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.