Every time I turn on the TV these days, I see Donald Trump doing something silly.
I ask myself, “How do Americans put up with this? Don’t they see he’s only in it for himself and for his friends?” But then I look around at our local leaders, Picture Butte Town Council, and I have to ask myself “why am I putting up with this?”
Nearly every week, the council publishes minutes of their meetings in this newspaper, and every week, I’m left dumbfounded by the things our elected representatives get paid to do.
It’s clear that, for some of our councilors, “serving” Picture Butte is nothing more than a chance to line their pockets. Let’s do a quick recap of some of the ways our esteemed councilors are wasting taxpayer money.
First, each of them receives $550 each month to attend three town council meetings. However, if councilors decide not to show up to these meetings, they still get paid!
According to their own minutes, town council cancels meetings every summer and every Christmas, simply because they don’t want the inconvenience of serving the people of picture butte, as they swore an oath to do.
And guess what? Even when they decide to cancel a month’s worth of meetings, or simply not show up, they still get paid. I don’t know about you, but at my job, if I don’t show up, I don’t get paid.
Second, every time a councilor attends a meeting, they get at least $100. Many times this is money well deserved by the councilor, like when they serve on the library board, or host open houses for the public.
Other times though, it’s almost disgraceful. Here are a few of the things that the taxpayers of Picture Butte, including myself, have paid Mayor Kathy Moore $100 to attend: a birthday party for the town of Nobleford (cake and punch, anyone?), PBHS graduation ceremony, WestJet party at Lethbridge airport, waving in the Jamboree Days parade, waving in prairie tractor club parade (the same day as the jamboree days parade!), waving in the Coaldale parade (I’m seeing a pattern here) and having her picture taken in front of the park bathroom, just to name a few.
The thing that makes all of this worse is this year, town council made it okay to accept bribes. That’s right, councils code of conduct specifically says that they are allowed to receive “gifts” of up to $500, with no repercussions. Here’s a funny coincidence – council allowed “gifts” at the same time they flip-flopped on allowing manure spreading in town. Makes you wonder.
The worst waste of tax payer money is our Municipal Planning Commission. This commission is made up of councilors and community members, who each receive $100 for attending each meeting. The point of MPC is supposed to be oversight of the development permits in Town, while limiting buildings that go against the long-term plans for the community. Not this MPC. They have rubber stamped every single development permit that they have seen.
Even when I’ve tried to express concern with a building that lowers property values, or wrecks the view, or means councilor’s family doesn’t have to follow the rules, MPC either says they don’t care or says they “never received your concerns”.
The worst part is that it costs the town $500 for every one of these meetings, which often lasts just a few minutes.
With an opportunity to make $100 for a 10 minute meeting, it hardly makes you wonder why our great mayor declared herself the newest member of MPC just a few weeks ago.
But it does make me wonder why we put up with this.