Spending decline a positive step

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Good to see that Truro's pre-election town council reduced its travelling and related expenses by more than $21,000 during past budget year.

Figures obtained by the Truro Daily News shows council, collectively, spent more than $50,000 on airfare, hotels, mileage parking, meals and incidentals and conference fees from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012.

That total compares to nearly $72,000 for the period of April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011.

Of the seven elected officials, five spent less than the previous year, most notably Greg MacArthur whose expense claims, while still tops on the list, actually dropped from $27,333.36 in 2010-11 to $13,357.38 in 2011-12.

Only two officials - Mayor Bill Mills and Coun. Charles Cox - saw their claims increase over the previous year.

Mills submitted claims of $8,951.36 (up $3,745.69) while Cox's total expenses were $5,962.04 (up $4,448.04).

So what are voters to make of these numbers?

Well, some will immediately rage about taxpayers money being wasted and label it as yet another example of politicians bellying up to the trough.

The less cynical might see the value in attending such events as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Saskatoon or travelling to Austria to potentially lure a company to our backyard, which would create upwards of 100 jobs.

We acknowledge the value of face-to-face meetings and it is a given that our elected officials, if they are truly engaged in the job, are going to incur some expenses.

They do have to attend events. They do have to travel on occasion. It goes with the territory.

But we do want them to watch every penny and if they consistently spend considerably more than their peers there had better be good reasons, right?

In Truro, however, the overall spending trend was downward in this instance and in our book that's a good thing.

On another note, we applaud Wendy Robinson as she becomes the first female mayor in Stewiacke's 106-year history.

Robinson's four-year term officially got underway last night and as she learns the ropes in her new position three of the six councillors - Richard Patterson, Susan Creelman and Chad Ramsey - will be doing likewise in their new roles.

We'll watch with interest their efforts to make a difference in the Colchester County's southern gateway.

Organizations: Truro Daily News, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Robinson's

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Austria, Stewiacke Colchester County

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