Thursday, May 31, 2007

Crossing Made

A great new initiative by the local Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Crossing Made is a one-stop shop for border related info. Passports, Nexus cards, Duty Free, along with specific info on Windsor's two crossings - the Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge.

If you have a local blog/website consider posting either a button or banner linking to the site.


98 x 110 .jpg


468 x 60 .jpg

I've posted a button here at the Shadow and included the banner in rotation at, WE Speak and Blue Blogging Soapbox.

Two for the price of one

A Henderson column and a main editorial. If I was Alan, I'd run out and buy a 6/49 ticket this week.

I'll take a look at Gord's column first. After reading the article I was wondering if Gord has upgraded to email yet, let alone the internet.
"So it doesn't surprise me in the least that Coun. Alan Halberstadt finds himself in his favourite place this week, up to his armpits in hot water, over potential conflicts between his day job, representing Ward 3, and his moonlighting as a journalist."

"And when a blog, the ultimate vanity exercise, has the potential to compromise negotiations involving billions of dollars and the city's very future, that's especially true."
Either Gord hasn't visited Alan's website or chooses to ignore most of what's there. Alan doesn't have a blog, he has a website that includes a blog as one of it's tools. That may seem to be splitting hairs to some, but there is a distinct difference between the two. Rather than "moonlighting as a journalist", the website represents an extension of his work as a City Councillor.

I've listed some of the various features of the site previously, so I won't go into it again here. Suffice it to say that the blog portion of the site is but one of the many tools designed to reach out and communicate with the residents of Ward 3. As a journalist, Alan probably recognizes the value of this more so than the average Councillor. One key aspect - it doesn't cost the taxpayers a single cent. Stacked up against the proposed $250,000.00 dollar Communications Department for the City, that's a pretty good bang for the buck.

With declining voter turnouts and general apathy to all things political in Canada, we should be encouraging politicians at all levels to leverage modern communication tools, not trying to impose a gag on them. The Mayor promised a "fireside chat of the 21st century" email newsletter in his 2006 Inaugural Address (page 12), seven months later he doesn't seem to have found the "send" button yet. (I guess this was going to be one of the tasks for our new Communications department). Paul Martin Sr. was famous for his appearances at various barber shops and weddings throughout his riding when he represented Windsor. A website such as Alan's represents a modern online version of the barbershop. It's a place to interact with residents, hear their opinions and provide various services and information.

I guess Gord doesn't visit my humble blog too often or he wouldn't have needed to write the following
"I don't know how many regular folks read Halberstadt's blog."
On Tuesday I reported 13,444 unique visitors. As of this morning that count stood at 14,177 unique and 31776 total visits. Last time I checked, that's a lot of regular folks looking for information.

The main editorial in today's Star presents a more even-handed look at this situation than that dished out by Gord Henderson. As a strong advocate for smaller/less government, there's not much I disagree with. On the other hand, I see the value of an Integrity Commissioner along with a Lobbyist registrar. In a city such as Windsor where transparency and open government haven't exactly become buzz words, a little growth can go a long way.

One last comment. If the City of Windsor border strategy hinges on parsing the various meanings of compromise then we're in far deeper trouble than I ever imagined.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Around the blogs...

A few quick hits from WE Speak that caught my eye over the last few days:

1. The things you find reading blogs. The fact that this happened to Councillor Ken Lewenza Jr at a Propaganda conference might be considered a delightful delicious hilarious appropriate bit of irony.

2. Blast from Windsor's past

3. Congrats Adriano

4. Neighbourhood in Action - Monmouth cleans up in Ward 3

Careful What You Wish For

The Motor City Mini-Mouth (TM) roars:

Blog sparks uproar
Lewenza says Halberstadt undermining border negotiations

This is the "leak" of confidential information that will single-handedly sabotage and undermine the position of the City of Windsor?
"City Council met privately last night and the night before to hash out its preliminary position on the DRIC blueprints. New York transportation guru Sam Schwartz, with a full team of technicians, is back in town and ready to engage in intense modelling with the provinces's engineers to hopefully find a compromise on the route's many nuances."
Which part is the one that is so damaging? The fact that Sam Schwartz, author of the $500,000.00 Schwartz Report so widely derided and dismissed, is back in town with his $10,000.00 a minute team to strategize with City Council?

Quite frankly, if this Council wasn't consulting with someone, preparing various strategies and compromises options on the border route, they would be considered the biggest collection of boobs to ever warm Council seats, although the debate is still open on that particular issue.

Was Sam Schwartz's visit to Windsor classified as a 'City Secret', not to be revealed?

Would it be so difficult for the Mayor (as the lead on the issue) to issue a press release about the meetings -ie Transportation Consultant Sam Schwartz will be meeting with Windsor City Council over the next several days to consider compromises strategies in preparation for the upcoming release in June of the DRIC report on the Windsor Border Crossing....

Instead the option chosen was the typical Windsor secret in-camera meeting with no notice other than "Border Issues" on the agenda published after the meetings were held. Trust us they say.

The designation of the Mayor as "lead" on this issue means he is the official spokesperson for the file, not that he's the only one allowed to speak on anything border related. Blindly and silently following other "leads" in the past is what delivered Windsor gems like the Candarel building and MFP fiasco.
"Yeah, I was surprised (at Halberstadt's blog), but it's not the first time where he has talked border and we have challenged him for it."
I'm sure Councillor Halberstadt will be pleased to know that his fellow Councillor's read his blog with such fervour and attention to detail.

What were some of the other times Councillor Lewenza was referring to? Would one be Councillor Halberstadt's relentless push to have Council reveal exactly how much money they are spending on lawyers and consultants? How about the letter from the Mayor to the Federal Transport Minister that the Windsor Star seemed able to get a copy of before any City Councillor could? Or maybe this isn't border related at all. Could it have something to do with the $250,000.00 dollar Communication Department that Councillor Lewenza was in such favour of? Council's eating habits? There certainly seemed to be a lot of behind the scenes Council opinion floating around related to that issue. Multi-residential tax fairness is another issue Counicllor Halberstadt has been championing of late, much to the chagrin of most on Council.

Maybe Councillor Lewenza and others wouldn't be so surprised if while visiting Councillor Halberstadt's website they also took the time to review his campaign platform, still posted for all to see. The top three issues listed there certainly seem to relate to this situation.
A Grand Vision of Small Solutions

• Urge the new Council to take a more conciliatory approach with the senior levels of government to find a solution to our border issues.

• End the reliance on expensive lawyers and consultants on the border file.

• Ask for an external Municipal Act expert to orient the new Council on methods to be open and transparent.
I realize it's shocking to many people for a politician today to actually attempt to accomplish what they pledged during a campaign.

The mention of an Integrity Commissioner in the article would be a welcome addition to Windsor, although Councillor Lewenza might not wish to be so quick off the mark in questioning Councillor Halberstadt's integrity through an insinuation such as this.

I wonder how far back an Integrity Commissioner would be authorized to investigate? October of 2006 is certainly one occasion that springs to mind. We never did learn anything more about the mysterious note or classroom confrontations.

Why share an Integrity Commissioner with another municipality though, when you could give the position a secondary role of Lobbyist Registrar and really open the doors of Windsor City Hall to some well needed sunshine? If we're going to be considering options, let's get them all out on the table, as uncharacteristic as that may be for Windsor.

The question to continue asking yourselves is just what is it about Councillor Halberstadt's website that so threatens his fellow Councillors and the Mayor?

H/T to Alan for the inspiration for this blog title.

Update: Chris Schnurr also has a blog related to this issue. Looks like he wrote his prior to today's Star article being published.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

City of Windsor versus Bloggers - Round Two

So what is it about bloggers that so frightens some people on Windsor City Council?

Today's Windsor Star has an article about Councillor Alan Halberstadt walking out of an in-camera meeting after being accused of leaking information on his website.

Congratulations to Alan for refusing to buckle to the secrecy obssessed Council. I agree with him that it was an inappropriate topic to be discussing at an in-camera meeting. If a Councillor wishes to make such an accusation then they should have the guts to do so at an open public meeting.

For anyone interested - the blog post in question is located here.

I didn't realize the fact the Sam Schwartz was in town and consulting with Council would be considered a state secret worthy of discussion at in-camera proceeding. If Council wonders why the citizens of Windsor are increasingly concerned about their conduct in-camera, you could find no better example of why.

As I have often disclosed here in the past, I designed and manage Alan's website for him. The idea for a blog as part of the site was first discussed early on in the planning for the last municipal campaign. Alan was intrigued by the idea and soon took to blogging like a duck to water. A journalist by trade, Alan immediately recognized the connective value of the blog in his efforts to communicate with his constituents.

Following the campaign, Alan decided to keep his website as a tool to reach out to the residents in his ward. The site was redesigned with that task in mind, and continues to evolve to this day.

After the election, I reset the site tracking software used to record traffic. Since that time, 13,444 unique visitors have viewed the website. (the tracking software records each visit from an individual ip address only once per day. If you visited the site at 8 am, 12 noon and 6pm, the software would only record 1 "unique" visit from your ip).

Since re-launching the website, here is a list of some of it's accomplishments:

1. Alan has had several citizens from around the community post Guest blogs;

2. he's interviewed others as part of his Council Chat series of blog videos;

3. added a Weblink section for websites in and around the Windsor Region (including a new section of Blogging Councillors from across Canada and around the world);

4. created a "Service Centre" of features that assist Windsor residents. It includes direct links to 311 info, the City of Windsor website, the newly launched Bizpal services, City of Windsor job postings, City and School News (news, press releases and community info from various Windsor sources aggregated by RSS and updated hourly), and location info for the Ward 3 Customer Care Centre located at the Optimist Community Centre on Ypres;

5. Alan has received and responded to numerous emails, submitted through the site, from Ward 3 residents dealing with a wide variety of concerns and issues;

6. Run a regular series of Windsor Essex County Environment Commission Public Service videos regarding responsible water use;

7. Alan's election platform from the last campaign is posted for reference by all

8. A Community Calendar has been added, along with a link to the City of Windsor Calendar.

The content and control of the site remain with Alan. I simply handle the technical and administrative aspects of the site.

All of this and not a $250,000 dollar communication budget in sight.

If you believe in open and transparent municipal government, take a few minutes to write a Letter to the Editor for the Windsor Star. Let everyone in Windsor know how you feel. Help support Alan in his efforts to reach out to everyone in Windsor.

The Red and White

Thanks to Rosie Dimanno for articulating yesterday what so many of us feel but are unable to express adequately.

I came across the following not long after first reading Rosie's article. Seemed appropriate to me today.

Canadian singer Julian Austin singing his song "Red and White" in Afghanistan.

Support Our Troops

$5.00 dollars off every CD sold goes to "The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund". If you would like to send donations, cheque or correspondence to:

"The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund"
PO Box #141
Stn. Brooklin
Whitby, Ontario L1M-1B5

Inquiries Captain Wayne Johnston
Joint Task Force (Central) Headquarters Land Forces Central Area
Tel: 416-633-6200 Ext 5505 Cell: 416-275-7448

For more information, please goto

Cross posted from The Torch

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday night Council meeting

Off to Toronto today, so not too much time to blog about tonight's meeting.

Take some time to read the Council Communications , Order of Business, and Council Agenda.

No lack of interesting items in this weeks agenda. Lots of info in there for the eagle eyed readers.

Loved the Transit Company lawyer's letter to the Heritage Committee. Heck, even the In-Camera minutes are interesting for a change.

Ward 3 Fund - August 2005 to November 2006

Were you a lucky winner of the "Ward 3 Fund Lottery" in 2005/2006?

Get your tickets early for the 2007 edition of the lottery.

This year's prize pool estimated to be $53,788.00 .

Click one of the images below to qualify for an entry in the 2007 Ward 3 Lottery.
(some restrictions may apply. Awards subject to Councillor's sole discretion. No rules or
regulations required or desired)

Chance #1

Chance #2

Below are the Ward 3 Fund expenditures for 2005/2006.
(click on the pic for full size)

Don't miss out on your chance for fund tickets - only two more wards to go!

Now that last Monday's Council Minutes are posted, I see the Ward Fund got the usual 1-2-3 (don't blink) vote, that issue's done with treatment. Note and file.

The report contained a recommendation for semi-annual reporting. Since the minutes don't mention any specific direction from Council on this issue, I can only assume we're going to keep the traditional " we'll report this when we think about it or someone asks about it" approach.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Municipal follies

No matter how much I may agree/disagree with the Mayor and City Council - at least we don't have this bunch.

I look forward to the Province's reaction next year as the City of Toronto contemplates filing for bankruptcy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Put the "Royal" back in the Navy and Air Force

H/T Beaverbrook at The Torch

Sign the Petition

Spread the word

Edmonton Centre Conservative MP Laurie Hawn has agreed to sponsor the petition in the House of Commons.

Ward 2 Fund - August 2005 to November 2006

Were you a lucky winner of the "Ward 2 Fund Lottery" in 2005/2006?

Get your tickets early for the 2007 edition of the lottery.

This year's prize pool estimated to be $55,174.00 .

Click one of the images below to qualify for an entry in the 2007 Ward 2 Lottery.
(some restrictions may apply. Awards subject to Councillor's sole discretion. No rules or regulations required or desired)

Chance #1

Chance #2

Below are the Ward 2 Fund expenditures for 2005/2006.
(click on the pic for full size)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ward 1 Fund - August 2005 to November 2006

Were you a lucky winner of the "Ward 1 Fund Lottery" in 2005/2006?

Get your tickets early for the 2007 edition of the lottery.

This year's prize pool estimated to be $59,669.00 .

Click one of the images below to qualify for an entry in the 2007 Ward 1 Lottery. (some restrictions may apply. Awards subject to Councillors sole discretion. No rules or regulations required or desired)

Chance #1

Chance #2

I received an email yesterday from one reader indicating some difficulty downloading/opening the .pdf of the Ward Funds report. I'll post pics of each individual Ward's spending over the next several days. (click on the picture for full size)

I apologize for the size of the pictures, not much I could do. (you'll have to speak to your individual councillors about that. Maybe they could do something in the future to help reduce the size).

One other question comes to mind today. If council did approve administration's proposal for semi-annual reporting, does that mean we will see a report in June/July for the November to June timeframe or will we have to wait until November for our next "semi-annual" report?

I'm not holding my breath. It's kinda like waiting for that "21st century fireside chat email" we've all been anticipating.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ward Funds - lets compare

Unfortunately, due to work commitments I was unable to watch last night's council meeting to see what, if any, decisions were made with regard to the Ward Funds. The report contained a proposal from administration that the funds be reported semi-annually. At the very least, I hope this proposal was adopted.

Personally I'd like to see this fund disappear. If we are going to keep it, a good time to report it would be quarterly, along with the "Sunshine Bylaw" report on Council meetings. In an election year, the fund should be reported for the entire year just prior to voting day, including any future commitments for fourth quarter funds.

In an effort to see what other municipalities are or are not doing with regards to Ward Funds, I've begun to inquire of Sarnia, London, Kitchener and Guelph to see if they have similar practices.

Specifically, do they:

1. have a program similar to Windsor's?

2. what is the program's spending criteria?

3. is there an application process for these funds?

4. what is the selection process for fund recipients?

4. how and when are these funds reported?

5. does the City have a Charitable Giving policy?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ward Funds - a long overdue report

Anyone who follows politics closely probably knows of the time-honoured practice of releasing reports on the Friday before a holiday break or long weekend. I suppose it's still tried because it sometimes works. A cynical person might think that this weeks Communications Agenda is one such case. Good thing I'm not cynical.

(although not the subject of this blog, the 6 new applications from Boardwalk REIT for condo conversions are interesting to note)

On this week's Communication Agenda we find a report on Ward Funds. This is the first report on these funds since August 2005, the date of the last report to Council.

Anyone wondering why an incumbent Windsor City Councillor is hard to beat in an election should really take a close look at the report. I've cut out the particular report from the Communications agenda so that readers don't have to wade through everything.

Ward Fund Report (.pdf)

Let me say at the outset that I'm not alleging that anything illegal or unethical is happening with these funds, simply that they should not exist. They are nothing more than Ward Piggy Banks to be doled out at the Councillors discretion. There is little transparency in these funds and virtually no accountability. Where is the criteria and application process for these funds? How is the existence of these funds advertised to residents in the various wards? How do Councillors in each individual ward decide the winners of each year's allocation - flip a coin, draw numbers or throw a few darts?

I'm sure CUPE Local 543 President Mark McArthur would be interested to learn of the application process after his request for matching funds from Council for Brentwood was turned down.

The majority of the expenditures listed are arguably for worthwhile causes, although one exception in my mind is the $5,600.00 spent by Ward 2 Councillors Jones and Postma in 2005. "Flyers and Postage for Ward 2 Mailings to keep residents updated on Ward issues" Quite frankly, I get enough of this self-serving crap from my MP and MPP, I certainly don't need more from my Councillors. I don't have a bird cage or litter box so it all goes directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin.

The criteria for spending these funds is woefully inadequate:
Ward Fund Policy
On May 2, 2005, Council rescinded CR272/2004 and approved the following policy:

* Ward Councillors are authorized to spend ward funds at their discretion within their own wards;

* Notice of the use of ward funds including details of how the monies are spent must be reported on a public agenda, but Council approval is not required;

*If the two Ward Councillors cannot agree on the use of their ward fund, no monies will be expended;

* Monies must be spent on identifiable projects or undertakings having a specific purpose and objective.

Based on the above policy, where a proposed expenditure meets the above criteria, the funding shall be issued in accordance with normal City procedures.

The annual allocation to the Ward Fund was $40,000 per Ward through 2005. In 2006 the total amount was reduced to $30,000 per Ward and further reduced to $27,000 per Ward in 2007
Not mentioned in the above is the fact that unspent monies rollover to the following year. A handy thing leading up to an election year. A further amendment was passed in 2006 to address what happens when Councillors can't agree on how the funds are to be spent:
Moved by Councillor Zuk, seconded by Councillor Lewenza,
M106-2006 That the Ward Fund policy (M73-2005) BE AMENDED to include a provision that in the event that the respective ward councillors cannot agree on the use of their ward fund, that the funds be split 50-50, and to be used at their own discretion, and that the details of how the monies are spent continue to be reported on a public agenda.
The chart below summarizes the spending. Interesting to note that not a single ward spent only the minimum of $30,000 in 2006 leading up to the election. (click on picture for full size)

So not only does Windsor feed it's Councillors well (Food for thought, Windsor Council Essex County's Gastronomical Winners, Eat hearty, it's only tax money) , it gives them a nice allowance of $15,000 to spend as they see fit.

Ward Funds should be abolished. People wishing to receive funds should be required to appear before Council as anyone else. Councillors wishing to spend funds should have to justify their decisions in an open public meeting.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More apartment related stuff

It's a good thing Council decided to provide some tax relief to the multi-res sector after all in the latest budget, otherwise this report would have been like throwing gasoline on a fire.

If a federally supported and subsidized housing complex is having financial difficulties, is experiencing a 5.8% vacancy rate and in tax arrears - how do you think the rest of the city's apartment owners are doing?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Some stray thoughts

From the Mayor's "State of the City" address

1. If we as Canadians have this visceral hatred of all things associated with American politics, why then a "State of the City" address? Nice PR exercise. (I wonder what St. Clair charges for rent on it's new theatre?)

2. Once in a while I'd like to hear what our current debt is, how much we're paying this year and what it's projected to be next year. You know, just in case I'm not around to celebrate in 2011.
" Before our debt reduction plan was approved by city council, our municipal debt was to have grown to $245 million by 2011.

Thanks to our debt reduction plan, Windsor’s municipal debt is projected to be only
$155.7 million by 2011.

It will then further be reduced to $128 million by 2012."
3. "We asked the people of Windsor about their priorities. And we were told to focus on the
basics – renew our roads and sewers." So where does the rebranding, marketing and imaging as a priority keep coming from? (along with the associated budgets)

4. In a word - NO!
"Today, we have independent communications functions in Social Services, Building,
Planning, Transit Windsor, Public Works, Parks and Rec, Windsor Police, Enwin,
Windsor Public Library, City Clerk’s, and the Fire Department.

All of them undertake independent initiatives. That means we don’t have a coordinated message, and common approach to communicating our city’s identity or resources.

Imagine bringing them all together under one communication umbrella. Don’t you think that by focusing and streamlining their activities, we will be able to deliver a better service, at a lower cost?
If there is a lack of "coordinated message, and common approach to communicating our city's identity or resources" then the fault lies with the appropriate management directing these resources. Anyone who believes that this "focusing and streamlining" is going to save the city any money now or in the future should run out real quick and buy some of those Ambassador Bridge ownership certificates being hawked at the corner of Riverside and Ouellette.

5. Forgive me if I don't break out in a verse of Kumbaya:
" We need to put narrow interests aside – and promote the greater good.
We need to think about the long-term, and not get distracted by arguing with one another over small, petty and personal issues in the short term.
We need to end the fragmentation – where narrow interests compete with one another within Windsor.
We need to recognize and sideline the special interests that seek to divide us.
And we need to stop distorting our Windsor in the name of advancing other agendas – political or otherwise.
We need to unite in the cause of promoting the benefits of our city and our region to one another … and to the world.
We need to tell our story.
But before we do … we need to accept responsibility.
And realize that every action, every word, every report, every headline, or news story…"
Welcome to Windsor where any critics of the Mayor and Council are classified as petty, personal, narrow special interests. Apparently the situation is so critical we have to spend close to a million dollars in the capital budget over the next two years to develop a "brand" for Windsor. How - " The funds will be spent on consultants, advertising, promotion and a public consultation process as they are available." More PR.

BTW, I sit in vain each night, beside my fireplace, waiting for the Mayor's 21st century "fireside chat email" that was going to keep us all in the loop. That must have been part of the new $250,000.00 dollar communications department.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More on water

As a quick follow-up to my earlier post on Windsor water usage, I did some quick number spinning.

0.70 megalitres = 700,000 litres (1 million litres = 1 megalitre)

700,000 litres = 700 m3 (cubic metres - how Windsor measures it's water for billing purposes)

2001 Census lists 95,049 households in Windsor.

If each household was able to reduce their usage by 100 m3 per year, the City would stand to lose roughly $7.4 million in revenue.

If by some miracle we were able to reduce our usage to something like .30 megalitres (still above the Provincial median and 4th highest in the Province), the City would stand to lose $29.5 million in revenue.

With the sewer surcharge at 190% of the water rate, approximately $4.8 million and $19.2 million would represent the reduction in sewer surcharge revenue from the above numbers.

Lots more to come on this issue.

More AM800 polls

From the AM800 archive of recent polls:

Let the sun shine in say respondents!

Not too many pats on the back to go around here.

People are a little more willing to speak their mind in an anonymous poll.

Windsor Water Usage

While I was researching info on water and sewer rates across the Province, I came across this startling piece of information in a City of Toronto report. Windsor residents use water at an alarming rate when compared to the rest of the Province. (click on image for full size)

Edit: second chart added to reflect first comment

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Are Canadians ready to pay for climate change?

A continuing theme by Dr. Suzuki and others is that Canadians are telling him that they are willing to pay the price to meet Kyoto.

I found these two polls from AM800, our local news station, interesting. Yes, they're Internet polls, but they certainly provide an eye-opening snapshot of local public opinion on the issue. The polls were posted one after the other, on two successive days.

You'll have to excuse me if I don't buy into the rhetoric that "Canadians are willing to pay the price" of Kyoto.

They're willing to pay, as long as it's someone else doing the paying.

Doing everything possible to improve the environment is a good thing. Doing everything possible to meet Kyoto targets is just plain ridiculous.

Cross posted from Blue Blogging Soapbox

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sandbagged in Windsor...

... and most of them probably don't even know about it yet.

Council reversed itself last night and cancelled a five year plan to reduce the rate for multi-residential buildings. I found the quote from the Mayor in the Windsor Star that this was "unfair" to the other tax classes rather ironic.

Where is the fairness in multi-residential owners paying 2.74 times the residential rate? Most buildings use less services and pay almost 3 times the rate? Where's the fairness in that? I wonder what the the extra 1.74 works out to in dollars for an average $700 or $800 dollar a month apartment. What many people may not realize is that the owners are only allowed to keep a certain percentage of any tax relief, the remainder must be passed on to the tenants.

Many apartment dwellers don't think that they pay Muncipal taxes, they just don't realize that it's part of their monthly rent.

It looks like the multi-res sector is going to have to learn to get better organized. Involve local tenants associations and groups in their fight for tax fairness. What is the tax burden for apartment dwellers as opposed to condominium and home owners? What percentage of services are available to apartments as opposed to homes?

Some other things to consider on this subject are how many condo conversions are we going to see now? What is the impact to the tax base of those conversions? If the city tries to halt the conversions, what are the legal costs associated with that decision such as OMB battles? With Windsor's aging stock of apartment buildings, what is the likelihood of new multi-res units being built in the next 5 to 10 years? I've noticed a lot of new condos being built, not too many apartment buildings.

I've included a graphic of GTA rates as a quick comparison (click on the graphic for full size). It will take a little longer to compile stats from other municipalities in Ontario. Probably a good project for a public Google Spreadsheet.

Update: more info in a blog by Councillor Halberstadt - A Stunning Betrayal