I know the whole “who spent the most, who spent the least” of their office Constituency Service Budgets represents a very tiny fraction of City expenditures and has no real impact on your taxes. But, I have to point out right now – because it appears nobody else is reporting it – that the numbers are in, and I am officially the lowest spending Councillor for 2017. And, with me coming in $80,000 under budget, it wasn’t even close. In fact, the next most frugal Councillor spent $7,000 more than I did. It is also important to note that, while we run a small satellite constituency office at Ben Franklin Place, we do that with no additional revenue – both offices are run on the one budget. As well, our ward has among the most constituents of all city wards, but we do not receive additional revenue to serve them. We get the same amount as wards with about half the population. That means we need to employ different techniques to do the job. Fortunately, the rules around our budgets are strong but flexible. They permit us to hire more very short term staff to deal with periodic tasks when the workload is higher than usual. When things go back to normal, we continue with our regular full and part time staff.
I am not claiming any moral superiority to any other Councillors regarding the spending of our budgets. Every ward is different and has different needs. In fact, most wards have different needs from one year to the next, depending upon local issues that arise, development activity, the need to research and draft new legislation, the need to commission studies and communicate with residents about them, etc..