Milton Santa Claus Parade A Success

The weather was perfect.  Chilly but not too cold.  The sun was shining and the streets of downtown Milton were PACKED all along the parade route for the 2012 Santa Claus parade.

The parade began with a fly over of planes that never ceases to amaze me how they can fly in such perfect formation and so close to each other.  The cheers of the kids and parents alike could be heard blocks away as the parade began.  This year the Stuff a Bus was close to a pipe and drums band which helped in getting people excited.  Yours truly of course was being the “Mouth of Milton” leading people in Merry Christmas cheers as members of the Milton Fire Department and other volunteers picked up food and toy donations for the Salvation Army.

I dont have an official total yet but the bus was stuffed a lot more than last year.  This is just one of the reasons why Milton is a great community to live in.  The generosity of the families that call Milton home continues to grow and this Christmas season is no different.  We recently celebrated Thanksgiving and families and friends met to remind ourselves that we are indeed lucky to live where we do.  Miltonians also realize that there are others who need a hand up one in awhile and the Salvation Army is a great organization with wonderful volunteers helping those in need this holiday season.  I’m very proud to be part of it again this year.

There were some new floats and parts to the parade but there were also some great traditions continued as well.  Mike Boughton, known as Mike the Barber and former councillor for Ward 2 continued HIS tradition of offering hot chocolate and coffee to people along Main Street.  Knox Milton was also out in force with some warm beverages and smiles in front of our newly renovated church.  The last two parades saw a fence surrounding the property as they were doing work on repairing the roof and this year no fence was to be found thankfully and we were open for business.  I cant wait until St Paul’s United Church is finished their renovations as well so the fencing of Main Street can be over finally.

All I can say is that the numbers of people along the parade route continue to grow every year and my gut instinct is that this year was the best attended parade yet.  After our bus made its way to the Salvation Army HQ on Nippissing, I walked back along the parade route to catch a glimpse of the big guy himself….Santa.  I got a lot of feedback from people saying that this years parade was the best one yet…it moved along quickly, the floats were well done, people had lots of energy and it was a great kickoff to the Christmas season.

My congratulations go to the Santa Claus Parade committee for yet another job well done.

The following comment was posted on another thread from 2010 but it has pictures from this years parade and a link to them.  Thanks to Kevin Vagg for posting this and take a look at his Facebook page for more Santa Claus Parade pictures.

Great post.

I had the chance to attend the parade, and I must say that everyone should be proud. I also had the chance to take some photo – they’re at:

Sorry for the long web address – unfortunately it’s what Facebook uses.

Hope you enjoy.

Thank you to all Miltonians who took part in the parade, volunteered their time and efforts to making it a magical day in Milton and putting smiles on the faces of thousands of children (and parents too)

Looking forward to next year already.

Merry Christmas Milton!

Its sinking in

After taking a very long time to return emails, voice mails, tweets and posts over the last couple of days, I can honestly say its finally sinking in.  What really made it apparent that life has changed was the beginnings of the regular courier from Town Hall with information on meetings, seating arrangements and schedules for the next month or so.

In the coming weeks there will be orientation meetings, briefings from town staff, arrangements for the inaugural council meeting on December 6th and many more “things to do” that quickly make your fingers sore updating the Blackberry and of course more to come after that.

I am really looking forward to the challenge of working for the residents of Milton.  With the overwhelming amount of support I received on election night, its something that I do not take lightly.  Of course, I will be relying on a lot of support from Ward 6 voters when it comes to these decisions.  I want to get as much input as possible from you and help grow the interaction we started many months ago.

These decisions wont be easy and it will require a lot of work, consultation, feedback and possibly some disagreements from councillors and residents alike.  But the main thing is that there will be a dialogue…a conversation that has been lacking over the last several years.

I also want to thank publicly the outgoing councillors who didn’t make it this election.  The rough part of elections is that there has to be winners and losers but that doesn’t discount the impact that these people had on our lives in the years throughout our growth.  Paul Scherer, Jan Mowbray, Mike Boughton and Brian Penman all should be commended on their years of service and dedication to Milton.  Other retiring councillors Barry Lee, Wendy Schau and Rick Day also should be congratulated on serving Milton residents.  While we didnt agree on some issues and decisions that were made, I never once doubted their commitment to Milton, and the taxpayers.  Thank you everyone.

I would also like to find out from you what you would like to see on this website, as I will be continuing to use it as a source of information.  Would you like a listing of Town press releases, information on public meetings, openings on town committees, budget meetings etc?  This is going to be your site as well, so I would love some input on what I can do to make it the best source of information in Milton.

In closing, the last couple of nights have been funny in the Cluett household as Pat sees me either running around after dinner looking like I’m getting ready to go canvassing or I’m about to catch up on some much needed sleep.  Im sure things will begin to get more “normal” as we adjust to the new job at hand.

I am humbled by the support I received and very excited at the challenge for the next four years.  I will do my best to listen to as many people as possible and use my skills and abilities to make the best decisions I can for us here in Milton.  I hope that we can all work together to get that job done.

Thanks for your support and I will soon see you again at the doors (mainly because its Halloween this weekend 🙂 )

Milton tax increase official

Last Monday night at Town Hall the 2010 captial and operating budgets were approved for a total increase in budget of 3.24%.

As Melanie Hennessey of the Champion outlines in her article today, it passed, but not unanimously.  Both Councillor Mike Boughton and Mayor Gord Krantz voted against the budget because the rate of increase was higher than the rate of inflation.

Good for them!

Mayor Krantz also outlined during the meeting that taxes have gone up about 17% in this term of council alone.  This amounts to roughly $120 per household in the last 4 years.  Although Jan Mowbray stated that Milton has something to show for those increases, the amount is still quite high over a 4 year term.

Jan mentioned that she voted for the budget regretably because it didnt include an increase to service for the new library to include Sunday hours.  Mea Culpa….my family uses that library quite often and is a wonderful place dont get me wrong.  Am I or other taxpayers willing to accept even more tax increases to pay for 7 day a week service?  Highly unlikely. 

Im sure if you had put the question to Miltonian’s BEFORE hand if they wanted a new arts and entertainment centre the answer might not have been what they were looking for.  That project was moved up in order to take advantage of the federal/provincial stimulus funding and rushed through.  There are quite a few better places in town for the centre, and Im quite sure that Thompson and Main isnt going to be the best location. 

Overall, I would concure with the Mayor and Councillor Boughton that this budget could have been better and that the rate of increase should have been closer to the rate of inflation.  As our town growns we need to prioritize our spending.  Would it be nice to have 7 day a week service for the library?  Absoultely.  It would be great if we could keep it open 24 hours.  Is it a priority right now?  No its not.  Maybe down the road when the rate of growth doesnt increase as much and there is more of a tax base available we can look at it then, but not right now.

There are a lot of “would like to have’s” in town.  We would like to have a lot of things, but there simply isnt enough money for everything that we want.  We as a town have to look at what is NEEDED and then prioritize those needs and focus on them.

Here’s the article… once again welcome back Melanie!

Council approves 3.24% tax hike

Melanie Hennessey, Canadian Champion Staff
December 16, 2009

Residents will dish out about $25 more for Town services next year now that Milton council has approved a 3.24 per cent tax hike for 2010.

The increase and the Town’s $149-million budget were given the go-ahead by council at its meeting Monday night. This translates into an extra $24.96 in Town taxes for urban residents and $20.82 for those in the rural area on a home assessed at $300,000.

Of the total budget, property taxes will cover between $28 and $29 million. Much of the municipality’s revenue is money collected from developers as well as funding provided by the provincial and federal governments.

About $70 million of the budget will cover next year’s operating expenses, while more than $78 million is slated for capital projects — the largest capital budget that’s ever been approved by council.

Funding has been allocated for 77 new projects, including $36 million in land and buildings, $32 million in roads and $5 million in parks and trails.

The capital program is being boosted by stimulus money coming from the upper levels of government. The Town has been approved for $33.5 million in stimulus cash, which allows it to advance five major projects that weren’t originally scheduled to start until 2011 or later. The projects include a new visual arts centre and central library and an expansion to the Milton Sports Centre. They must be built by March 31, 2011 under stimulus funding rules.

The budget was supported by the majority of council, with the exception of Ward 2 Councillor Mike Boughton and Mayor Gord Krantz.

Boughton told the Champion after the meeting that he voted against the budget because the tax increase for next year is above the rate of inflation.

“I stated earlier this year that I wouldn’t go any higher than the rate of inflation, and I’m standing by that principle,” he said.

Krantz, who has long been a supporter of keeping tax increases at the rate of inflation, shared similar sentiments. He also pointed out to council that it has increased local residents’ taxes by almost $120 in its term of office, or about 17 per cent.

“It’s very easy for us to say it’s only five or 10 cents more on this or that, but it builds up to $120,” he said. “That’s pretty huge, and it compounds itself.”

Ward 3 Councillor Jan Mowbray contended the extra $120 has helped with things like creating a branch library and hiring more full-time firefighters.

“We’ve got something to show for it,” she said.

Mowbray voted in favour of the budget, but with reservations, she said. The budget didn’t include extra library hours, which she said residents were calling for. “The public wants more for what their tax dollars are giving them.”

At last week’s budget committee meeting, councillors were presented with a proposed 2.98 per cent tax increase by staff. The committee voted to include an extra $70,000 in the operating budget for transit service enhancements, bringing the tax increase up to 3.24 per cent.

The transit improvements include a high school tripper program that’s catered to afternoon school bell times and higher frequency service levels on prime transit routes.

The committee also supported advancing construction of Louis St. Laurent Boulevard from Bronte Street to Regional Road 25 — work that wasn’t slated to get underway until 2011. It added about $6 million to the 2010 capital budget.

Motions to include the transit initiatives and the roadwork were made by Ward 4 councillors Wendy Schau and Paul Scherer respectively.

* * *

Top 5 projects

• Milton Sports Centre expansion — $12.7 million

• Arts and entertainment centre construction — $8.1 million

• Main Street grade separation at railroad tracks — $7.9 million

• Bronte Street reconstruction from Louis St. Laurent Boulevard to Derry Road — $6.4 million

• Louis St. Laurent Boulevard construction from Bronte Street to Regional Road 25 — $5.9 million.

Melanie Hennessey can be reached at .