Town of Milton New Years Levee

Wondering what to do on New Years Day of 2014? Why don’t you come down to Milton Town Hall for the annual Mayor’s New Year Levee.

All the fun starts at 1pm and goes until 3pm.  Lots to see and do, so I look forward to seeing you then.

From Michael Gregory at the Milton Canadian Champion

Milton town councillors are inviting residents to join them for a festive kick-off to 2014 at the annual New Year’s Day Levee.

The traditional celebration will take place Tuesday, Jan. 1 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Milton Town Hall.

“Milton council is pleased to continue this tradition,” Councillor Cindy Lunau said in a news release. “We invite Milton residents and their families to join us in celebrating the new year.”

The event will feature musical entertainment and refreshments from La Rose Bakery and Tim Hortons.

Milton residents will also have a chance to discuss Town projects, and learn about council initiatives for the upcoming year.

Levee festivities date back to the mid-17th century when the governor of New France hosted an event to update citizens of the happenings back in Europe.

The tradition continues to be celebrated by many municipalities across Canada.

Stuff A Bus Returns March 23rd

This JUST in.  No, really it just came in my town email.  I just finished up editing a previous post and I thought I’d share this bit of news.  Seeing how Metro is in ward 6 I thought you should know.  If youre outside ward 6….well come on out as well :)

March 20, 2013

All are welcome to participate in Milton Transit Easter Stuff-a-Bus

Milton Transit will be holding its annual Easter Stuff-a-Bus event on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will be held at the Metro Supermarket at 1050 Kennedy Circle, Milton. Residents of Milton are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Salvation Army food bank.

“On behalf of Milton Council, I would like to thank everyone who has come out at past events to help less fortunate members of our community during festive seasons, and our corporate partner Metro for hosting this event again,” said Milton Mayor Krantz. “We were told by the Salvation Army that last year’s contributions from the Milton community stocked their bare shelves in time for the Easter season and beyond, so we know we are making a difference!”

At the 2012 Easter Stuff-a-Bus event, more than 1,800 lbs of food donations were collected in addition to cash donations.

For more information on this event or on Milton Transit, call 905-864-4141 or visit the Town’s website, www.milton.ca/en/live/transit.asp.

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For further information, please contact:

Paul Cripps – Director, Engineering Services

905-878-7252, ext. 2501

Liliana Busnello, Communications Specialist

905-878-7252, ext. 2154

Here is a link to the Milton Canadian Champion Editorial urging Milton residents to “Stuff the Bus”

Stuff that bus, Milton

Easter is around the corner and the holiday weekend will be filled with customs and traditions, including the celebratory feast many families will sit down to enjoy.

But not all local residents have the means to put such a meal on the table, not at Easter or at any time of the year.

While the Salvation Army, which operates the local food bank, doesn’t hold an official Easter food drive, there’s still plenty of opportunity to assist those less fortunate.

No doubt Salvation Army officials and volunteers would be the first to admit how much they wish they could announce the closing of the local food bank due to a lack of need. But that, sadly, isn’t the case — poverty does exist in Milton. Many recipients are the working poor or those who have been caught in a financial squeeze.

So how can you help?

Milton Transit will hold its annual Easter Stuff-a-Bus event this Saturday at Metro. A 40-foot bus will be parked at the Kennedy Circle supermarket from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with volunteers accepting donated bags of food for the Milton Salvation Army Food Bank. Residents, who can either bring their own filled bags or purchase a pre-made bag at Metro for $5.99, are encouraged to board the bus and find a spot for their donation.

If you can’t make the event, food can be donated throughout the year at The Salvation Army Khi Community, 3-100 Nipissing Rd., or at the fire stations on Steeles Avenue and Derry Road, as well as at donation pantries located at Metro, Real Canadian Superstore,  Longos and Walmart.

As well as non-perishable food, donations of household cleaning products, toiletries and baby items (especially size 5 and 6 diapers) are appreciated.

Come on Miltonians, stuff that bus.

St Patricks Day Weekend

Yes, its St Patricks Day Weekend.  Blarney stones, green beer and jigs will be the order of the day this coming Sunday.  Lots of fun to be had by all but we should also remember to enjoy the celebration and party responsibly.

Here is an article from the Milton Canadian Champion about Halton Police’s plans this weekend.

http://www.insidehalton.com/community/milton/article/1593505

Halton police watching on St. Pat’s weekend

Halton police announced Friday they will be out in force on the lookout for impaired drivers during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend to ensure it is remembered for its festivities and nothing else.

Police are reminding residents to plan ahead if their evening is going to involve any amount of drinking.

Such planning can include assigning a designated driver, calling a cab or using public transportation.

Police said being prepared ahead of time is key to avoiding the temptation to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

The consequences of impaired driving are severe and can result in licence suspensions, vehicle impoundments, fines and even jail.

Police said those who drink and drive not only put themselves in danger, but their passengers and other motorists as well.

Residents who suspect a person is driving while impaired are asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

The Halton Regional Police Service has stated it is committed to combating drinking and driving and keeping Halton’s roads safe.

Keep Taxes Low

Its a message we hear from many Milton residents throughout the year and especially around election time.  The next municipal election is to be held on October 27, 2014 in case you are wondering.

In a recent letter to the editor, one of my council colleagues brought up some concerns about spending at the local level of government.  You can find his letter here.

In a recent edition of the Milton Canadian Champion another resident expressed their views in agreement with council working towards keeping taxes as low as possible.  Milton does have the lowest tax rate in the GTA but over the last many years, the current and previous councils has been unable to keep the rate of increase in spending at or below the rate of inflation.

I’ve long been a supporter of the concept in keeping any increases at that level.  Long before I became a town councillor, I have talked about responsible tax increases if needed and made it part of my election campaign to vote against any increases in spending over the rate of inflation.  Sadly, I have not been able to support any budget since being elected.  It will continue to be my focus in the coming years & elections to keep the increases manageable.  To me its about affordability of living in Milton.  We continue to grow our residential tax base but still seem to dip into the pockets of taxpayers each year.

I don’t want to re-hash the budget debate of 2013, which saw our council approve an increase of 3.04% and as some saw on my Twitter feed, I posted my tax bill that has increased close to $100 for 2013.  Yes, property values did increase through MPAC assessments and those increases will be phased in over a few years, but to me $100 is a big hit to the household budget.

There are perceptions that Milton is a “rich” town.  While the average household income of Milton families does increase, so do their expenses and the cost of living.  Gas prices, water rates, and the cost of food hit us all.

But getting back to this past budget, we had an opportunity to have our increase roughly around 2.0-2.25% but there were 3 additions to the budget that pushed it to the 3.0% level.  The first one was to introduce Saturday transit service.  While many of my regular readers know I do support having a transit system in town as we continue to grow in population and with the hopeful addition of a Laurier University campus at the Milton Education Village, the need for transit will grow.

I outlined in a previous post that the numbers do not support the addition of Saturday service…yet. We will be receiving the 2013 Milton Transit Master Plan later this month at a council meeting that will provide details and projected growth in our transit system for the next 5 years.  However, at the time we were discussing the budget, we didn’t have this information.  Despite objections of a few council members including Councillor Malboeuf and myself, council approved the Saturday service (cost of approximately $80,000 for September to December 2013) which means roughly $240,000 per year starting in 2014.  This didn’t need to be approved as of yet and could have saved Milton taxpayers money.

Another item that was included in the budget was a change in parking bylaw times from 3 hours to 5 hours.  Every poll that was completed online and speaking with residents themselves during this discussion, I found that it was almost a 50/50 split on whether we stick with 3 hr limits or go to 5hr.  Of those that approved of the change to 5 hr’s many of you said it yes as long as it didn’t increase costs.  Well it did increase costs to roughly $65,000 per year for these changes.  Scheduling had to be changed to incorporate the shifts of the workers and extra signage as well.  Another cost that didn’t have to be implemented in 2013 or even ever.  Staff reports clearly said this would cost money and didn’t keep with the rest of the GTA municipalities that currently have 3 hr parking limits and are making it work.

Finally as Clr Malbouef outlined in the letter there was the $100,000 infrastructure renewal fund that was approved on the day of the budget meeting.  Combining these three initiatives pushed the increase to 3.04% and to a point where I couldn’t support the budget.  I did find it interesting however, that Clr Lambert, who voted in favour of two of the three ventures during budget discussions and when it came time to approve the the full budget, voted against it saying the rate of increase was too high.  If he didn’t support those two items, the rate of increase would have been lower and possibly more acceptable to taxpayers.  To me, it is a bit hypocritical to say one thing and do another to appease taxpayers come election time.

I’ve already stated my intentions to seek the position of regional councillor for wards 1, 6, 7 & 8 in the next election.  I find that there is a lack of leadership at both the local level and at the Region of Halton in these wards and with the many changes Milton will be facing in the coming years, we need to ensure there is a strong, effective voice at both the Town of Milton and the Region of Halton to fill this void.  Milton only has 3 voices around the Region table and as we continue to grow in size we need to maximize the quality of those voices when it comes to the needs of Milton taxpayers.

That being said I would encourage the taxpayers of Milton to contact the members of council who supported the increase in taxes over the last 2 budgets and hopefully as we move closer to election time in 2014 the message will be loud and clear….keep taxes low.

Town of Milton Population Hits Six Digits

Town’s population hits six digits

From Julia Le, Milton Canadian Champion

Milton is ending the year with a bang.  With the population hitting the 100,000 mark by year’s end, according to Town planning estimates, the town is staying true to its ranking as Canada’s fastest growing community.

Milton Acting CAO Bill Mann said the Town is excited about seeing its vision for the community come to fruition.

He said Milton truly embodies a place where you can live, work and play.

Over the last 15 years, the Town has made a considerable effort to attract people through affordable housing and businesses that will in turn create employment opportunities, according to Mann.

He added the Town has also been creating more neighbourhood parks and building a complete community that has recreational facilities, an arts centre and other amenities, while ensuring residents have the required essential services.

Mann cited that Milton is home to large distribution centres for Target and Lowe’s. The Target distribution centre set to open in May 2013 will be a 1.3 million-sq.-ft. facility and will employ hundreds of people, while the Lowe’s distribution centre, which broke ground last August, will be a 626,000-sq.-ft. facility also expected to employ hundreds of people.

Mann said the Town is guided by the principles of growth engrained in its strategic plan.

He said in 1997, the Town’s official plan anticipated Halton Region’s delivery in 2000 of ‘The Big Pipe’ carrying Lake Ontario water up from Oakville to Milton, and a population that would grow to about 165,000 people by 2021.

Mann said the Town is keeping pace and may exceed that estimate, considering the population grew from 31,471 residents in 2001 to 53,889 in 2006 and 84,362 in 2011, according to census data.

“If we’re able to generate intensification, our population may be 185,000 in 2021 and then by 2031 we’re looking at a minimum of 236,000 people,” he said, adding that Milton has the potential to grow out to 300,000 to 350,000 people. “(If so) Milton will ultimately be larger than Burlington and Oakville.”

But developing and shaping Milton hasn’t come without a price.

“As you can appreciate in any community that is growing as fast as we are, we are experiencing growing pains,” said Mann.

The Town is doing everything in its power to ensure schools, transportation and transit and the hospital keeps up with the population boom.

He said Craig Kielburger Secondary School opened this year and a new catholic high school will open the following year.

Mann added the Town is working with the Region to widen Regional Road 25 and Tremaine Road. Tremaine Road has already been widened between Main Street and Derry Road and next spring there are plans to widen it from Derry to Britannia roads and then from Main Street to Steeles Avenue.

There’s also a long-term plan to expand transit service, have two more GO stops within Milton and encourage the community to get out of cars and walk, cycle or use public transit.

The hospital will also be expanded, with the first patient likely to be seen in December 2017 or January 2018.

“If you look at the last census, the average age dropped down to 34. That’s the youngest age in any community,” he said. “And when you look at the birth rate, we have the highest birthrate at 1,500 births a year, which is phenomenal, hence our need to expand the hospital.”

He said the Town is taking on the challenges head-on and planning for the future.

Other major projects down the line include seeing the Milton Education Village come to fruition and encouraging the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to work with Mohawk Racetracks to have a full casino and entertainment complex built. He said it would include a hotel and golf course.

Mann said Milton may be expanding, but it hasn’t lost its roots.

“We’re still maintaining that small town atmosphere,” he said, adding that the town has a tremendous historical fabric. “One of the most beautiful things about Milton is people are on a first-name basis.”

He said with the Niagara Escarpment as its backdrop, Milton is really the place to be.

“There is tremendous opportunity within Milton,” he said. “Growing pains will always be there, but they’re manageable and will diminish as we move forward to ultimate state of Milton.”