In the latest edition of the City's official newsletter, the Riverside Outlook (which yes, I read every time it appears in my mailbox), we heard the great news that the City is looking at a substantial fiscal surplus this year. City revenues outpaced expenses by $3.5m in FY 2009-2010, which, according to the newsletter, went into "enhancing city services."
And, of course, "city services" means "free parking and roads". Of the $3.5m in surplus cash, City leaders spent $900,000 on the Public Works budget, which went into road maintenance and parking at the Orange Terrace Community Centre; and $600,000 on parks, which went into parking at Andulka Park (my local park, served by routes 22, 51 and 53). That's $1.5m, or 42% of the fiscal surplus, that went into car-related spending. This doesn't count the $1m that went in to the police department budget, and a goodly share of police resources in North America are spent either on traffic enforcement or collision cleanup and investigation.
As always, I see City leaders who seem to get it... and then do something spectacularly wrong.