Council Preview: Jan 30, 2019

There isn’t much to this special meeting, dedicated to the 2019 budget, that hasn’t already been discussed. I will take the time to highlight a few items and actual, long-term implications as far as costs go.


Municipality-Wide Highlights

  • Water and wastewater rates are frozen for 2019. This was already approved in 2018.
  • We cannot:
    • Freeze/reduce water and wastewater rates
    • Restrict or prevent new development
    • Fund high-quality recreational facilities
    • Increase government transparency
    • Cut services
  • all at the same time. It’s just not doable. So I’ll be running a community poll in the near future to gauge residents’ priorities during this Council term soon, and we will come back to it from time to time to re-assess.
  • Here’s a breakdown of your tax bill:
    • 47% of your property taxes go to the Municipality of Middlesex Centre (Komoka, Kilworth, Ilderton, Poplar Hill, Delaware, Coldstream, Bryanston, Birr, Arva, Melrose) for municipal services like maintaining arenas, parks, by-law enforcement, building inspections, road maintenance, etc.
    • 32% goes to the County of Middlesex to pay for services like ambulance, county road maintenance, etc.
    • 21% goes to the Province for our public school systems (Catholic and public, English and French)
  • Tax rate increases have been dropping since 2016, with 2019’s projected at 1.77%.
    • This compares with the City of London’s 2019 tax increase of 2.7%.
  • While Middlesex Centre will spend more on internal staff and OPP (increases of 9.34% and 4.57% respectively), we are cutting back on subcontractors by 4.09%, hydro costs are projected to be 9.33% lower in 2019, water is projected to be 6.5% lower, and a 20% reduction in office supplies costs.
  • Of the $28,056,645 in debt outstanding, 42% of that is covered by development charges. That means that, in many cases, residents building new homes pay a portion when they do so, and then they also help pay through property taxes.
    • Only 36.1% of the debt is paid through property taxes. The rest is through user fees and specific residents (e.g. agricultural drainage works).
  • The new website will be launching in the next few months.
  • We will switch to the new meeting agenda software, and also be purchasing all the software and hardware necessary to deploy live streaming Council meetings.
  • Our development charges will be undergoing a full review this year.
  • Our Official Plan is also undergoing a full review, which could take 12 – 24 months to complete.
  • A new road needs study to more accurately identify which roads need resurfacing and when.
  • Settlement community stormwater master plan (study started in 2018).
  • An infrastructure design standards update.
  • And a top up to our reserves, as we have been spending more than we have been transferring to them recently.

Ward 4 Highlights

  • New fire hoses for all fire halls.
  • Replacement bunker gear for all stations.
  • Kilworth Optimist Park – park re-development.
    • In partnership with Tridon, and they will refund the majority of the expenses.
    • New soccer pitch, new playground, new drainage, parking lot, paths.
  • Komoka Park – infield improvements (back diamond).
  • Komoka Park – resurface tennis courts.
  • Komoka Community Centre – parking lot drain repair.
  • Old River Road (Glendon to Pulham) – engineering study.
  • Sidewalk plow tractor (bringing this in-house instead of using contractor).
  • Kilworth West sanitary sewer connection completion.
    • And then decommissioning the Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility!
  • Servicing Tunks Lane.
    • You’ll learn more about why on Feburary 19.

I was hoping to get an off-leash dog park into 2019’s budget, however in speaking with the Director of Community Services he wanted to ensure that the Community Services Committee had an opportunity to discuss it first. That’s fair, and I will continue to follow-up and work to get this completed in 2020. I know it’s a big want for many dog owners in Ward 4.

I also wanted Council to look at pulling up to $500,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve in order to mitigate this year’s tax rate increase. Unfortunately we may need to pull much more from that fund if the provincial government chooses to eliminate the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund. We usually find out how much funding we’ll get from the OMPF in the fall, however the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has chosen to delay any decisions, causing much uncertainty. We received almost $1,000,000 in 2018 from the OMPF, so we could be looking at transferring around $900,000 from that fund to ensure we don’t need to cut vital services provided to our residents in 2019.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.