Halton Region Community Investment Fund

In the next of his series of videos, Regional Chair Gary Carr highlights the value of just some of the organizations that benefit from the Halton Region Community Investment Fund.

The Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) supports non-profit community health and social service programs aligned with strategic directions in The Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan.

HRCIF provides:

– one-time grants for a maximum of 1 year and up to $20,000 that fund community health and social service programs aligned with funding priorities for short-term, time-limited, small capital and/or innovative projects.

– multi-year funding aligned with the term of Council and up to $125,000/year to non-profit, charitable, community health and social service programs aligned with funding priorities.

The next call for proposals will be in 2013 for one-time grants and 2015 for multi-year funding.

In this video he shows what the investment fund can do for two local Halton organizations, one of which is MCRC (Milton Community Resource Centre)  As part of my official duties as local councillor for the Town of Milton, I am a board member of MCRC and very impressed at the quality of child care they provide the children.

Have a look at the video and if you want any information on the Halton Region Community Investment Fund, you can send me an email mike@mikecluett.ca

Region of Halton Is Prepared. Are YOU?

The following is a video from Halton Region Chair Gary Carr with some information on how to be prepared in case of an emergency.  Its a great video that includes video highlites of our recent session at the Region where we did a mock emergency test with your elected officials in charge.  THANKFULLY we’re not.

Milton Hospital Expansion Approved!

Its been a busy day for a number of reasons. I was at the announcement today along with several of our town councillors, MPP Ted Chudleigh, Liberal candidates Indiria Naidoo Harris, Friends of Milton Hospital, doctors and nurses, and staff and volunteers. Quite emotional. I had to leave because we had a medical emergency with our cat Chester. He was in a fight on the weekend and developed a massive infection which burst today and my son called in a panic. (Chesters had his surgery and is doing ok, we’ll be picking him up soon)

I put together a few thoughts, and once things settle down at home, I’ll post more…and probably add more people to thank so I dont leave anyone out.

EDIT:  As Colin Best reminded me on the Hawthorne Villager I forgot someone important.  Regional Chair Gary Carr has also played a very strong role in getting meetings scheduled with cabinet ministers during the recent AMO Conference in London and also bringing up Milton’s needs at every possible opportunity.  Thank you Gary!!!

Here is the video from today courtesy of Brian Best (thanks for the vid…it was a historic day in Milton and I’m glad it was captured)

Today was a great day for Milton with the announcement of the hospital expansion earlier today. Many thanks to a LOT of people.

To the doctors and nurses and volunteers and staff of Milton Hospital…thank you. You were the ones under the gun over the last several years and despite everything seemingly against you, you have ALL done an amazing job.

The tears of joy I witnessed from the staff at MDH said it all.

To John Oliver and Alan Halls THANK YOU for your leadership and persistence in this matter. Everyone at Halton Healthcare Services has been a strong advocate for Milton and our needs and you have lead the charge.

To Friends of Milton Hospital, THANK YOU. Over 36,000 signatures were collected and presented to the government to let them know, THIS was the issue in town.

To my fellow council members, THANK YOU. Everytime we had the ear of a provincial minister of govt, we brought the Milton Hospital expansion to their attention. Theres a reason why Minister Deb Matthews mentioned our persistence.

To my colleagues on the Grow Milton Hospital campaign, THANK YOU! We helped in keeping the pressure up and we saw the end result in mind. Todays announcement was a result of a lot of people and the residents of Milton…THANK YOU.

There is also MPP Ted Chudleigh to thank for his years of work on this with the provincial government. John Oliver made mention in his speech of Ted’s efforts on raising awareness over the last several years, and while colourful at times, his passion for Halton residents in Milton was unwaivering. THANK YOU Ted!

Now the hard work begins. We WILL do this together and with everyones support from all sides … the job will get done.

What would you ask them?

Next week will be my first AMO (Associations of Municipalities of Ontario)Conference.  Its going to be held in London this year and goes from Sunday August 21st to Wednesday the 24th.

The conference is designed for municipal leaders from all over the province to meet and discuss issues and share knowledge and resources to help come up with solutions to problems.  There’s going to be roughly 1600 politicians running around London (sounds scary doesn’t it 🙂 ) for those days and I’m personally looking forward to a number of events that will be happening over the course of the conference.

Most importantly to me is some of the meetings that have been scheduled with provincial representatives by Regional Chair Gary Carr and ministers in the Province of Ontario.  I along with other Milton & Halton councillors will be attending these meetings.  This will provide us with an opportunity to speak directly with those ministers, mainly the Minister of Health Deb Matthews and Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli.  If those names sound familiar, you must have been reading my blog on a regular basis. 

These ministers are two of the key decision makers when it comes to getting a green light for the Milton Hospital expansion.  There have been meetings in the past, of course with no firm date or timeframe given to us, but hopefully we can “twist their arms” slightly in getting something done.  It is no secret in Milton that the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is “THE” issue in town.  

Week after week, organization after organization holds events in support of MDHF and the importance of supporting our local hospital.  Thousands of dollars has been raised for the foundation and even more will come with future events.

Regional Councillor Colin Best wrote a letter to the ministers via the Milton Canadian Champion recently outlining our concerns once again with the lack of detail in their latest “capital project projections”

If there is one issue that everyone in Milton can unite behind its the hospital.  We as elected officials in Milton have to keep up the pressure.  Its been well documented on my site about the efforts of the  Friends of Milton Hospital a few years ago and most recently the Grow Milton Hospital campaign and the numbers of signatures that have been collected and delivered to the Province of Ontario letting our voices be heard that we need that expansion to start now.

Unofficially the Town of Milton is over 90,000 in population with 100,000 in our sights.  The hospital continues to be under intense pressure to be able to deliver the health care services that Milton needs.  Beds are in short number, the nurses and doctors are doing their best but without the facilities needed to serve a growing population, it runs the risk of a disaster happening.

I’m hoping at this meeting, myself along with other Milton and Halton councillors can convince these provincial ministers (it IS a provincial election year mind you) to get off the fence and approve the expansion of Milton’s hospital.   There will also be opportunities to speak with the provincial party leaders as well during this conference (Dalton Mcguinty, Tim Hudak, Andrea Horvath) and rest assure I will be “badgering” them as well over the course of the four days.

If you have any comments or questions you would like me to pass on to the Health Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, please email me mike@mikecluett.ca and I will ask them directly when we meet with them.

Halton Region to Vote on 1.3 % Tax Increase Today

From Kim Arnott at the Oakville Beaver 

Halton Region to vote on 1.3 per cent tax increase

While Halton’s police officers will receive a 3.1 per cent salary increase this year, the remainder of the region’s staff could see their pay increases limited to 2.25 per cent.The region’s budget committee set the upward limit on union settlements and non-union pay-for-performance increases on Monday, as it finalized a 2011 budget recommendation that features a 1.3 per cent tax increase.

“I think that the public is looking for us to show some leadership and keep in line with the private sector,” said Halton Hills councillor Jane Fogal.

Fogal introduced the motion after the defeat of a similar motion from Burlington councillor Jack Dennison that would have seen pay increases capped at 1.9 per cent.

Dennison argued that the lower cap was reasonable because the region is a desirable place to work, and past arbitration decisions have often awarded pay increases in that range.

While the vote on capping pay increases took place publicly, councillors went into closed session for about 45 minutes beforehand to discuss the salary issue.

Although Burlington councillor John Taylor questioned the need to discuss the issue privately, Halton region CAO Pat Moyle urged the move into closed session, noting that the region will soon begin negotiating collective agreements with seven employee groups.

The decision to adopt the cap on salary increases resulted in a 0.2 per cent tax decrease on all regional services except policing. While the average taxpayer will have to fork over about $20 more this year, that extra money will pay for additional policing costs.

Earlier in the budget process, councillors questioned $2.4 million in wage and benefit increases that helped drive up the Halton police budget by 6.9 per cent this year. Although the region has the responsibility for collecting taxes for policing, it has no say in the police budget, which is approved independently by the police services board.

The most recent collective bargaining agreement with police spread out a 9.2 per cent wage increase over three years.

However, regional chair Gary Carr says he is pleased with the budget and proud of what he describes as “without a doubt, the best record on taxes across the country.”

Pointing to four years of near tax freezes at the regional level, Carr credits the philosophy of ensuring growth pays for itself through development charges. He says that has allowed the region to almost triple the amount of money it spends on transportation projects without passing along costs to taxpayers.

However, the region has also been helped by the phase-out of GTA pooling to contribute to Toronto’s social services costs. For 2011, the savings for Halton amounted to $5.8 million.

And while this year’s tax hit might be light, residents will see water and wastewater rates – paid through local hydro companies – increase by 4.1 per cent in 2011. For the average household, the increase means homeowners will pay $798 a year, up from $767 last year.

The budget will be considered by the full regional council on Wednesday (today).