Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday November 28, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

You may expect me to be waxing eloquently about the delightful first snowfall that we received in Midland on Friday – don’t count on it.

A busy week ahead, with a splash of Christmas. On Monday November 29 the YMCA is offering Gifts to Give at the NSSRC from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This event re-gifts unused items for those who need a helping hand this Christmas.

On Tuesday November 30th, the Province will be hosting an information session on its recent “growth plan” decisions. The briefing takes place at 2:30 pm at the Southshore Community Centre in Barrie. You can expect to hear a lot about growth and economic development over the next few years.

Wednesday starts the inauguration ceremonies for the new Councils:

- Tiny inauguration – Wednesday December 1st at 1:00 pm

- Penetanguishene – Wednesday December 1st at 7:00 pm

- Tay – Thursday December 2nd at 7:30 pm

- Midland – Monday December 6th at 7:00 pm

All inaugurations take place in their respective Town Halls, except Midland’s which will be held at the NSSRC.

On Friday December 3rd the Silver Stick Hockey tournament comes to Town. If you love youth hockey this is the event to see. Puck drops at 1:45 pm at the NSSRC.

On Saturday December 4th get ready for the Civitan Santa Claus parade in Midland. It starts at 1:00 pm downtown. Dress warmly.

And in closing our Georgian Bay General Hospital challenge team has now moved up to 8th spot. If we are to get the $100,000 prize for new beds we need you to get clicking. Please vote every day at We need those hospital beds.

Gord McKay

Monday, November 22, 2010

Draft - Midland Use of Town Vehicles Policy

Ladies and Gentlemen

The section quoted below is the core of our Town's draft use of Town vehicles policy.  Comments appreciated.


5.07     Guidelines
a)     Vehicle Provision for Staff During Regular Working Hours: Each Department Head shall determine which, if any, employee(s) shall have access to and use of Town vehicles in their departments. No Town vehicle shall be used for personal purposes.
b)       Vehicle Provision for Staff Outside of Regular Working Hours: Where use of a Town vehicle is made available after normal working hours, the vehicle is provided exclusively for Town business and not for personal use. (See ‘personal use’ under definitions)
c)      Vehicles at Place of Residence: Employees shall, unless otherwise authorized by the Department Head, not take a Town vehicle home. Such determination to take a vehicle home shall be based on the on-call or standby status of an employee and the need for vehicle use for special events.
d)     Vehicle Restriction: In all cases, Town vehicles will be returned to the employer during vacation time, office closures, any prolonged sick leave and leaves of absence. (i.e. over 24 hours)
e)       Sole Right of Use: any person authorized to use a Town vehicle will have the sole right to operate the vehicle and shall not allow unauthorized individuals to operate or access the vehicle or equipment. No personal passengers shall be allowed at anytime.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday November 21, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Mother Nature is starting to test us with a few snow flurries. But with a high tomorrow of 16c I can put off fueling the snowblower for another week – I hope.

Monday November 22nd sees the last Council meeting of the old Council (Deputation Only). It takes place at 7:00 pm in the NSSRC. A short agenda including:

- the Town’s new employee use of vehicles policy

- recommended appointments to the downtown BIA Board

- vote on by-laws authorizing $3.5 million in debt financing

Tuesday November 23rd at 9:00 am in Midhurst is the last meeting of the outgoing County Council. County Council has a direct impact on the residents of Midland in everything from tax rate, to waste services to social housing. I plan to provide you more information on your County Council in the years ahead.

On Thursday November 25th at 7:00 the YMCA is celebrating an evening of Peace with music, poetry and guest speakers, This year’s Peace Medallion recipient is Erin Chapelle, a new Councillor in Penetanguishene. This event takes place at 334 King St. in Midland.

At 6:00 pm this Friday the Town hosts its annual staff Christmas party. This festive event honors our staff and many community volunteers.

Two closing items:

- your new Council will continue the discussion on your taxes in December. You may wish to take a look at my blog on the topic at

- please vote every day at We need those hospital beds.

Gord McKay

Taxes - Where Do You Stand

Midland Town Council is currently embroiled in a budget debate. The two positions at the table are:

1) keep going as we have over the past few years with Town tax increases of 3.5% or more or;

2) get taxes under control by keeping increases over the next four years to no more than the rate of inflation, roughly 1.5%

I am on the side of keeping our tax increases under the rate of inflation and here are some of the reasons why.

1) We have just finished an election. People elected a mayor whose platform included keeping tax increases “below the rate of inflation”. The people have voted.

2) Midland has the highest tax rate in Simcoe County at 1.56%. A high tax rate keeps people and industry from moving to Midland. Let me explain. If I am thinking of buying a $250,000 home somewhere in Simcoe County I will pay $600 more a year in taxes in Midland than I will in Collingwood or $1,800 a year more than in Tiny. High taxes make it harder to attract jobs and new residents.

3) Midland has many citizens who depend upon social supports - seniors, the unemployed, ODSP recipients - to name a few. Social support payments are indexed to the rate of inflation. Here is a recent example: “All OW clients will benefit from the increase as of December 1/2010. To say it is a modest increase is an understatement, it amounts to approx. 1.2% or $7.00/month for a single person.” If our vulnerable citizens are seeing their incomes going up at the rate of inflation, how do we justify to them that their taxes are going up a lot faster?

Midland citizens are rightly proud of the many services they receive from the Town. So when anyone says “getting taxes under control” the immediate reaction is that services will be cut and jobs will be lost. What I would say to those individuals is that getting our costs under control is essential for Midland’s well being. No organization can grow without regard for its “customers” ability to pay. Secondly my background in working with organizations to improve efficiencies has shown that service cutbacks are a last resort. During the election campaign Town staff and residents alike came forward with ideas to save money without cutting services.

I am confident that we can get our taxes under control. All it needs is political will and working together with the citizens of Midland.


Your Councillors are on both sides of this debate. So what would you tell them? Keep our tax increases and service delivery as they are or control our taxes and look for more cost-efficient ways to deliver our services. I would like to hear from you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday November 14, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Matthew, a precocious eight-year old who I know well, put a donation box in his father’s store to raise Christmas funds for the Midland Children’s Toy Drive. On Remembrance Day someone stole the box. Matthew’s response “maybe they were desperate”. If you can help Matthew and the Toy Drive, toys can be dropped off at the Elegant Gourmet.


The Town continues its budget discussion on Monday November the 15th at 5:30 pm at the NSSRC. (You May Not Speak) This should be the last budget discussion under the old Council. Monday also sees the start of the Out of the Cold season at Knox church.

On Tuesday November the 16th Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture is sponsoring the “Alternate Energy and the Family Farm Symposium”. The event starts at 6:30 pm at the Simcoe County Museum.

On Thursday November the 18th from 4-6:00 pm you are invited to attend the Midland Area Reading Council opening of its new book store in the Midland library.

Friday is special as we get into the Christmas spirit by lighting our Community Christmas Tree. The procession starts at 6:00 pm at the corner of King and Yonge, then down to the tree lighting at the Town Dock.

And on Saturday get set to kick-up your heels at Rosewood’s Sparkle ‘n Spurs fundraising dinner. A lot of fun and an excellent cause.

A few closing notes:
- Please continue to vote at for our much needed hospital beds. If you have voted correctly you will be rewarded with a “Wow” or “Awesome” message.
- The YMCA will hold its Gifts to Give event again this year on November 29th. Please look through your cupboards for quality unwanted gift items. They can be taken in advance to the YMCA office at 334 King Street.
- If you want a perky view of how we can do a better job of getting rid of our waste electronics take a look at
Gord McKay

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday November 7, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

A crisp bright week as we pause to remember our veterans.

The Town meets at 6:30 pm on Monday November 8th in the NSSRC for an in camera meeting. Then at 7:00 pm is the General Committee meeting (Written Input Only). A relatively short meeting including:
- information about new rules allowing landlords to put “suite meters” for electricity into individual rental units. More information at
- work is about to begin on our Town dock. The DFO is doing repairs before they turn dock ownership over to the Town
- work on our skateboard park is to start next week
- Georgian Bay Snow Riders wants to organize a Polar Plunge and Puddle Jump in Little Lake as part of this February’s Winterfest – volunteers?

Thursday November 11th is Remembrance Day. We in Midland have so many to thank on this special occasion. Ceremonies will start before 11:00 am at the Cenotaph. You want to be there just after 10:00 am.

Friday November 12th sees the start of a special “INTO THE COLD” initiative. Katimavik youth will be camping (sleeping outside), in the parking lot of Knox Church, Midland from 6:30 pm Friday until 9:30 am on Saturday November 13th. M&M Meat Shops will be holding a BBQ; music will be provided; money raised will go to Midland Out of the Cold.

On Saturday November 13th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Georgian College Midland Campus invites you to an Open House. Learn about academic programs, admissions, housing and residence life, bursaries and general finance, athletic facilities and take a campus tour.

Two closing items.

Our hospital is trying to help our community by purchasing much needed hospital beds through a charitable giving program sponsored by Pepsi. Simply put, between now and December 31st, the community that “clicks the most” wins $100,000 for a worthy cause. This is your chance to buy new beds and not pay a cent. Please log on to and then vote every day. It takes me about 1 minute each day – we cannot win without your help.

Last week I asked you if you wanted to keep News from the Town as it was or change it to include more content. Many people responded (thank you) and asked for NFTT to be continued as it was. And so it shall be. I will look for other ways to get more background material out to those who want it.

Gord McKay