by Chris Pickup
The county is poised to pass a motion to create a “growing communities reserve fund” intended to finance large municipal developments such as pools and recreation centres.
The official press release noted the motion would increase the 2018 tax levy by an additional 0.25%. All well and good in the larger scheme of things if residents want a few bells and whistles and the county can afford to pay for them.
But what the press release left unsaid is that funding would also come from the 20% unallocated component of the Community Vibrancy Fund, along with an annual transfer of $750,000 from the Hydro Legacy Fund’s investment earnings generated by the sale of Haldimand County Hydro.
For those of you who don’t know the source of the Vibrancy Funds, they are the blood money paid by green energy developers as a sort of payback for strewing the rural areas of Haldimand with industrial wind turbines.
The funds were to be allocated over a period of years, and we haven’t yet had a response to a direct question to the county as to whether the “unallocated funds” referred to in the motion have yet been paid to the county, or how much they amount to.
What we do know is the size of residents’ electricity bills caused directly by the province’s super-expensive mandated green energy policies and the fact the county no longer has control of its own hydro company.
Rural residents suffer in particular, especially in the freezing temperatures that dominated this winter. The very winds that power the turbines are the same ones that blast our houses across the open farm fields and push our hydro rates up even further as we have to use subsidiary heating to keep pipes from freezing.
And as the damn turbines turn, we know the province is sending the power south over the border at a loss.
Mayor Ken Hewitt and his senior staff boast at every turn how financially well off this county is. It would seem apropos the county spend some of the annual $750,000 investment earnings from the Hydro Legacy funds from selling out to Hydro One, into helping Haldimand residents pay their exorbitant bills, earned through no fault of their own.