Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday January 30, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

Today I am going to take to the ice and try my hand at curling. Later the snowmobile club is debating whether to take me out on their “trail groomer”. Always something to do in our Town.

The Town is installing two Automatic External Defibrillators at Town Hall. This week Town staff and Council will be receiving training on how they are used. Part of the reason that public buildings are becoming much safer than the home environment for surviving heart emergencies.

Wednesday February 2nd is the busy day with two planning meetings.  At you are invited to come to the Midland Library to participate in our “Employment Area Policy” review.  This meeting will gather input about how much industrial/commercial land is needed in Midland and where it should be located.

Then at is the regular Planning and Development Committee at the NSSRC.  A short agenda including;
-          a decision on the “portico” to be built on the new Hillcrest retirement home
-          discussion of rezoning
281 Cranston Cres.
-          mention of plans for the new Shoppers Drug building

Then on Friday get ready for a week-end of fun as our Winterfest gets underway, Saturday is the busy day (see attached).  Rumour has it that the mayors of Midland and Penetanguishene will be mixing it up at the pancake breakfast and the Spelling Bee. Then at join Community Living Huronia for the Red Carpet treatment at the Best Western.

See you there.

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday January 23, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

Boy its cold out there.  We are planning to get Council together just to keep warm. So…

Monday January 24th will see three meetings at the NSSRC. The first meeting is an in-camera meeting stating at . Then at Council will hold a special meeting to hear from our insurance company about the Town’s insurance coverage. At is the Council meeting. Many interesting items including:
-          a decision to re-open the taxi by-law
-          the presentation of our 2011 budget (I have prepared a note on the budget that you may wish to read at
-          a response to the request from Penetanguishene to have Midland consider providing them with police services
-          a follow-up on the recent Urban Growth Node meeting plus a decision to launch an economic development initiative

Tuesday January 25th at , attention moves to Midhurst where the County will be voting on its $400 million plus budget. It will be interesting to see how the many new Councillor’s respond to what is a very complex document. Then later that evening at you are invited to attend the Tay town offices to help Victoria Harbour celebrate its 100th anniversary.

That’s it until Thursday when Huronia Players opens its second play for the season, entitled Social Security. Tickets are available at the NSSRC box office.

And for those who plan ahead, consider attending the Community Living Huronia dinner and fundraiser on February 5th starting at . For tickets call Community Living Huronia 526-4253 Ext. 221 or

Gord McKay

Midland Budget 2011

This Monday Midland Council should pass its 2011 budget. If it goes through as presented it will contain a Town tax rate increase of 2% which when combined with the County taxes should result in a bottom line residential increase of about 1.7%.  This will be the lowest annual increase that I have seen in my five years on Midland Council.

While this appears to be a good outcome for Midland taxpayers, it does not come to grips with the major financial issue facing Midland – our escalating cost of service delivery. The Corporation of the Town of Midland is a “service organization”.  It provides services to its citizens – hockey arenas, snow plowing, public parks and many others. Increasing regulatory requirements from the province, increasing service level needs from our citizens and wage inflation are causing our operating costs to grow by over 5% per year. As you can appreciate if your costs are growing by 5%, it sets the tone for all other budget discussions.

The revenue side of the equation is also of concern.  Midland has been fortunate over the last few years to have received millions of dollars in “infrastructure grants”.  And while these have been welcomed, they can only be used for capital projects – capital projects that often bring additional operating costs. Provincial help for Midland to offset operating costs can only be described as minimal.  Further, the last few years have reduced our industrial base and with it our industrial taxes. So while there are some revenue fixes in the long term, in the short term revenue increases will have to come from residential taxes.

The solution to Midland’s financial challenge will be a mixture of identifying new sources of revenue, increased economic development and reducing our cost of delivering services. Fixing the cost - revenue imbalance is essential for Midland’s future.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday January 16, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

Last evening we put our outside Christmas lights back on and watched the quiet beauty of snow falling upon the lovely town of Midland. Who needs Acapulco?

Monday January 17 will move us into high gear with the Town’s budget meeting starting at at the NSSRC. At this meeting, staff will be presenting solutions that should guide our 2011 budget into the range required by Council.

On Wednesday January 19th at the citizens of both Midland and Penetanguishene will meet in an historic meeting at the Brian Orser arena in Penetanguishene to discuss our joint future. The occasion was precipitated by the Province who recently awarded our two municipalities “joint Urban Growth Node” status. This meeting, likely the first of many, will start the public dialog of what this status may mean in the years ahead. Working together opens up many possibilities including: shared police services; linked waterfront development; a common summer festival(s); shared water delivery; joint economic planning and development. This is important to your future. Come out and have your say.

Thursday January 20th, the County hosts one of its four open houses to receive your comments on the Simcoe County Trails Strategy. The event takes place from to at the Penetanguishene Memorial Community Centre.

Friday morning, you have to get up early for the Mayors Day fundraising event at the Brooklea Golf and Country Club starting at . The mayors of the North Simcoe municipalities will be there in support of GBGH. Tickets are still available for breakfast, or if you are a late riser for lunch. Please contact the Huronia Community Foundation or the Town offices at 526-4275.

And in closing, two notices:
-          Little
Lake Park Road
is now closed to through traffic for the remainder of the winter. The road will remain partially open from
King Street
to the parking area located by the large staircases where the picnic shelter is located.
-          10-digit local dialling has now started in the 705 region. Change those speed-dials.

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday January 9, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

Skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing – its all out there waiting for you.  Get out and enjoy it. 

Your Council begins its week with a photo shoot. The formal photo will take place in the new Town Hall Council chambers at on Monday January 10th.  Then at Council is back at its temporary location at the NSSRC for the January General Committee meeting. A short but interesting agenda including:
-          A proposal to review our taxi by-law
-          A discussion on Council’s proposed strategy session
-          An update by our “Solar Panel Investigation Group”.
-          A proposal to develop a policy for naming public sites

The next major Town meeting is the Planning and Development Committee meeting on Wednesday January 12th at at the NSSRC.  A lot of significant items coming forward.
-          Midland and Penetanguishene’s response to the province’s  Urban Growth Node Amendment 1
-          An elaboration of the consultation process the two municipalities are proposing to use to engage the public in what it means to be an Urban Growth Node
-          An introduction to the proposed Economic Action Initiative, being considered by Tiny, Tay, Penetanguishene and Midland.
-          And to cap it off, we will hear a summary of what the Planning Department accomplished in 2010

This week at County, the three County Committees of Council will be meeting. The major item that they will all be dealing with is the County budget that is expected to be passed later this month. If you have any ideas on County programs or spending please forward them to your County Councillors – the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of your respective municipalities.

In closing, our Winterfest event schedule is ready (see attached). I hope to see you all out there enjoying Midland on the weekend of February 5th and 6th.

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday January 2, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

I hope that you have all safely arrived in 2011. After a brief flirtation with early spring temperatures, it looks like more snow ahead.

A relatively quiet week for the Town as we get back to work. The new County Council will take a first look at the 2011 County budget on Wednesday January 5th at in Midhurst. The initial target is a 2% tax rate increase. Note: this increase will affect the tax levy paid by Midland to the County. It currently accounts for some 15% of your tax bill.

Then at that same day your Council will meet at the NSSRC to discuss our own 2011 budget. At our last meeting before Christmas, Council was looking to keep our increase between 2% and 3%. At this meeting Council will be working with staff to identify where cost savings can be achieved.

You will be seeing an advertisement shortly inviting the citizens of Midland and Penetanguishene to a Public Consultation on our joint Urban Growth Node (UGN) designation. (see attached) The UGN is a creation of the province that is being used to direct development into urban areas. Beyond that there is little definition of what an UGN is or how it will impact designated communities. The Councils of Midland and Penetaguishene are inviting you to learn more about the UGN and help shape our future. The first meeting will be held on Wednesday January 19th at at the Brian Orser Hall in Penetanguishene.

Gord McKay