A troubling state of affairs when your water bill payment appears to be the only thing keeping Ascent/St. Thomas Energy afloat.
Of much greater concern is the lack of transparency at city hall and the lack of due diligence on the part of city council.
Let’s start in the finance department where we appear to caught director of finance David Aristone in an awkward moment.
Exactly one year ago, when council dealt with the 2014 consolidated financial statements, that document revealed Ascent Group – 100 per cent owners of St. Thomas Energy – rang up an operating loss of $6.8 million. That compared with a $1.4 million profit in 2013. Continue reading
Several hundred people stood along the Col. Talbot Road
overpass Friday — some for hours — patiently waiting to pay tribute to the former Wheatley resident.
Dozens and dozens of young people, several St. Thomas air cadets and numerous vets, individuals in wheel chairs and seniors gingerly hiking up the embankment to pay their respects, accompanied by a large contingent of city fire, police and EMS personnel.
All of them standing resolutely together to thank this young man — indeed all Canadians who have served and fallen — and in the process remind us we can put aside our differences and be proud of who we are.
If you ever feared the love and respect we lavish on our veterans has diminished to any extent, an unfortunate incident Wednesday at city hall should allay any fears the true meaning of Remembrance Day has faded over time.
Prior to the ceremony of remembrance at the Great War Memorial in front of the hospital, the Times-Journal was alerted to the fact flags flying at city hall were not at half-mast, marking the first time ever this tradition has failed to be observed.
When a photo of the flags was posted to our Facebook page, all hell broke loose.
Was this a new direction at city hall or simply an oversight on the part of administration or staff?
“I’m disappointed with the council,” posted Christopher-Raymond Trottier. Continue reading
Couldn’t help but notice this week the Ascent office/workshop on Harper Rd. was not only for sale, but now had a ‘sold’ sign out front.
Seems odd in that the media were invited out to that same location earlier this year to get a first-hand look at the projects undertaken at the former ECM Controls, purchased by St. Thomas Energy in November, 2010.
At that time, ECM Controls employed 10 people who designed and built industrial controls. As shareholder and owner of St. Thomas Holding (the parent company), city council unanimously green-lighted the move, asking no questions nor providing comment on the move.
So what happened in the intervening five years? Continue reading
Friday was her “day in court,” so to speak, when she was invited to city hall to present her concerns about living next door to a derelict house at 46 Kains St. — whose owner continues to pay property taxes but resides in Holland.
In attendance were CAO Wendell Graves, chief building inspector Chris Peck, bylaw enforcement officer Rob McDonald and St. Thomas Fire Chief Rob Broadbent.
All sympathized with Wimbush but were in agreement there is no quick fix.
To the chagrin of Wimbush who, due to increasing difficulty navigating stairs in her large home, is anxious to sell and move to a single-storey residence.
By approving its Part 2 capital budget and the 2015 operating budget Monday, city council authorized a property tax levy of $47,040,822 for this year.
That translates to a 3.55% property tax hike in 2015, up slightly from the 3.48% proposed, yet less than the 3.8% tax levy in 2014.
The slight increase from the proposed budget presented last week to council during a public meeting at the St. Thomas Seniors’ Centre is accounted for in additional grant money doled out by council.
In total, $281,146 was distributed to community groups and social agencies in St. Thomas, much of that sum drawn from working reserves.
That figure does not include $250,000 to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital for its expansion program as part of the city’s 10-year pledge. Continue reading
Members of the city’s police and fire service account for an overwhelming majority of members in the Sunshine Club each year and 2014 was no exception.
Of the 96 city employees who earned greater than $100,000 last year, 81 work are based at the police station or fire halls.
This corner talked at length last week with Chief Darryl Pinnell who made it very clear, “A lot of it has to do with base salaries now. Things are getting up to the point where base salaries are getting close to that ($100,000) number.”
Likewise, we had a lengthy dialogue with Chief Rob Broadbent on the factors impacting the salaries of firefighters.
“If you look at the Sunshine List this year, you’re going to see a number of firefighters on it versus officers. It’s not uncommon for our officers to be there just by pay grids. Tack a few call-back fires or overtime shifts on top of an officer’s salary and it doesn’t take very much for them to bump over the $100,000 threshold.”