Tag Archives: municipal government

Budget and Strategic Meetings

Good morning everyone.  I hope the cold weather hasn’t affected anyone negatively.   We have a few more months of this cold weather and then spring will come to our fair city.  We have been lucky in that we have some snow but the quantities have been limited and easy to deal with so far.  Let’s hope this continues.

On January 20th of next week, council is meeting to view the draft budget for our city.  It will begin at 5:30 pm in council chambers. This draft budget is the beginning process to establish a budget for the year 2015.  It will give us an idea of the suggested taxes that will be paid by all of us in the city.  The initial documents for this budget are on line at the city website.  It is important to remember that it is the initial look at the budget and what will be introduced on Tuesday will be the beginning of a process to strike a tax rate for our citizens.

It is an open meeting and everyone from the public is welcomed to attend.  I invite anyone that wants to understand the process and the realities of our finances to come and hear what we are discussing.  If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.  There is a process involved that will place your comments and ideas on record for all to see.  There were many important ideas shared during the past election, in October, that will help us in our discussions.

The next important meeting will be Saturday, January 24th.  This day will start at 9:00 am and will deal with this city developing a Strategic Plan for the next 4 years.  This means we will be discussing the direction our city should take over the next few years.  Many discussions will be had and we also need the citizens to take part.  What you have to say is important to us.  The process is open to the public.  All citizens can view the discussions of this important document.  It is essentially what the city will be concentrating on over the next 4 years.  We will be discussing the important projects that council  will develop  and accomplish on behalf of our citizens.  Please come and participate in this important meeting.

Hoping to see everyone at these 2 very important meetings.  It is our city and the direction it takes is important to all citizens.

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Inauguration Day – Monday December 1

Monday December 1 is Inauguration Day for the Port Colborne City Council and its new Mayor, John Maloney.  The Inaugural Meeting and swearing in ceremony will take place in the Council Chambers at 7pm.  The new Council members will be lead into the Council chambers by a Scottish bagpiper.  The declarations of office will be administered by the Hon. Madam Justice Theresa Maddalena of the Superior Court of justice of the Province of Ontario.  All are welcome to attend! Read Council Agenda.

Moving on

 

Good morning everyone.  I am in the process of getting a new motion passed by council that will ask the upper levels of government to change their method of calculating property tax.  It is presently done by property value only and for some of our Senior citizens property taxes have become to difficult to pay.  Their pensions do not keep up with the increases and therefore often live in poverty once retired.

I feel that an increase of more than inflation would be hazardous to our  vulnerable citizens.  Seniors are in that group as well as handicapped individuals that are presently in need of some support from the province and the Region.  I will be suggesting that we change our way of calculating the property tax from just property values to taking into consideration the age of the individuals concerned in this calculation.  This will allow our seniors to stay in their homes.

There is proof out there, with studies from many groups, that it is more cost effective to keep seniors in their homes then paying for them to live in an apartment.  Hopefully the province and other communities in the region will see the benefits for seniors and the community at large.  Check the agenda on the Port Colborne website for the wording of the motion.  It will be in the Committee items.

Another issue that seems to be coming to my attention is street lights.  When they go out and need replacement we need to let CNP know.  You can do this online by going to the CNP website, go to the residents tab, go down to  the street light area and report the light in need of replacement.  It may take up to a few months to get this accomplished.  CNP waits until they have enough to dispatch a truck to change the lights.  Until they do, they place it into a “to do” file.  It will get done but once they have enough.

I also received and envelop this morning requesting some lumber and some water for an outside rink.  The young man started a petition and indicates that it will be low maintenance.  It will be my pleasure to present this to council on Monday.  We will need Noah’s phone number so staff can contact him over his ideas.  With him we may be able to reboot an idea that was common in Port Colborne in the old days.  Noah please contact me at (905)834-6896.

The new council takes over on December 1.  Until then the old council has meetings and is making decisions that are in the best interest of all citizens.  We are not a “lame duck” council due to the fact that more than 75% of council were returned to office.  The inauguration of the new council will be December 1 at city hall in council chambers.  It will start at 7pm.

Last but not least please be careful on the roads today and this week.  We are seeing some nasty weather hitting the southern part of our region.  It will be and is very wet snow which makes it very heavy.  Take care of yourself when lifting this type of snow.  We have heard all the stories about the dangers of shoveling wet snow.  Be safe and work smart when it comes to this type of chore.  You can be assured that city staff  are keeping a close eye on the weather and reacting accordingly.

THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you!

Good day everyone.  Thank you so much for your vote of confidence on Monday.  Thank you all for following the issues  within this form of media.  It was interesting and I must say very good for me.  My blogs have allowed me to think through carefully all the issues and what I wish to accomplish during this term in office.  Will they all get done.  Probably not but I will work very diligently to address all the issues in a concise and pragmatic manor so as to allow everyone a say in the solution.

I must also congratulate all the other candidates that worked hard during this campaign.  It was a hard fought campaign with some good issues being brought to the fore front.  You need to be proud of the successes you had and your ability to navigate through a very steep learning curve.   Your issues will become part of my platform and my solutions over this term.

It takes courage to place yourself in front of the public and to work at getting them to believe in your abilities.  To develop a trust factor that will allow them to see you as Their representative.  It is also very hard to prepare yourself for what might happen on election day.  All of us must prepare for that possibility and all us have knots in our stomach until the final numbers are in.

I must thank all the citizens that have placed their trust in me again and returned me to this office.  I am humbled by this trust and confidence.  I am prepared to play a strong role in this council and to find solutions that will help our city and our ward.  We have come a long way in our journey and we continue to move forward in the next 4 years.

Being fiscally responsible to ALL the constituents is critical.  Both your re-elected councillors are very cognizant of the cost of government and the fact that we have some major decisions that will be made during this term.  Stay tuned for updates in my blogs and our bi-annual ward meetings at Tim Horton on Elizabeth street.  They seem to be successful and I need to continue this important format of gathering information from our constituents.  It helps us get the pulse of the community and allows us to garner the information necessary to present to council.

Ladies and gentleman, please be prepared to participate in our budget, regular council, public information meetings, etc.  Your input is necessary for us to make the most informed decisions on all issues.  Believe me when I say you are first and foremost the reason why we are doing this job and the reason we need to continue to hear from you at all times.  Although we are going to have our ward meetings, it is important for you to  contact us immediately with any difficulty. There were many individuals that simply were very frustrated and had not made any calls to either Angie or I.  A small issue that has an easy fix can become a frustrating issue if left to long.

Please follow  us and keep us informed at all times.  You don’t need to wait to speak to us.  My phone number is on the city/ this personal website and on all the literature that was given out during the campaign.  Please keep me up to date on the areas you feel are important to you.  I am prepared to address them  whether positive or negative.

One more time “Thank you” so much and please stop me when you see me out and about or working on my flower beds or just  visit me at home.  I am retired and when not at a meeting I am home.

Continuous excellence in REPRESENTATION and LEADERSHIP

TODAY is ELECTION DAY and this will by my last campaign blog about the issues.  Please feel free to comment and discuss the issues.  I do not have all the answers but you may contact me to discuss them.

Excellence in REPRESENTATION is critical to getting heard and ultimately resolve critical issues.  I have met with citizens that issues and work with them to find a solution.  The solution is not always what the citizen expects but we always work within the framework of our municipal government that is controlled by laws and regulations dictated to us by The Municipal Act.  It gives us the right to govern as a council but under certain controls and regulations.  If Council decides to ignore the rules, there would be serious consequences that could include suspension of the Council.

Excellence in representation also means that we are prepared to meet with all citizens on a regular basis.  Throughout this past four year term, I have co-sponsored Constituents Meet and Greets with my colleague, Angie Desmarais.  Twice per year we invite Ward 2 constituents to meet and talk to us about their concerns.  The last ward meeting lasted until early into the morning.

These meetings allow us to feel the pulse of this community and find out what issues are important to the community.  It helps us to plan what issues are priority that need to be presented to Council during the next six months.  While some issues have been resolved, others have been presented more than once and others are still pending.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is excellence in representation and demonstrates that Councillor Desmarais and I care about our neighbours.

LEADERSHIP is defined as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task“.

Good leaders can be spotted by the cooperation and strengths as seen by their constituents.  They may not be the loudest but they are effective at problem solving and obtaining consensus.

An effective leader is also honest, straight forward and skilled at influencing others.  They are also successful by gaining the trust and friendship of others around them.

In my 19 years on Council, I have honed these skills and have used them to the maximum benefit of those that I have been honoured represent.

While I am prepared to continue my role of providing excellence in leadership on behalf of the citizens of Ward 2 and the entire city, this can only continue when everyone VOTES today – Monday, October 27.

I will carry on with being reliable, dedicated, committed and professional.  You can continue to rely on me as your elected representative. 

Election 2014 is all about the issues that are important to you.  Read more about me and what I will do for you.  If you have any questions, there may be an answer in my Frequently Asked Questions.  Feel free to  contact me with your own comments and questions.  Thank you for your continued support.

ELECTION DAY REMINDER:  Poll hours today are 10am – 8pm.  If you live in Ward 2 and your address is SOUTH of Killally St. E, your polling station is Community Living on McRae Street.  For those residing NORTH of Killally St. E, you will vote at the Vale Health and Wellness Centre on Elizabeth St.  Please feel free to contact me if you need a ride to your polling station.  For further information, see Election 2014.