The number of library branches should be reduced and their hours cut back?
I’ve had enough of this nonsense!
The Story of Tilly Toronto and her Husband, Big Mike.
Big Mike was an executive with a major consulting firm that audited the expenditures of businesses, both large and small. He was a recognized expert in his field, and could sniff out a wasted nickel as easily as detecting a fart in a windstorm. Mike’s colleagues were in awe of his abilities, and he was regularly voted the most efficient auditor in the firm. Mike had even created a slogan to describe his exploits: “Stop eating the gravy and sell it for sauce.” Though he earned a fat salary and treated himself generously, he objected to others spending money, even though it wasn’t his.
Late one evening, after arriving home from work, Big Mike gazed over his household expenses and came to the conclusion that Tilly was mismanaging the family budget. He decided it was time to have a serious talk with her.
“My dear Tilly,” he began, “I was just looking over the grocery bills and found many wasteful items.”
“Really?” Tilly replied, sensing the condescension in his voice.
“I see that you bought a brand-name product when the store’s product was cheaper.”
“Yes, but if I buy that particular label, you and the children don’t eat it and it gets thrown out. I end up buying the brand name.”
“Well how about this item?” he said as he pointed to the cash-register bill. “If you had purchased the economy size, you would have saved money.”
“Yes, but the larger size spoils before we can finish it, and half of it’s thrown away. We end up wasting food and money.”
“Well what about these ‘green’ products? They’re expensive.”
“True, but they’re an investment in the environment. Some of them are organic, and they’re good for our health.”
“Our health? That reminds me of another item on the grocery list. Are vitamin pills for the kids really necessary? It sounds as extravagant as fluoride in the drinking water,”
“They’re an investment in their future health, you know, good teeth, strong bones . . .”
Mike grumbled, and felt that he was not making his point. He continued.
“I see you took the kids to a local theatre to see a play. Was this necessary?”
“The kids were admitted free and I only paid five dollars. It was a community supported theatre.”
Big Mike grunted in disgust. “Another thing,” he continued, “I notice that you wasted money driving them to a movie theatre. They’ll eventually see the movie on TV. And you also drove the kids to the library? Can’t they watch TV instead?”
“Visiting the library is an investment in their future education,” Tilly responded.
“I think we should sell the family car. We don’t really need it. ”
“Perhaps not. But the car and the other items you mentioned make life liveable for me and the kids. It’s same as clean parks to walk in, public flower beds, snow properly shovelled in winter, public swimming pools in hot weather, and yes, libraries.”
“We don’t need any of these things,” he replied stubbornly.
Tilly had had enough. “No, I think you mean YOU don’t need any of these things. Your company pays for your club with its swimming pool, the meals in the downtown restaurants with their expensive French dishes with cream sauces, your membership at the golf course, your theatre tickets to entertain clients, and a company car.”
“What are you driving at?” Mike queried, his irritation evident.
“It’s easy to take away things from us when the cuts don’t effect you. You’re able to enjoy all the things that you deny us because of your company perks.”
“But at work I have a reputation for not wasting money.”
“No, you have a reputation for not allowing others to spend money while you spend as you please. Be thankful that you have your private funds to enjoy yourself. Don’t deny us the small pleasures of life because you don’t need them.”
No one’s household expenditures would escape censure if examined by an auditor. There is always a degree of waste. This is greatly magnified when examining a budget the size of the City of Toronto. However, this is not a “gravy train,” as previous audits have already shown.
Eliminate waste and examine raising new revenues, even if it means an increase in taxes. Then get on with building a city that is world class.
I love Toronto. I have worked most of my adult life researching and promoting the history of our city. I saddens me to see it being nickel and dimed to death.