APRIL COUNCIL UPDATES
THANK YOU. We wish to thank all our members, existing and new, who were a part of our Meet and Greet experience on May 5. Not only was the event a packed-house success of over 200 people but a new energy was formed and an election spark lit.
Photo credit: Midland Film Club
We heard from five exciting Nextgen speakers, who confirmed the fact that Midland is filled with talented people ready to work together and get Midland thriving again. We are thrilled and encouraged with the turn out and look forward to our next gathering. The event was filmed by Nate Lacroix of Midland Film Club. We will be posting videos shortly on our website for those who missed it, and those who wish to see it again. Watch for our posts and emails.
Roy Ellis will be the guest on Politically Speaking May14th so be sure to tune in as the discussion will focus on Monday night's meet and greet which Rogers TV filmed live.
Below is our April Council Update which serves up even more excitement along with it's normal controversy.
April in Review
As though having the highest local tax rate in Simcoe County was not a significant enough deterrent to development in Midland, Council was asked to consider an increase in Development Fees of 78% for commercial development and 36% for medium density residential development. Developers, real estate professionals, business owners, concerned citizens and Midlandcommunity.ca (See ‘Must Read’ on our web site) spoke passionately against the increases. These increases, on top of already onerous taxes and fees, will further dampen economic development in Midland. An assumed increase of 4700 in Midland’s population by 2031 is clearly flawed, as is the assumption that we need the fee increases as presented. The Midlandcommunity.ca deputation showed that a decline in building permits over the past 3 years did not support the optimistic projections. Council directed staff to reexamine the increases in light of public input. The matter will likely come up again at the May 12th General Committee meeting.
Piling worse onto bad, Council voted to implement a septic inspection program that is well over the minimums required under the Ontario building code. It was argued that adjacent municipalities had moved to implement the not yet mandated 2015 septic inspections and Midland should follow suit. Shouldn’t we make decisions based on our own situations instead of following those made by others? This smacks of the ridiculous backflow preventer program rammed down the throats of both residents and businesses. Yet another example of the Town’s business unfriendly policy!
Midland, for the 4th year in a row had a budget surplus in excess of $800,000. Unlike the previous three years Council voted to allocate $170,000 to the taxpayers and $30,000 to programs cut from the 2014 budget. We believe this is a good decision as the four-year trend leaves no doubt there is excess money in the base budget that needs to be stripped out. Councilor Jeffery argued against returning any of the $891,000 surplus funds to the taxpayer. He said, “the taxpayer giveth and we spendeth”. To add insult to injury, Councilor Jeffery stated, Department Heads were not adult enough to manage their budgets without inducements to save. This last comment was in reference to allocating pieces of the surplus to departmental reserves instead of to a general Town reserve.
April saw the Ontario sunshine list published for 2013. Midland had the dubious distinction of having 33 persons on the list of those persons that made in excess of $100,000.00 (14 Police, 12 Fire and 7 municipal staff). This seems more than a little extravagant given the median household income in Midland sits at $48,496, and growth/development is virtually ground to a halt.
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