Dear Thurlow Ward residents,
Thanks for visiting my website. Communication with you is a top priority. Below you will find important upcoming dates, links to information, including my Twitter feed, Council meetings video streaming, reports on progress and results as well as my voting record on all significant council decisions. Additionally, there are various ways that you can connect with me. I value your comments and ideas. To effectively represent you, I need to hear from you.
Thanks to Thurlow residents who attended the Ward meeting on October 17. At that meeting, we reviewed some 2016 results, conducted 2017 Capital pre-budget consultations and finished the evening with a question and answer session. The next Ward meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 4 at 6:30 pm at the Thurlow Community Centre on Harmony Road.
During the 2017 Capital Budget meetings that wrapped up in October, I continued to push and was successful in having City Council invest even more funding towards our Comprehensive Road Maintenance Program. I am pleased to announce that $2.7 Million will be allocated for 2017. In the past two years, the City will have invested approximately $4.9 Million in funding for road maintenance. We were able to invest in further capital projects again this year, while keeping the Capital Budget overall tax impact to 0.67 percent.
It is important that we provide services in a fiscally prudent and efficient manner. At the November 28 meeting, Council adopted my motion that city staff prepare the 2017 draft Operating Budget with an overall tax rate increase of no more than 1 percent, with no reduction in current levels of service. The 2017 Operating Budget will be debated in the spring, looking for additional reductions in the overall tax impact.
As Chair of the Departmental Performance Standards Committee, I am pleased to report that work continues in developing measurements to ensure we are delivering results to city residents. Finally, I want to thank my colleagues on Hastings-Quinte Emergency Services Committee for electing me as chairperson.
It continues to be an honour and privilege to represent you on Belleville City Council. My focus remains steadfast in ensuring the issues important to you remain front and centre at City Hall. After all, it is about your community and your priorities.
Voting Records / Updates / Results
Below is an overview of the major council agenda items and my votes (not official minutes):
- City Council has initiated a review of Police and Fire area tax ratings. This will have significant implications for Thurlow property owners. The City will be conducting public consultations in Fall 2017 and will announce additional details at a later date. In the meantime, here is a link to a presentation that was provided to City Council – Police / Fire Area Tax Ratings
- Council has initiated the process to eliminate the Vacant Unit Tax Rebate program for commercial and industrial properties. Stakeholder consultations will be planned for a future date.
- I have requested a staff report for Council’s consideration for the implementation of a Vacant Building Registry. This would be a self-funded program, which would include a one-time registration fee and subsequent annual fee for regular inspections by building department and fire services.
- I have requested a staff report for Council’s consideration regarding a comprehensive overview of all by-law enforcement activities. It is clear that residents are looking to move from a complaint driven process to a more assertive model of enforcement.
- I have asked staff to investigate business licensing and minimum separation distances that can limit the number of high interest retail lending businesses in our city. A staff report will be forthcoming and draft by-law will be forthcoming to Council.
- The Departmental Performance Standards Committee continues with its work, in consultation with departments, on the development of performance indicators and results reporting. It is anticipated that results reporting will commence in 2017 with dashboards available on the city’s website for public access.
- As chair of the Youth Advisory Committee, I am pleased that we were able to make two student appointments to this committee. More students are always welcome. It is important that we get this committee to work and provide an opportunity for youth to have real and meaningful engagement in decisions that impact their city.
- There are a number of capital projects for Ward 2 that will be addressed this year, including Mineral Road / Maitland Drive Reconstruction & Servicing Extension, Mudcat Road Reconstruction, Casey Road Reconstruction, and Bell Creek Bridge Rehabilitation.
- The Comprehensive Road Maintenance Program received an increased funding allocation for 2017 with $1.25 Million dollars for the shave & pave program, $1.25 Million dollars for the rural resurfacing program and $250K for Slurry Seal Resurfacing Program.
- A new Comprehensive Road Maintenance Program was implemented city-wide. Allocations included $1 Million dollars for a shave & pave program, $1 Million dollars in new funding for a rural road resurfacing program. This program also includes crack sealing and other new initiatives.
- Funding for a Recycling Centre at the Thurlow Landfill
- Work as commenced on a Revitalization Plan for Thurlow Park (Harmony Road)
- New playground equipment was installed at Clarence Bird Park with Settler’s Ridge subdivision.
- Two new fire stations were constructed and opened in Ward 2 (Station #3 – Old Hwy 2 and Station #5 – Hoskin Road
- 2016 City Budget had favourable tax impact for residents (Cannifton Urban 0.09%, Cannifton Rural -0.35% and Rural -0.17%)
- A number of Capital projects were completed – Bronk Road Rehabilitation and Bridge Replacement, Grass Boulevard Reconstruction,
- Council passed my motion (May 11, 2015) for the creation of a committee to implement a Departmental Performance Standards Committee. This will provide clear measurable results related to service delivery.
- Doubling Property Tax Credit – Low Income Seniors / ODSP Homeowners. I introduced a motion, which passed at Council in a By-Law on April 27, 2015 to have this tax credit increased annually by $50 so that by 2018, this property tax credit will have doubled to $400.
- An asphalt pathway on Sidney Street has been approved from Bell Blvd to Millennium Parkway. This will address a significant public safety issue in terms of pedestrian and cyclist safety as well as enhance connectivity over Highway 401. (Capital Budget, February 26, 2015).
- Funding has been allocated for playgrounds in Canniff Mills and Settler’s Ridge subdivsions. This is a significant community enhancement for these neighbourhoods. (Capital Budget, February 26, 2015).
- Funding has been approved for a number of Thurlow Ward roads to resurfaced and for others to have the initial designs completed for road reconstruction. (Capital Budget, February 26, 2015)
- Council approved my motion to change the Regular Council Meeting times to 5pm. This will ensure greater accessibility for citizens that work to attend council meetings, either to make a deputation or observe from the public gallery. The purpose is to ensure increased citizen engagement. (January 12, 2015). Unfortunately, Council voted to return to a 4pm meeting time effective April 11, 2016.
- Council approved my motion to expand the mandate of the Agricultural Advisory Committee to now include all encompassing Rural Affairs. This is important to ensure the unique issues of agriculture, rural residents and rural business are highlighted and discussed. Recommendations of this advisory committee will be brought forward to City Council. (January 8, 2015)
- Service delivery expansion – Curb side leaf and yard waste pick-up as well as Christmas Tree pick-up in Thurlow Ward has been implemented as a regular service. This is important considering residents have already been paying for this service in their property taxes for a number of years. This equalizes the service across the entire city.