and salary will be listed.  For example If you type in  New Sunshine list for the City of Thunder Bay you will be able to see all 559 employees on 28 pages Their names, positions and salaries will be listed.. Other information is available on the city's web site. We encourage everyone who is concerned about the city's high taxes and mounting debt  to do this including all of city council.  You can access all ten cities used in the above survey  including Thunder Bay.

Ray Smith 

Thunder Bay

#LSN_TBay   #LSN_Econ #LSN_Opinion 

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