Tag Archives: Regional Municipality of Niagara

New beginnings

 WHEREAS seniors living In our community have indicated to Councillors and elected officials that they have a limited ability to pay property taxes – forcing them to consider selling their homes;

AND WHEREAS many seniors live on a fixed income and often live at the poverty level once retired;

AND WHEREAS it is desirable and cost effective to individuals and their communities for seniors to continue living in their homes for as long as possible;

NOW THEREFORE THE COUNCIL OF THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF PORT COLBORNE RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:

1 . That the Government of Ontario be requested to develop a new system of calculating property taxes, which in addition to assessed property value, takes age and income into consideration so that seniors pay less in property taxes than the average working individual.

  1. That this resolution be forwarded to the Premier of Ontario, the Ontario Minister of Finance, local Members of Provincial Parliament, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Region of Niagara and Local Area Municipalities for support.

The motion above was passed on Monday November 24 at our last meeting of this term of council.  It should begin the process of discussion and resolution to the hardship that some of our seniors experience.  They can often live at the poverty level once retired.  There already exists a program that presently helps seniors with their property taxes.  It is managed by the province of Ontario.  Go to this link to get more details to see if you qualify for this program.  It indicates that individuals can receive up to $500.00.

Port Colborne is starting to replace all city street lights  with LED lighting.  The information we now have indicates that it will pay itself off within a short time-a few years.  These lights are warrantied for 10 years and all indications are that they will all be up and running by May of 2015.  The company that won the tender will be starting in December by replacing all lights that CNP report are out and need replacing.  Everyone must realize that these lights are very directional and will light the street and not inside the houses as the present lights do.   Light will go where the fixture is directed.  The LED lighting is considered the most efficient form of lighting.  Only time will tell if we can save a considerable amount of money in doing so…..  Have a great week.  Remember inauguration of the new term of council was on Monday December 1 at 7:00 pm in council chambers on the 3rd floor of city hall.

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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.

Completion of the CBRA (Community Based Risk Assessment)

On this last day before the election, I will blog about the issues as I see  them  and as I have been able to extrapolate from the last 4 years.  Please feel free to comment and discuss the issues.  I do not have all the answers but feel free to contact me.  I am willing to discuss them.

This issue appears to have been placed on the back burner or many citizens are either not aware or have forgotten about it.  I would also venture to say that two of the Ward 2 candidates have no idea what the letters mean.

CBRA is a risk assessment process that is used to examine the environment in and around an area that may have been contaminated as a result of commercial, industrial or mining activity.  These environmental reviews, ordered by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, are not uncommon.  What made this one different was the estimated large scale of the environmental damage and health risks to every resident of the city, especially those in close proximity to the primary subject site in the East Village.  As such, Port Colborne was the first Ontario community to be the subject of a CBRA that included the entire municipality.

When the Ministry announced it, they advised the City that the process should be completed within 2 years.  That was 12 years ago and we are still waiting.  The Ministry is in possession of all of the required documents, comments and final draft report and yet we have heard nothing.  Ministry officials are silent and don’t want to answer any of our questions.  There appears to be no time line for the release of this critical final report.

Some people have indicated that its has taken so long that it no longer matters what the MOE or the report says.  I beg to differ.

In the past few years, the city has been approached by developers that have proposed some significant projects for Port Colborne and, in particular, Ward 2.  Because of the lengthy delay in releasing the final report, these business people have been unable to attract partners, investors or obtain financing.  The lack of a report is costing a lot of people a lot of money.  The biggest loser is the City and its residents.  For every day the report is delayed, another day goes by without new development.  Another day without new development is a day that the city does not receive new tax revenues.  Another day without new tax revenues is a day that the City Council has to continue struggling with decisions that could see taxes raised beyond the rate of inflation and/or service cuts.

The City of Port Colborne needs closure to this long drawn out affair so that this City can proceed with the growth that can happen.  I know that my colleagues on City Council are with me when I say to the Ministry of Environment, please, finish the job!  That’s all I and everyone in this city is asking for and it’s all we have been asking for more than a decade!

FINISH THE JOB!

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.

HOT BUTTON! The TRUTH about Port Colborne Taxes

During the Election 2014 campaign, some candidates have been fear mongering by telling voters that Port Colborne has the highest property taxes in the Region. The problem is, they cannot produce any evidence to support their claims.

The facts are now in!  Recently, the City of Port Colborne staff researched this issue.  The results are: Port Colborne property owners enjoy the lowest municipal residential property taxes in Niagara!  The proof can be seen in this graph.

Among other things, it clearly shows that Port Colborne property taxes are nearly $3000 lower than the most expensive (Niagara-on-the-Lake) and more than $800 below the average of all 12 municipalities.

Anyone that says that Port Colborne cannot retain its current residents or attract new, because it has the most expensive property taxes, has not done their homework.

Maintaining the services that residents expect and providing them as cost effectively as possible is a delicate balancing act.  Inflation is a fact of life and impacts everyone.  Municipalities are not immune to increasing costs.  The challenge has and continues to be the delivery of services that are affordable and will not cause a significant negative impact to the taxpayer.

In my 19 years as a city councilor, I have worked very hard to make Ward 2 and all of Port Colborne a great place to live.  That includes making decisions with the team of other elected officials and staff that would maintain as many services as possible while keeping property taxes in check.  During my terms in office, the councils have strived to keep property tax increases at or near the rate of inflation.   Without any reservation I can say that these councils have done quite well to achieve this goal year after year.

If re-elected, I will continue to do everything that I can to maintain the fine balance between service delivery and the costs associated with it so that Port Colborne continues to be an affordable and enjoyable place to live!

Further reading: Responsible Investment in Infrastructure will explain why property taxes will NOT be rising by 20% or more.  What cannot be explained is why the same candidates are propagating these false statements.