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Did they live up to promises? »

Aug2014 cover 9Today’s edition marks the start of municipal election coverage with a review of what councillors said they were going to do when they asked you to vote for them.

 [Originally published Aug. 16, 2014]

The chamber of commerce hosted two candidates’ debates shortly before the election in 2010 in which they all had a chance to make speeches and answer questions.

In December 2010 after the new council held its first business meeting (as opposed to the largely ceremonial inaugural meeting), The Ridgeway Herald published practically verbatim what they said in the debates.

[You can download the complete package here.]

The purpose was to provide the background against which the councillors would be evaluated over their four-year term. continued . . .

Councillors expose their hypocrisy . . . again »

Town councillors restated their commitment to the often heard refrain of transparency and accountability — and underscored their own hypocrisy.

[Originally published July 29, 2014] continued . . .

Mysterious Mr. Hill ‘won’t back down’ »

People should be allowed to keep elements of their past “secret,” said councillor John Hill, even if they are elected to public office.

[Originally published May 13, 2014]

Hill continues to refuse to divulge specific information about his purported 30-year career in “management in the automotive industry,” as he described it during the 2010 election.

He said nearly as much about his wife and daughter as he did about himself during the campaign, and he has been decidedly zipper-lipped when asked what exactly was his occupation before he “retired” to a nice new home in the Ridgeway-by-the-Lake subdivision in 2008. continued . . .

Peace Bridge to get new deck »

A series of construction projects valued at $155 million will culminate in the re-decking of the Peace Bridge in four years’ time.

[Originally published April 17, 2014]

Ron Rienas, general manager of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, told Town council Monday the projects will be funded from cash on hand, toll revenue, rental income and a new bond issue.

He assured council that tolls will not increase. continued . . .

Can’t trust council, builder wants out »

The developer who bought the Town-owned land beside the new Village Square doesn’t want anything to do with town council and wants to sell.

[Originally published March 15, 2014]

Rainier Hummel, president of Sleek Developments Inc., who purchased the land for $100,000 last year, informed council of his decision in a strongly-worded letter to town council last week. continued . . .

2014 budget in detail »

The Town portion of property tax bills will increase by 3.88 per cent, but the overall increase will be moderated by smaller increases in the Regional and educational components.

[Originally published Feb. 10, 2014]

The overall increase on the tax bill for a household assessed at the median average of $175,000 will be less, although the final figures have not been calculated.

The Regional component is expected to increase 0.64 per cent and the education component rises 1.25 per cent. continued . . .

Town gets lucky on water rates »

Thanks to a million dollar reduction in Regional treatment charges, residential water customers in Fort Erie will see no increase on their water bills in 2014.

[Originally published Jan. 7, 2014]

While the base rate is knocked down a little, the volumetric rate is notched up to even out the saving for the average household user. continued . . .

Cost to fire lawyer: $435K and counting »

Those of you who are concerned about wasteful spending by our municipal leaders will be glad to know that Heather Salter is finally off the payroll.

[Originally published Nov. 18, 2013]

Salter hasn’t been employed by the Town of Fort Erie since April 16, 2012 at 4 p.m. when she was fired from her job as the director of legal services and Town solicitor.

The bad news for local taxpayers is they paid not only the tab for 18 months worth of salary and benefits as compensation for the wrongful dismissal but also a $50,000 lump sum payment to settle personal legal claims against at least one and possibly four town councillors.

The full payout for Salter is now estimated at $309,000, based on a new report to council tabled Monday, and the bill keeps growing every time the Town needs legal advice. continued . . .

Three strikes and still swinging »

One could have been forgiven for thinking the comedy of errors that was the search for a chief administrative officer was finally over when, by a 4-3 vote, councillors chose Larry Adams in March.

[Originally published Oct. 20, 2013]

Like most major discretionary decisions by this council, it was controversial and divisive. And it ultimately proved to be wrong. continued . . .

Large fire on Jarvis Street »

Pike’s Dry Cleaners on Jarvis Street and a second building to the west are on fire this Sunday evening. Other buildings are threatened.

Firefighters from three stations responded around 7 p.m. A fourth station was dispatched at 7:30.