Articles from March 2012



Milton Hospital Expansion Safe From Provincial Budget Cuts

Ontario budget won’t affect MDH

Christina Commisso, Milton Canadian Champion

Group say they’ll keep advocating for the MDH expansion until it’s complete. GRAHAM PAINE/Metroland Media Group

The Milton hospital expansion is still a go.

Following media reports last week that new hospital projects announced prior to the provincial election would be put on the chopping block in today’s budget, members of the Friends of Milton Hospital team were relieved to learn that the Milton District Hospital (MDH) expansion is safe and sound.

Speaking to the Champion from Queen’s Park, Councillor Mike Cluett said MDH isn’t one of the four hospital projects that have been cancelled in Ontario’s 2012 budget.

“Halton Healthcare Services is working on a plan for the expansion and has never stopped with the planning from what we’ve heard,” said Cluett.

He said after Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivered his budget speech, a thumbs up from Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh signaled the much needed local expansion was on track.

Cluett attended the budget presentation with fellow Friends of Milton Hospital member Samantha Attew.

“We were ready with pitch forks,” said Attew, who said she was elated to learn the plan to triple MDH is moving ahead.

“I look forward to putting this thing in the ground,” she said from Queen’s Park. “You cannot play with health care. It’s something every Canadian is entitled to. It’s not a political thing.”

She continued, “I’m proud to be part of Milton and proud of Ted (Chudleigh).”

Cluett said the Friends of Milton Hospital will continue to advocate for the expansion until construction is complete — which was previously estimated for 2015 or 2016. “I give credit to the people of Milton for speaking their mind and letting the government know that we’re not backing down.”

Last night, Milton council unanimously passed a motion that reaffirmed the Town’s support for MDH and their willingness to help with the 10 per cent local contribution needed for the construction.

Heres What Your Councillors Earn

Here is an article from the online version of the Champion reporting on councillors salaries and professional development expenses (for conferences and meetings attended on behalf of the town) and where everyone ranks.

As I mentioned in my blog a few days ago, I posted a brief outline of those expenses including mileage claimed by individual councillors.  If you go back the last few years before being elected to town council, I have been a strong advocate for councillors to take a leadership role in this area.

The Champion reported that back in June of 2011 when the first of our 2% raises were approved in the budget, I contacted human resources and asked that it not be applied to my salary.  It is a small amount but as I mentioned before, its not the amount, its the principle.

Every day I go to work in this position I do what I can to limit the impact on taxpayers because it is YOU who pay our salaries and your tax dollars should be treated with respect.  There was a citizens committee struck months ago to review our salaries in comparision to other towns/cities to come up with an amount that would be competitive and fair.  Im not against paying politicians a fair salary for the work we do.  It can get hectic at times as I recently found out with the Bell cell tower proposal at New Life Church, news that the provincial government might put the brakes on our much needed and promised hospital expansion among other things.

That report is due in the coming months so I’ll reserve my comments after reading that report.  What I will say is that once we receive the report and review the recommendations of the committee and suggest (if its not already included in the report) that any potential increase they might come up with be approved and put into place the date the next council sits, which will be December 1st 2014. 

This way it wont give the public the perception that we are increasing our own salaries.  Thats long been a stone in my shoe where either behind closed doors or even out in the open, council can raise its salary with little or no public input.  We’ll have to see when that report comes to the table.

Thank you to those who emailed me with your comments.  I am proud to be your representative at Milton Town Council and will continue to work hard to save taxpayers money wherever possible.

In case you missed it, here is the breakdown of councillor salaries, professional development and mileage expenses for 2011.

Heres the article from Christina Commisso.

Here’s what your councillors earn

Milton Councillor Mike Cluett chose not to accept a two per cent wage increase approved in the 2011 budget.

He put the taxpayers’ money where his mouth is.

Councillor Mike Cluett, a critic of council’s yearly wage adjustments, chose not to accept a two per cent salary increase that was approved in the 2011 budget.

Financial documents released this week show the Ward 6 Councillor earned a base salary of $26,495 last year, while his council counterparts took in $26,751.

Mayor Gord Krantz earned $66,582 in salary and benefits from the Town of Milton plus $44,446 in regional council salary and benefits for a total of $111,028. The longtime mayor also received $3,678 in conference expenses and $6,108 in car mileage from the Town and Halton Region.

Among local Milton councillors, Councillor Cindy Lunau, Ward 3, was the biggest earner at a total of $34,588 — $2,611 for car mileage, $2,279 in benefits and $2,947 in conference expenses.

Ward 4 councillor Rick Malboeuf was the Town’s most frugal councillor, taking in $30,201 in salary and benefits and not claiming any expenses for conferences and mileage.

At the regional level, Councillor Colin Best took in $56,452 in salary and benefits, conference expense and car mileage while Councillor Tony Lambert, who also sits on regional council, totaled $49,696 in salary and expenses.

Regional Chair Gary Carr took home close to $200,000 in 2011. He made $189,106 in salary and benefits and charged $5,591 for conference expenses and $3,055 in car mileage.

Milton’s 2012 budget saw a freeze on council’s salaries while a citizen compensation committee reviews the earnings of the Mayor and councillors to ensure their wages are in line with comparable municipalities.

The committee is expected to make a recommendation to council in April or May.

The last review in 2007 led to a hefty increase — the mayor’s salary increased from $49,133 to $60,480 and the rest of council saw an increase from $21,096 to $25,096.

Milton Town Council Meeting March 26 2012

The next meeting of Milton Town Council is on Monday March 26, 2012 starting at 7pm at Milton Town Hall.

The governing body of the Town of Milton is Town Council, consisting of the Mayor and 10 Councillors who represent Milton’s eight wards.  Milton residents elect members of Council for a four-year term of office.  You can find a link to watch the Town Council meetings here.  The meetings are also broadcast on TV Cogeco (Channel 14).

Town Council deals with:

  • Matters requiring policy direction
  • By-laws or by-law amendments
  • Responses or actions to pertinent issues

Council also makes decisions on the recommendations of Milton’s two Standing Committees of Council:

  • Administration & Planning Committee
  • Community Services Committee

The link to the agenda can be found here.

Some of the highlites in the agenda are as follows:

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me mike@mikecluett.ca You can also go to the Watch Online link on my page to view from the comfort of your home.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Remember this? I do!

Deb Matthews: “…the green light… the go ahead… I want to be very clear. This money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through the treasury board. All of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. This money is part of our infrastructre plan….this money is part of that plan.”

Do you remember this day? I do…and over 100,000 Miltonians do as well. Here is a press release from MPP Ted Chudleigh.

www.tedchudleigh.com

MILTON DISTRICT HOSPITAL EXPANSION: A PROMISE THAT MUST BE KEPT
Chudleigh urges the people of Milton to remain vigilant as the 2012 budget nears

(Milton) – With the tabling of the 2012 Ontario Budget less than a week away, and the Minister of Finance promising massive infrastructure cuts, Halton MPP Ted Chudleigh today urged the people of Milton to keep their voices strong to ensure the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is completed on time.

“All of us were thrilled when the Minister finally promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016. But we can’t kid ourselves. With the Liberals’ spending problem hitting us hard, the long list of broken Liberal promises and with talk of hospital projects being axed in the upcoming budget we need to keep our voices strong,” said Chudleigh.

“Was this just another Liberal lie to get elected?” asked Chudleigh

The PC Government began the project to expand the Milton hospital in 2001. In 2003, soon after they were elected, the McGuinty Liberals cancelled the expansion.

Subsequently, for close to a decade, the people of Milton worked diligently to explain to the Liberals the necessity of expanding the hospital. A booming population and undersized hospital were not acceptable and had begun to put the heath of their families at risk.

On August 25, 2011 the Liberal Minister of Health and Long Term Care finally heard the Town’s plea and promised the province would fund the hospital’s expansion, “I want to be very clear this money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through our treasury board. All of the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed,” she said.

“Was Milton lied to?” asked Chudleigh “I guess only time will tell.”

Indeed, noting that the announcement to expand Milton District Hospital occurred just before the provincial election, Chudleigh questioned if the McGuinty Liberals ever intended to keep their promise to expand the hospital by 2016.

“The Minister stood in the Milton hospital, with tears in her eyes, and promised the hospital would be expanded by 2016,” said Chudleigh. “If this was an election ploy it is unforgivable.”

Weekend Reading

As I posted in my recent entry for the Administration & Planning Standing Committee, there are a number of issues to be discussed this coming Monday night.

One of them is a public meeting regarding a proposed zoning bylaw amendment for a property at Thompson Road and Louis St Laurent.  There is an application moved by the owners to allow the construction of a Tim Hortons restaurant on that land, located at the north west corner.  Right now its vacant land, not well kept up and lacking a sidewalk to allow for pedestrians to safely cross the street.

Here is a link to the application.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to attend the meeting at Town Hall this coming Monday March 19th at 7pm to have your say.  As always you can email your questions to me mike@mikecluett.ca and I can ask them on your behalf.

Some of the concerns that I will raise at the meeting is the possibility of traffic concerns in the area.  As with many drive through restaurants there is a concern of overflow traffic at peak times coming on the road, which can lead to potential issues.  After meeting with the designers of the property a few weeks ago, they showed me diagrams of what it will look like and hopefully will address those concerns.  If the zoning bylaw change goes through, there is still a lot to be done before the shovel hits the ground.  There will be traffic studies done to gain some insight of what might happen if the restaurant goes through.

Another item that will be discussed (in the consent agenda) is the report from staff on Milton Town Council’s salaries and expenses for 2011.  Ive attached a quick snap shot of the report listed by individual councillor.

There is also a technical report that will be presented by staff on a recomendation of a zoning bylaw change for the property located in the area around Ferguson (north of Clark Blvd) , Armstrong and Derry Road.  If you live near the area its where a number of homes will be built soon and its getting ready for construction.  Also in the area is the property that will be a future public school at Sauve Road & Ferguson.  The report is outlining why the bylaw should be changed from Holding status to RMD which is residential medium density development.

Ive attached a map of the area from the report.

Here is a link to the report.

And finally there will be presentation from staff on reaction to the provincial governments recent release of the Drummond Report.  If you have had a chance to review the close to 500 page report, you will know there are many recommendations made to the provincial government to reduce the over $16 billion deficit.  These recommendations arent guaranteed but many of them have caused the ears of municipalities like Milton and Halton’s ears perk up.

Here is a link to the staff report on Drummond.

If you have any questions on these or other matters at this meeting, feel free to call  or email me and let me know.

Admin & Planning Standing Committee March 19 2012

This coming Monday night March 19, 2012 will be the Administration & Planning Standing Committee meeting at Town Hall starting at 7pm.

This Committee consists of five Councillors and the Mayor. Committee members review all reports, formulate policy and make recommendations to Council on matters over which Council has authority under the Municipal Act, the Planning Act and other legislation. Recommendations are made in the areas of corporate administration, personnel, legal issues, planning and finance.

The Administration and Planning Committee reviews the operating and capital budgets as well as various financial matters affecting the Town of Milton.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Some of the highlites inlcude:

  • Public Meeting for zoning amendment for property owned by G. Di Fillipo (Corner of Thompson & LSL)
  • Public Meeting for zoning amendment for property owned by Mattamy Homes (Corner of LSL & #25 (Bronte Road))
  • 2011 Milton Town Councillors Expenses
  • Staff report on Overview of Drummond Report & its potential impact on Region of Halton & Town of Milton.

As always you can watch online on Monday night at 7pm.  If you have any questions or comments for any of these reports, please email me mike@mikecluett.ca

UPDATE Bell Cell Tower Proposal

Here is some more updated information on the proposed Bell cell tower I posted about recently.

The information letters have been circulated to the residents in the immediate area but I wanted to post it here so that everyone who is interested in this can submit comments/questions and take part in a public meeting.

From the notice sent out:

Proponet Contact Information

Members of the public are invited to provide comments to Bell Mobilty (via Altus Group) about this proposal by mail, email, or fax.  Public have until the end of the day April 12, 2012 to submit their written questions or comments to the address provided below, Altus Group.

Also in an attempt for the applicant to respond to public questions or concerns Altus Group is inviting the public to attend the Open House Information Session that is scheduled on April 12, 2012 at the Milton Leisure Centre, Activity Room from 7-9pm (1100 Main Street East, Milton)

The setting of the meeting is an “Open House Information Session” and there will not be any decisions made on this meeting and all decisions relation to this application will be made by Industry Canada.

Altus Group

33 Yonge Street 5th Floor

Toronto ON M5E 1G4

Attn:  Morteza Alabaf

Email:  comments.agi@altusgroup.com

Fax 416-204-1200

For more information on Industry Canada’s public consultation guidelines including CPC-2-0-03 please visit www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/h_sf01702.html or the local Industry Canada office:

Toronto District Office

Room 909, 9th Floor

55 St. Clair Avenue East

Toronto ON M4T 1M2

Phone (416) 973-8215 Fax (416) 954-3553

Email Spectrum Engineering spectrum.toronto@ic.gc.ca

Closing Date for Submission of Written Public Comments

Industry Canada’s rules contain requirement for timely response to your questions, comments or concerns.  We will acknowledge receipt of your communication within 14 days and will provide a formal response to the municipality and those members of the public who communicated to Bell Mobility within 60 days.  The members of the public who communicated with Bell Mobility will then have 21 days to review and reply as the final response.

Keep the date of April 12th in your calendar to attend the open house information session at the Milton Leisure Centre.  And as always if you have any questions, please let me know mike@mikecluett.ca

Changes to Parking Bylaw Coming

The Community Services Standing Committee proposed some changes to the parking bylaws that will affect Miltonians.

Back in November, Ward 5 Councillor Arnold Huffman asked staff to prepare a report on the current parking bylaw to see if it would be valid to change it from the current 3hr maximum parking and change it to 5hr along with adding no overnight parking.

I don’t have a vote on the committee but I mentioned last night that if we are to change this bylaw there should be a compelling business case to do so.  And in my opinion, there wasn’t such a case made.

The staff report concluded that it would be beneficial to keep the current law and if it was changed to 5 hours there would have to be significant changes made to the shift of our bylaw officers.  The parking bylaw services are contracted out, meaning they are not Town of Milton employees.  Here is the text of the report.

Report to: Chair and Members of Community Services Standing Committee

From: M. Paul Cripps, P.Eng., Director, Engineering Services Date: March 5, 2012

Report No. ENG-003-12

Subject: Parking Enforcement – Three Hour Limitation, Parking Considerations, First Attendance

RECOMMENDATION: THAT Staff Report ENG-003-12 regarding Councillor Huffman’s request to review raising the three hour parking limit to five hours, while not permitting parking from 2:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m., along with reviewing the parking consideration program be received;

AND THAT the existing three hour parking by-law remains in effect and that the parking consideration and first attendance programs continue to operate as noted in Report ENG-003-12.

REPORT

Background

Currently, the parking by-law within the Town of Milton is three hours unless otherwise posted. The three hour parking by-law is fairly standard throughout many municipalities in the surrounding area, with the exception of the Town of Halton Hills, which recently changed their on street parking by-law from three hours to five hours.

The three hour parking limit has been developed to provide short term parking for guests and to encourage clear, uncluttered residential streets. The three hour parking limit also:

• encourages residents to provide off street parking for the number of vehicles they own;

• allows for road maintenance activities including road repairs, snow removal, sanding/salting, street cleaning;

• helps to facilitate the weekly collection of residential garbage;

• helps to minimize the difficulty of backing out of, or accessing a private driveway;

• controls the problem of derelict vehicles;

• improves the traffic flow on residential streets

Response

Three Hour Parking By-law

Staff surveyed a number of area municipalities with respect to their parking by-law and their exemption program. The following Cities/Towns have been surveyed: Towns of Halton Hills, Oakville and the Cities of Burlington, Vaughan, Cambridge, Brampton and Mississauga. All of the surveyed municipalities have a three hour parking by-law with many of them prohibiting parking from 2:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. (yearly or seasonally) with the exception of Halton Hills, which has a five hour by-law and No Parking 2:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. November 15 – April 15. It should be noted that with the new five hour parking by-law in Halton Hills, when a complaint is received for on street parking, the officers will issue a warning tag first, prior to issuing a tag. All surveyed municipalities have parking consideration programs similar to the program within the Town of Milton.

It should be noted that the Town of Milton also has a program that allows residents to apply for extended 15 hour parking on their street involving a petition and questionnaire process. This program has been available since 2003 and to date there are only eight locations within the Town of Milton where extended parking has been approved, while over 150 streets have been reviewed. The lack of positive response to the questionnaires issued by the Town related to extended parking would indicate that the majority of residents support the current three hour parking by-law.

Over 90% of the enforcement requests (approximately 1150 from 2011) that the Town has received are for enforcement of the three hour parking by-law, particularly overnight parking. Residents tend to use their garages for storage instead of parking of a vehicle.

The Engineering Services Department doesn’t support changing the on street parking by-law from three hours to five hours, as this would create enforcement issues for the Town and be operationally disruptive. It should be noted that the three hour parking bylaw is enforced on a complaint basis similar to surrounding municipalities. Currently, our parking enforcement officers work an eight hour shift. The first three hours of their shift is used for chalking vehicles and after the chalking has been completed, the officers can then return to the streets to issue parking infraction notices. Enforcement of the three hour limit takes up the majority of the night shift for the officer and it should be noted that the Town receives several new requests for enforcement each day. It is also important to note that the same officer that chalks the vehicle has to issue the parking infraction notice. If the parking by-law was changed to five hours, this would only allow our officers approximately one hour to chalk; therefore all of the complaints would not be attended to, resulting in a decrease in level of service.

In 2003, the parking by-law in the Town of Milton was three hours unless otherwise posted and parking was prohibited from 2:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m., November 15 – April 15 for winter control. This was subsequently changed to allow three hour parking at anytime, because if a storm occurred at night, the plows would be concentrating on clearing the arterial and collector roads first. With the introduction of the “Allow the Plow” campaign the number of vehicles tagged for impeding snow removal has been reduced.

Parking Considerations

With respect to the parking consideration program, residents who are having driveway or home renovations completed are currently required to use their 18 parking considerations per plate per year. Parking Enforcement does approve extensions under extenuating circumstances, such as relatives living with family until a new home is built (with proof), university/college students home for the summer, etc. This process has been in place for a number of years with very few complaints from the residents.

Residents/guests are able to obtain a parking consideration by calling Parking Enforcement directly or on the Town’s web site. Some municipalities actually sell permits to residents/visitors once they have exhausted their permitted parking considerations. Implementing a process such as this would not be feasible due to limited human resources. It is therefore recommended that the parking consideration program remain as is and residents requiring extended parking considerations continue to contact Parking Enforcement and their request will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Effective immediately, should a resident be having home renovations or driveway work completed by a contractor, they will be required to use five (5) of their 18 parking considerations per plate per vehicle and then can apply for an extended permit if required. They would be required to send Parking Enforcement a request with all of the required information (name, phone #, address, license plate numbers of vehicles that require on street parking, and proof from the contractor that work is being done and when it will be completed).

First Attendance

Currently, the Town of Milton operates a First Attendance Facility, which allows the recipient of a parking infraction notice to come to Town Hall and fill out paperwork should they wish to dispute their parking infraction notice. This process must be done in person, which is consistent with all other municipalities and the same as someone disputing a Highway Traffic Act charge. First Attendance is not the type of program that can operate online. Presently, Parking Enforcement doesn’t fax or e-mail the First Attendance forms to recipients. Effective immediately, should a recipient of a parking infraction notice wish to have the First Attendance forms e-mailed or faxed to them this can be done, saving them some time when they appear at First Attendance.

Financial Impact

There is no financial impact associated with Report ENG-003-12.

Respectfully submitted,

M. Paul Cripps, P. Eng.

Director, Engineering Services

Staff advised the committee  last night that these changes will bring about potential increases in the cost of providing the service to Milton residents.  He said the cost increases could be in the range of $32,000 to $64,000 per year given the changes to the contract we have.  Mayor Gord Krantz asked staff last night if this is a money making venture, does it lose money or does it break even.  He felt that this is something we shouldnt be making money on and Mr Cripps advised, not knowing the numbers he felt this service broke even.

Whats going to happen after this?  If the costs go up, revenue must increase to make it a break even venture.  More revenue means more tickets for Milton residents.

In my opinion, there wasnt a compelling case made to change the bylaw from 3 to 5 hour parking.  In my time as councillor for the ward I have received a few emails and calls regarding parking issues in ward 6.  Mainly these have been issues with commercial vehicles and neighbour “feuds”.  The facts outlined in the report last night stated every surrounding municipality with the exception of Halton Hills has a 3 hour parking bylaw including Oakville, Burlington, Brampton & Mississauga.  As Milton grows in size comparable to these areas, we should be looking at what works for them.

I along with Councillor Rick Malboeuf asked staff that a lot of the issues regarding parking tickets can be fixed by using common sense.  Things like not ticketing at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Grey Cup and other special events where friends and families are visiting.  The worst ticket being someone whos had a few drinks and they do the responsible thing by taking a cab home or staying over and for that getting a ticket. 

There are measures in place for parking considerations as outlined in the report. 

http://www.milton.ca/en/live/parkingconsideration.asp

You can go online and get a parking consideration in a matter of seconds and in cases where you are having renovations made and cant use your driveway extra time will be considered.

I questioned staff on the number of considerations per plate (currently 18) and if they might think about increasing the number of considerations to encourage their use.  He felt that the Town of Milton is quite generous compared to other municipalities in this matter but I honestly think that if we want people to use them regularly and not be inconvenienced by running out of them during the year, we can give more considerations.

I personally think the wrong decision was made by the Community Services Standing Committee as there will be more confusion with residents and will result in an increase in parking infractions, not to mention an increase in the cost of providing the service.

But as always, I DO want to hear from you.

This decision will now come before council on March 26th to be ratified.  I encourage you if you dont want these changes made, to make your feelings known by emailing me mike@mikecluett.ca and other members of council and also by becoming a delegate at the meeting to speak your mind.

Halton CAO “Too Soon To Predict”

Region of Halton CAO Pat Moyle presented a verbal report to Regional Council last week with an update on the Drummond Report and how it will affect the region and surrounding municipalities.

Christina Commisso from the Milton Canadian Champion wrote about the presentation as well.  Here is the link to the article. 

What I found to be quite telling were his comments (and I have been saying this for quite some time before being elected AND after) that municipalities need to live within their means and stick to their core business.  All the nickels and dimes we spend will eventually add up.  And with the proposals for cuts at the provincial level will eventually make their way down to the municipal level and the property tax base.

You can watch CAO Pat Moyle’s presentation at the Halton website here and it begins just before the 36 minute part.

Too soon to predict Drummond Report impact: CAO

With almost 30 per cent of the Region’s revenue coming from Queen’s Park, Halton’s CAO said the effects of Ontario’s austerity plan will be felt by all.

However, it’s still too soon to predict the degree of the impact in Halton, said Pat Moyle during Wednesday’s regional council meeting, where he quipped, “We are living in a post-Drummond world.”

Moyle provided councillors with an overview of findings from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services — known as the Drummond Report — but said some of the 362 recommendations are too vague to determine what kind of financial impact they would have locally.

“Some of the recommendations have already been discounted,” said Moyle, pointing to the end of all-day kindergarten and delaying the uploading of social program costs from municipalities to the Province.

Moyle said about 80 of Drummond’s recommendations have a direct bearing on Halton.

“When the Province sneezes, we catch a cold,” he joked.

In the report, Moyle pointed to removing public health as a Regional responsibility. With the Region funding 35.5 per cent of public health initiatives, Moyle wrote, “It is critical that prior to implementing any actions with respect to public health service delivery or funding, that the Province reveal its implementation plan.”

A recommendation to integrate the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Supports programs could, according to the report, increase caseloads in Halton from 2,000 to 9,000 annually.

Centralized bargaining for emergency services would also have a local impact as police services are bargained at the regional level and fire at the local level.

Other recommendations that if implemented will impact Halton include the consolidation of Ontario’s 80 hydro utilities along regional lines and re-evaluating the portion of slots revenue the OLG distributes to host municipalities.

Moyle said the Drummond report reveals some important lessons for all municipalities: governments must live within their means and stick to their core business, debt hurts credit ratings and it’s important to listen to the governments’ finance people.

“The lessons learned by Drummond are lessons that have applied in Halton for the long term,” said Moyle, adding, We could better withstand the shocks of Drummond.”

Community Fund News Update

Almost a year ago, Ward 5 Councillor Arnold Huffman had asked the Community Services Advisory Committee (CSAC) to review possible changes to the Milton Community Fund to allow for a special category to be set up specifically for Milton based service groups like the Optimist Club, Rotary Club and Royal Canadian Legion to name a few.

This option was reviewed by the CSAC members (of which both Arnold and I are council representatives for) and the report was returned to council with the recommendation that it not move forward.  Before the report from CSAC could be voted on by council, a motion to defer and send it back was moved and passed.  This allowed CSAC to review it again along with additional feedback from area service groups with the result being the same.

This means the $100,000 will be put back into the Community Fund for 2012.  This amount for the last few years had been allocated to fund the construction of the Milton Centre for the Arts and once that was completed, it was to be directed back into available funds for allocations by CSAC.  During the 2011 budget process, Arnold made the motion to have CSAC review the special allocation in the fund for service clubs and over a year later the matter has been resolved.

The 2011 Community Fund allocations this past year actually ran out as there were so many qualified applicants.  As Milton grows and if the Community Fund is to be successful we need to make sure that there is enough money in the fund for future needs.  Funding for the CF comes from the slot revenues from OLG and not from your tax bill.  With the CSAC motion approved by Milton Council, the $100,000 will be available for all members of the community through the fund.  When the 2012 guidelines have been approved by council later this month, I will post a link so people can apply if needed.

Here is a brief history of the Community Fund.

For some background information you can check out Champion coverage hereAlso, here is a report from the Milton Canadian Champion.

Service groups denied – Council votes against matching program from Milton’s Community Fund

Councillors have voted not to allocate $100,000 from Milton’s Community Fund specifically to service groups.

Without discussion on Monday night, council approved a staff report that recommended against a new matching program to help service clubs fund Milton-based projects.

Ward 5 Councillor Arnold Huffman asked staff to investigate the feasibility of the program in early 2011. At the time, he said the matching program would help fundraising initiatives for new projects and possibly increase membership levels. Huffman was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Twice, the Community Services Advisory Committee (CSAC) — the committee that reviews the community fund allocations — voted against the matching program. One of the meetings took place in late January and members of Milton Council were not permitted to attend as to not influence other CSAC members.

Close to $290,000 from the 2011 Milton Community fund was distributed to individuals and groups in town.

The 2012 program will see $350,000 distributed.