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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Council Chamber News – January, 2015

The new year represents the real start of a new 4-year Council term.

There are a number of developing stories that should become clearer in the next 2-3 months and a new Budget is always a challenge. Stay tuned! Here are some of the more recent developments over the past 2 weeks:

2015 Residential Satisfaction Survey

The Town is planning to invest $30,000 in moving forward to survey residents on the effectiveness of the services the Town currently delivers. The methodology will involve hiring a firm expert in conducting telephone surveys of 300-350 residents randomly from all areas of the Town, including full-time and part time residents.  If you receive a call in late February or early April, please make sure you ‘have your say’ and help Council identify priority areas for action/changes in service levels. LINK

This follows on the heels of a Business Retention and Business Expansion Study and a Development Process and Service Level Review Study, both independent consultant-driven studies which should be completed in the next 2-3 months.

Town Updates

  • Did you know that the Town’s watermain stretches approximately 97 kms and has 7,726 water connections. The Town’s wastewater system (sewers) stretches approximately 80 kms and has 6,368 connections. The operating costs for these two systems is just over $4.0 million per annum, while capital spending is close to $2.0 million per annum.
  • We are advised by the Town Engineering Director that another submission of full engineering drawings on the external road works are being presented by the Sobeys/Towns joint project consultant by January 19th and are to be peer reviewed by January 30th. If there are no serious deficiencies, then the tenders will be let around the end of February. Assuming that costs are reasonable (at or below expectations), then the overall exterior road works project and the interior site work on the new Foodlands Building and the LCBO Building should commence in the spring and be completed in the fall of 2015. Yeh!
  • The Town has officially hired another Municipal Law Enforcement Officer for the purposes of enforcing all by-laws of the municipality. Her name is KIRSTY ROBITAILLE and hopefully you will welcome her and stay out of trouble.
  • After 30 years of service with the Thornbury Police Service, Thornbury-Meaford Police Service and The Blue Mountains Detachment of the OPP, Sergeant Charles Watts is retiring from Policing. His presence in providing safe community will certainly be missed. His replacement has been identified as Sergeant Len Devine, who has served in the Collingwood/Blue Mountains area since 2000. Len is scheduled to commence his new duties and transition on February 19th. Welcome Mr. Devine and we all look forward to meeting you and resuming a great relationship with the OPP.

Grey County News

  • The County’s new CAO, Derik Brandt, resigned his position after only two months of the job. A news release (LINK) states that the two parties mutually agreed that the position ‘was not the right fit for him or the county’. Maybe his $164,000+ salary (2013 numbers) wasn’t enough or maybe working for an ‘old boys club’ became more evident.
  • As the County wrestles with their 2015 Budget, they need to decide on how to handle a $5.6 million pot of gold (reserve) that accumulated from a provincial upload of its social services costs while continuing to collect monies from lower tier municipalities. The County Treasurer has recommended paying back 50% of this $5.6 million reserve to all the municipalities based on their tax commitment to this reserve. This would net the Blue Mountains $729,000 and reduce the Town’s 2015 tax remittance by approximately $688,321 (likely to be recovered to provide for new County initiatives). Council has directed Mayor McKean to ask for a 100% of our money back or approximately $1.46 million (SEE LINK). This money can used to move forward with projects that have been delayed due to a growing shortfall in infrastructure spending. Stay tuned!
  • Grey County, in partnership with the Owen Sound Family Health Team and St. Michael’s Hospital has launched a one-year clinical trial to study the value of in-home healthcare by paramedics in reducing emergency room visits, hospital admissions and wait times – a paramedicine program. The province is providing a one-time funding of $300,000 for the program aimed at 200 voluntary patients (LINK).

Announcements:

1)         The Blue Mountains Resort has just recently opened a family-friendly, kids’ tube park, called the Hike N’Tube Park, located at the base of the L-Hill ski trail, between South Base Lodge and the Village (see LINK for more details).

Upcoming Events:

1)         A Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday January 26th, 2015 at 1.00 p.m.

2)         The 2015 Budget Workshops are still scheduled for January 28th and February 4th, 2015 starting at 9.00 a.m. Look for a posting on the Town’s website of the complete Budget Documents sometime on Monday or Tuesday January 19th and 20th.

3)         The Community Policing Committee (CPC) is scheduled to meet on Wednesday January 28th, at 7.15 p.m. We are advised that this will the last meeting for Sgt. Charlie Watts as he gets ready for retirement by mid-February (see update above).

 

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