P.O. Box 282
Midland, Ontario L4R 4K8
Please call us for our payment methods.
Hours of Operation
Open 24 hours 7 days a week!
MARCH COUNCIL UPDATES
find below a brief update on several Town matters for the month of March.
1. Sunshine in Midland, for some.
has about 150 full-time employees. 33 of
them made Ontario’s ‘sunshine list’ of public employees paid wages or salaries
exceeding $100,000 in 2013. The 33
include 14 in the Midland Police Service, 12 in the Fire Department and 7
senior employees in other Departments.
This is 73% more employees on Midland’s ‘sunshine list’ than in 2012.
pay from a Fire arbitration award probably added 5 or 6 new members to this
exclusive club in 2013. But it won’t
really change the situation next year if their earnings end up a bit below
$100,000. Whether their pay is $105,000
or $95,000, it is still a huge amount to expect the citizens of Midland to pay
when police and fire keep receiving annual increases way above the rate of
inflation and residents are lucky if they keep up with inflation.
can change is whether our town has leadership with the skill and desire to
better manage the current situation because it is obviously not
sustainable. Several Councillors were
predictable in openly supporting and justifying having more than 20% of town
employees getting paid above $100,000 – and in failing to see both the
challenge and the opportunity.
our view, we need changes to the service models, we need greater restraint, we
need community reps on negotiation and compensation committees, we need to make
"ability to pay" a serious issue in bargaining and we may also need
new talent to replace those who don’t recognize limits to our ability to pay.
continues to get lots of attention. Several months ago the Police Services
Board (PSB) commenced their three-year community based strategic plan. This
process consisted of public meetings and approximately 400 telephone surveys.
While crime has declined significantly, communication, transparency and a
tighter policy and procedural framework remain priorities. The police budget
has just been concluded to the satisfaction of the Police Services Board and we
now need to wait to see if Council will accept a budget that exceeds Council’s
target. It remains our view that in a town with virtually no growth, police and
fire need to reign in expenses as they account for more than 40% of the town's
annual operating budget. Be sure to check out midlandcommunity's deputation on our web site, on the
right side in the "Must Reads" list.
3. Council matters:
March 24th witnessed a marathon Council meeting that ended at approximately
11:15pm. The meeting adjourned with many items deferred to a special meeting
held on March 31st to complete the agenda.
It is clear that Council needs to adopt a different and more efficient process
to deal with these lengthy agendas so that time can be directed and focused on
those things that matter most.
a) The 2014 operating budget, while not fully
concluded, appears to be in the 1.7% increase range – about twice the size of
Dissension among Council members continues to undermine efficiency. Witness
marathon Council meetings and frequent recorded votes.
Two sizeable reports are nearing completion, those being the HATS report
(Huronia Area Tourism Strategy) and the Municipal Cultural Plan. The Cultural
Plan report highlighted an inventory of 274 of our region’s significant
cultural assets. Both studies are comprehensive and will provide guidance
to this and future Councils. We commend Council for bringing awareness and
focus to a sizeable economic development opportunity, which clearly needs to
get maximized to its full potential.
funding will continue to be a struggle until Midland again becomes a growing
community and can shore up its depleted development fund and enjoy tax base
growth. The real opportunity is to get the 274 assets working in harmony,
talking to each other, pooling and sharing resources, and having more effective
branding and marketing. Midland, lets be "proud out loud” of our cultural
and tourism advantage!
Sumac property official plan amendment. Apparently in the early stages of this
application, planning staff was ok with developing one additional lot here as
it was site specific and could therefore be tightly controlled. Later at the
public meeting there was considerable opposition to the
application. Planning's position was to recommend rejection of the amendment
relying upon aspirations/direction in the Official Plan along with an opinion
from the public meeting that there was "no overwhelming public
benefit". Council supported Planning's position by casting a 6-3 recorded
Possible disposition of Town identified excess land. There were several
properties that were being considered for re-purposing and sale by the town.
The lack of consistent criteria coupled with a property specific public outcry
resulted in all four properties remaining the property of the Town - status
quo. It looks like our Town always has a
healthy appetite for acquiring more property but is reluctant to ever dispose
of its excess holdings. When Midland holds on to excess land, it reduces our
tax base and adds to annual operating costs (no taxes are paid on land Midland
Proposed Septic By-law. PROPOSED BY-LAW - SEPTIC SYSTEM
MAINTENANCE INSPECTION PROGRAM
Leggett spoke on the proposed Septic System Inspection By-law and questioned
both the need and the communication process. Since the Town did not make
available either the wording of the proposed by-law or the information package
until just a week before the scheduled vote, he asked that Council postpone its
vote until the public could be better informed on the issue. Wes Crown agreed saying that due to several
difficulties the Town had been unable to provide the appropriate information in
a timely manner and therefore Mr. Crown also supported postponement of the
Leggett then went on to describe how a similar by-law (the Back-Flow Prevention
By-Law) passed by Midland Council in 2005 now affects well over 1,000
commercial properties at a direct cost to property owners measured in the
millions of dollars. Mr. Leggett (an
ex-firefighter with the City of Mississauga and also past President of the
Canadian School of Rescue Training) requested that the town provide
Councillors, himself and the residents of Midland with evidence showing whether
any actual injury the by-law could prevent has ever occurred in the Town’s
history and whether any such risk could be realistically expected.
Roy Ellis on behalf of
**SAVE THE DATE**
*The next Meet & Greet will be at Lot 102 on May 5 at 6 pm. *
View All Newsletters & Press Releases »
Stay tuned for more details.