Council Approves Another Tax Increase 3.04%

Here is an article from the Milton Canadian Champion with a very brief summation of the budget committee meeting this past Monday at Milton Town Hall.  The meeting went on for over 4 hours and our initial goal was to be at 2.95% increase or lower but it went in the other direction.

There were three main items that council approved that helped send this increase in the budget over the rate of inflation (which is the number I normally support).  The items include an increase increase for parking control because of the change in policy from 3 hour parking to 5 on Milton streets ($55,000), Saturday transit service starting in September 2013 (4 months $76,000) and finally an infrastructure reserve “levy” so to speak ($100,000 every year).

During the budget debate I opposed these three measures (Saturday transit service you can find in another blog entry) and the other two items listed I didn’t support and were subject to a recorded vote.  I did find it interesting that a councillor who voted in support of the transit & parking control measures (which amounted to $133,000 or just over 1.0% of the budget) ended up voting against the budget as a whole.  If they had NOT supported this measure I can understand voting against it.  Isnt that like having your cake and eating it too?

I’ll be posting more on this and other issues as we get closer to Monday night’s council meeting (my birthday by the way 🙂 ) and no doubt these and other items will be discussed over the next year.

Proposed Town budget to go to council next week

After spending hours debating what to include in the Town’s 2013 budget, members of the budget committee Monday night approved a 3 per cent tax hike for urban residents and a 3.05 per cent tax hike for rural residents.

If the budget passes next week, the average rural resident and urban resident will pay an extra $23.17 and $26.46 respectively on a home assessed at $350,000.

The budget committee voted 6-5 in favour of the proposed budget. Councillors and staff spent the night crunching the numbers in an attempt to meet or lower the staff’s recommended hike of 2.95 per cent.

Voting in favour of approving the budget were councillors Colin Best, Sharon Barkley, Cindy Lunau, Arnold Huffman, Rick Di Lorenzo and Zeeshan Hamid.

Voting against it were Mayor Gord Krantz, councillors Rick Malboeuf, Tony Lambert, Greg Nelson and Mike Cluett.

Hamid said it was a complicated budget to work with.

“I don’t think any one of us are happy with what we have, but it’s a compromise,” he said.

“I’m hoping that we recognize that we all came up with this document collectively.”

Krantz said he had hoped for the increase to be closer to the inflation rate of about 2 per cent.

An infrastructure renewal reserve fund was added to the budget Monday night to address future needs. An initial $100,000 to establish the fund increased the proposed tax hike from 2.75 per cent to about 3 per cent.

Barkley argued that the difference Milton residents would be paying next year is a few dollars extra.

Other amendments, additions and deletions to the budget include:

• Allowing the library to open a half hour earlier at a cost of $16,448.

• Permitting the main library to be open on Mondays at a cost of $69,702.

• Discontinuing the Talk of the Town publication, which will save the Town $12,000

• Reducing the budget for catch basin cleaning, which will save the Town $20,000

• Cutting the number of councillors who attend the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference to the mayor and three other councillors, which will save the Town $8,000.

The capital portion of the budget projects a $65.4 million investment in about 100 projects related to new infrastructure and the rehabilitation of existing assets like facilities, roads, bridges, parks and equipment. About 82 per cent of the investment would go to projects to address the current and future needs of the community while 18 per cent of the investment would go to the renewal and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.

The operating part of the budget, which looks after the delivery of services required to meet the needs arising from growth in the community and to support the quality of life that residents expect, is projected at around $94.4 million. It’s divided among the Town’s departments, with engineering services, community services and planning and fire departments providing the most direct services to the community.

Enhancements include hiring five additional fulltime firefighters at the new James Snow Parkway station, improved economic development resources to develop an innovation centre, extended transit services to include Saturdays, and parking enforcement to accommodate a proposed five-hour parking regulation.

Town staff said Milton continues to have one of the lowest tax rate in Halton and Peel regions.

The Town’s portion of the overall property tax bill is now estimated at 31 per cent. The regional and education taxes are proposed to make up 43 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.

That means Miltonians could see an overall tax increase of 1.61 per cent in the urban area and 1.57 per cent in the rural area on their 2013 property tax bills.

Riding Commission Public Meeting

Here is the story by Julia Le from the Milton Canadian Champion about the public meeting on Wednesday in Oakville.  Again there were some delegates who registered to speak in favour of the changes.  I would say that 70% of those in attendance and who spoke are against the new boundaries.  NOW what happens you ask?

According to the website now that the public hearings are complete, the commission for each province has to finish the report and its recommendations by December 21st of 2012 (Isn’t that the end of the earth as we know it? *snicker*)  After that it goes to the House of Commons for review and that is slated to be finished around March of 2013 hearing objections from MP’s.  Long story short, the final decision is slated to be around September 2013 for the new ridings.  Its not over yet.

Residents can still email the commission their thoughts on the new proposal if they are in support or opposition to it.  Many of you have sent me emails / tweets / comments about your thoughts and those are greatly appreciated.

If you would like to put forward your views on this, please email the commission directly at the following:

Mailing Address:  130 King Street West, 36th Floor, Suite 3670, P.O. Box 368 Toronto, Ontario M5X 2A2

Telephone (toll-free):  1-855-747-7224 Fax (toll-free) 1-855-747-7225 TTY (toll-free) 1-800-361-8935


Fellow councillor Zeeshan Hamid posted a few days ago some disturbing information about possible changes to the electoral riding boundaries in our area.  From time to time Elections Canada undergoes a review of electoral districts when new census data comes in.  Given the fact that Milton is Canada’s fastest growing municipality, there were talks that Milton would become its own self sustaining riding.

THAT was the plan.  But things changed quickly a week or so ago.

The most disturbing part of this whole thing is that the commission had originally put Milton in as its own riding with a small portion of Burlington to be included.  As the commission headed to a close there were some last minute changes requested at a public meeting on the matter.  What the last minute changes?  Sources say that a former failed Liberal candidate was behind the request for the changes.

Instead of having one Milton riding, the suggestion was made to divide our town in two…essentially between “old” and “new” Milton.  Some have wondered about the strategy behind such a move.  Its due to a belief that a majority of “new” Miltonians are liberal supporters and by having “new” Milton separated from what has shown to be traditionally strong for the conservatives, it would help the chances for the liberals to have a winning seat in the next elections.

After these “suggestions” were made for the riding boundaries, the commission changed the original plans and essentially split up Milton into two riding’s.  One with Halton Hills and the “northern” part of Milton essentially north of Derry Road and the other with Burlington and the southern portion of Milton.

You can read Zeeshans detailed post here as he sums it up nicely.

Just this past Monday, the Administration & Planning Committee unanimously passed a Notice of Motion saying in no uncertain terms “leave Milton alone.”

Here is a story by Julia Le from the Champion about that.

“Ward 6 Councillor Mike Cluett noted that the original proposal — which left Milton intact but included a significant rural portion and two urban residential neighbourhoods in Burlington in the district proposed to be called Milton — was generally accepted by all the political parties in the area.

He said no one, across all parties, likes the new boundaries proposed.

“It is a mess the way it is. I think Milton should remain as one,” said Cluett. “ We already have issues of old and new Milton, we shouldn’t be dividing it up.”

Needless to say this is important from a town point of view that Milton remains in one riding.  By the time the next federal election is to take place, Miltons population will be roughly 120,000 people which is MORE than enough for a riding on its own.  The commission didn’t seem to take into consideration Miltons continued growth.

Yesterday at the public meeting in Oakville, 7 of the 11 Milton councillors including myself, Mayor Gord Krantz, Zeeshan Hamid, Rick Di Lorenzo among others attended and listened carefully to the submissions made my delegates.  Roughly 70% of those in attendance who spoke were against these new riding boundaries and called for the commission to go back to the original ones that had Milton as a whole.

We shall see what happens in the coming weeks as the commission deliberates this riding among other ones to bring forward their changes to the federal government.  The commission is continuing to receive email submissions from residents until November 30th so please, if you do feel strongly about this, send an email to and let them know you want to Keep Milton As One.

You can follow developments with this on Twitter with the hashtag #KeepMiltonAsOne and let us know what you think.

These new changes aren’t good for Milton at all and we hope the commission goes back to the original boundaries for our riding so that Milton will have one voice as we continue to grow the “G.M.A. – Greater Milton Area (TM pending 🙂 )

I’ll see you at the doors.