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 Champion Coverage of Hospital Expansion Announcement

I’m still giddy (yes I said giddy) with excitement everytime I read something about the expansion at Milton District Hospital.  Here is the article from today’s Milton Canadian Champion (by Christina Commisso) with coverage of the historic announcement.

Hospital expansion approved

Completion expected in late 2015 or early 2016

Hugs, high-fives and tears were aplenty Thursday morning, as Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews announced Milton’s hospital has been given the long-awaited green light for a massive expansion.

Milton District Hospital (MDH) will triple in size following a 320,000 square-foot addition that should be completed by late 2015 or early 2016.

“The support is unanimous. We have people from all political parties who are here today saying yes, this is the right decision. I’m pleased that all of us together have gotten where we are today,” said Matthews, as the room erupted in applause.

Pointing to an outpouring of community support that has  surrounded the MDH expansion, the Liberal MPP said hospitals are the heart and soul of a community, “and no where is that more true than right here in Milton. You should change the town’s motto to ‘where we don’t take no for an answer.’”

Matthews re-iterated that the expansion is poised to move full-steam ahead. “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. This money is part of our infrastructure plan.”

The expansion will include a new emergency department to accommodate 45,500 visits a year. Currently the department can handle 30,000 visits. The addition of an MRI machine and chemotherapy services will more than triple the size of the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department. A new maternal child-care ward will include 17 post-partum beds, up from the current eight, and the intensive care unit will see 10 beds, up from six.

Also in the plans are two new medical surgical in-patient units with capacity for 72 patients and expanded operating suites, and a post-anesthetic care unit that will accommodate 8,400 surgeries a year — a 70 per cent increase over the department’s current capacity.

Eighty per cent of the rooms will be single patient to enhance infection control.

Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) CEO John Oliver said construction should be complete by 2015/16, about a year after the new Oakville hospital is planned for completion.

“Both hospitals will be under construction at the same time and one will open right after the other. We’re going to make up for lost time in Milton,” said Oliver to an elated crowd.

He said detailed planning with hospital staff will begin immediately, along with discussions with the hospital foundation and the Town regarding the local share of the construction costs plus the entire cost of equipping and furnishing the hospital.

Asked about the cost of the expansion, Oliver said for the time being a number won’t be released to the public. “We learned from the Oakville project when you put a number out, it changes…we’ll talk about the kinds of services and the number of beds, but we won’t release a number to the public.”

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said at this point in time he has no idea what kind of money the Town will be on the hook for in terms of the local share.

“This was only the start and now some of the grunt work needs to be done and finances is going to be a big part of that,” he said. “I have a sneaking suspicion the community is going to buy into this and fundraising is going to have to be a definite part of it.”

The recently-announced Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital expansion, pegged at $312 million, is looking for $120 million from the Burlington community. The Town of Oakville has committed up to $130 million toward the construction of the new Dundas Street and Third Line hospital, and the Oakville Hospital Foundation is raising $60 million for the community share.

Asked if the hospital’s local share will be part of the Town’s 2012 budget — which is already well underway — Milton’s CAO Mario Belvedere said, “We will do what needs to be done to support this program and we can work on amending whatever needs to be done.”

He said he plans to meet with Oliver within the next few weeks to discuss numbers, adding that the scope and speed of the expansion is “well beyond our imagination.”

Halton’s Conservative MPP Ted Chudleigh, who has advocated for a Milton hospital expansion for a number of years, joked, “It’s such a good day, I don’t think I can say anything bad about the Liberals.

“This project is going from functional planning to completion in one step, that’s unprecedented in Ontario.”

Asked how the expansion — which several Milton residents and councillors dubbed the number one election issue — changes the dynamics of the October 6 provincial election, Chudleigh said, “It becomes less of an issue. It comes off the table and now it’s a matter of making it happen.”

Local provincial Liberal candidate Indira Naidoo-Harris said Thursday was a day for celebration.

“It’s a wonderful day for Halton and Milton. I am thrilled the minister has been listening to our community.”

Several members of the Friends of Milton Hospital and Grow Milton Hospital groups were on hand for the announcement and said the days of gathering about 40,000 signatures (during two community campaigns) in support of an expansion — in rain or shine — has finally paid off.

“We needed care at all levels,” said Friends of Milton Hospital co-chair and former nurse Cari Kovachik-MacNeil. “Milton’s emergency has always been known for how good it was, but then where do the patients go from here when the hospital is in gridlock. Now they can stay here, in their own hometown.”