Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday October 28, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

The pumpkins are out smiling on the front porch. It’s the time of year when it’s great to be a kid (and a dentist).

On Wednesday November 2nd at at the Town Hall, the Planning Department will hold a Public Meeting on Shoreline Structures. This promises to be an interesting meeting. Right after the Public Meeting is the regular Planning and Development Committee meeting. Items on the agenda include:
-  the shoreline structures by-law
-  removal of holding symbol from the “Hugel Lofts” property (the old YMCA building)

Also that Wednesday evening at at the library is the start of the two day Festival of Authors.  A great literary event costing $10 per evening.  For further information click

The Wye Marsh annual fundraising dinner takes place on Friday November 4th starting at at the Ste. Marie restaurant. A great time and a great cause. Call the Wye Marsh for tickets.


There have been a number of significant developments in the Town this past week that you may want to catch up on.

The Town’s Media release on the Penetanguishene decision on policing can be found at

My position on our budget debate can be found at

Gord McKay

Midland – Cost and Taxes

Midland Council is now wrestling with its 2012 budget and municipal tax rate. Council is divided on the matter – some leaning towards a 5% cost increase while others 2%. The debate though is about a lot more than this year’s tax rate. It’s about Midland’s future.

Municipal costs go up every year. To be fair Midland has little control over some costs:
-         inflation
-         ongoing service downloading from the Province
-         growth in population
In addition, service improvements and contractual commitments are also regularly being added to the Town budget. The net effect is concerning. Over recent years our costs have been growing at 5% to 7% a year while the number of households paying for these costs has been increasing by about 1% a year. Something has to change.

Our cost growth must be balanced with our ability to pay.  Midland’s ability to pay is constrained by many factors. Midland has long been an area with low per household incomes. Our large senior population often lives on incomes indexed to the cost of living (less than 2%). Jobs have been lost recently due to the economic downturn. And finally, Midland receives limited financial support from the Province. These factors underscore the need to get our costs under control.

Midland needs a spending discipline that will reduce our cost growth while being respectful of citizens who depend upon municipal services. I believe it can be done and will work with Council to implement the following measures:
-         all-in cost growth increase of 2% or less
-         no increase in total staff complement
-         all –in annual tax increase in the range of 0% to 1%
Recognize these measures must be maintained for the next three years.

Meeting these targets will require adjustments by both the Town and our citizens. But getting our spending under control is necessary for building a better future for everyone.

Joint Police Service Turned Down by Penentanguishene.

Media Release
Town of Midland
Last evening in a vote of 9-0  Penetanguishene chose to continue their contract with the OPP, and turned aside an opportunity to join with Midland in the creation of a new joint police service.
This outcome is a disappointment for the Town of Midland.  When Midland responded to Penetanguishene’s Request for Bid some nine months ago, we made it clear that we wanted to talk with them about a new form of policing - a joint service to be shared equally by the two municipalities of Penetanguishene and Midland. We were told that before such discussions could happen that we had to bid on a pre-defined service requirement – to bid as if Midland was providing an arms-length service to Penetanguishene. We reluctantly agreed. When the numbers were in the OPP had bid $xx and Midland $1.6 million. In addition we advised that if we could just sit down and talk about a joint service that there were further savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be shared between the two communities. That discussion will now not happen.
Some two years ago the Towns of Penentguishene and Midland joined forces to petition the Province to become a “joint urban growth node”.  The citizens of both communities have since worked together to define what that means - to find opportunities for cooperation, to reduce municipal costs while improving the service efficiencies for both communities. It is sad to realize that a major opportunity to make this optimism a reality has been lost.
We remain neighbours – good neighbours. But we go forward with the realization that the path will be longer and costlier than we had hoped. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday October 23, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

I traded springtime in Australia for autumn in Midland. But its good to be home.

Monday October 24th starts early with the Midland Police Service making a final presentation to the Penetanguishene Policing Review group. The decision to pursue a joint force or not should be made by the Penentanguishene Council on Wednesday (Midland is already fully behind the idea)

Then Monday evening at in the Town Hall is the Council meeting. It has the potential to be a long meeting with four scheduled deputations. Agenda items include:
-          decision on the heritage windows at the Animal Hospital
-          comments on the potential shoreline structures by-law

Tuesday October 25th at is County Council in Midhurst. County Council will be deciding on a number of matters including changes to heavy waste pick-up for Midland and whether to collect waste from small business and merchants.

Wednesday October 26th sees SHARE presenting an information session on solar energy projects at the library, at .  If you are interested in installing a solar energy system, this will be a great source of practical information. Also that evening at the Community Service Department will host a public meeting on recreation related user fees. The good news is that only a few fees will be increasing.

Thursday October 27th is another public meeting, this one dealing with the Town’s Transportation Master Plan. This plan follows from a review of road traffic throughout the Town and will make recommendations on topics such as road modifications and parking restrictions. You can see the transportation report at  - click Town of Midland Transportation Master Plan.

And if you are in Town Hall on Friday and you see people dressed in pink, its for our Breast Cancer fundraiser. Best chili in Town being served for lunch.

Gord McKay