Happy Mother’s Day & Open Budget UpdateCouncillor’s Corner - Wednesday May 10, 2017
Most importantly this week, a special thank-you to my mom and Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms. Take time to celebrate or remember your mother this coming weekend, love is best displayed through actions.
On Tuesday, May 2 council held a Special Meeting at the Hornepayne Elementary Secondary School for an open discussion with the community about the proposed 2017 Water and Sewer Rates (W&S) and 2017 Municipal Budget. Council presented a 0% increase to the W&S Rates this year. The township presented a balanced W&S budget with $120,000 set aside to pay for unscheduled repairs. The township has proposed a balanced Municipal Budget with an increase in the taxes of 1.5%. A 1.5% increase would give the Township $23,510.00 to start a Capital Reserve to help deal with our aging infrastructure. The open discussion followed with a question and answer period for citizens. Thank-you to those who came out and voiced your concerns. It takes courage to stand up and speak your mind. My interpretation of some concerns that were brought forward:
· People want council to stay within their travel budget. There was an overage on council expenses in 2016 and the citizens are upset considering we had a tax increase last year. Citizens voiced concerns about too much travel and asked if technology could be used, like video meetings or webinars to lowers those expenses. Technology is being used for some meetings currently.
· People and businesses are finding it hard to deal with the tax increases and W&S increases over the past several years and council needs to do something different than raise taxes.
· Do what it takes to get the 14 plans done that the community is required to have in order to be eligible for more funding and grant opportunities. There was a general consensus that if it takes going into debt to create growth in our community we need to do it. “It takes money to make money” was the sentiment.
*Note* The municipality needs an updated Official Plan and Community Development Plan to secure more funding to start moving forward.
· What is the status of the application for the Economic Development Officer? We are currently still working on the application. We had to wait for the Strategic Plan to be completed before we could submit the application. The CAO indicated that the application should be submitted by mid-June.
The Municipal Budget has not been passed yet and will be discussed further at the May 24th regular council meeting.
The Township and the Canada 150 Ad-Hoc Committee will both be participating in Public Awareness Day on May 19th at the Royal Canadian Legion. Come out and see us. I will be at the Canada 150 Booth from 10 am to 3 pm. Come find out about the different Canada 150 events we are having through out the year. As always you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheryl T Fort