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Commencing May 1, 2017, Strong Township Landfill Site #1 will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Something New, The “State of the Village”

The Mayor’s Summer Message is traditionally used to promote the Tourist Season. This summer we are pleased to reflect on our new Council’s initial activity and ambitious plans for change.

Prior to the actual tallying of the replies received from the citizens and ratepayers in the 1st Sundridge Citizens’ Survey, we were able to move forward on a few of the obvious deficiencies and some of our election platforms. (It should be noted that any success that we achieved is a credit to the town staff and their patience with our combination of steep learning curve and clumsy enthusiasm. Thank you Staff.)

Taxes:

Overwhelmingly, taxes are repeatedly cited as the biggest improvement item for the Village. This was not lost on the current Council during the election campaign and those promises were not forgotten after the election results were received.

The Village portion of our taxes rate were held to 0% increase.

Of the 13 Municipalities in the Almaguin area, Sundridge was the only one able to hold the line on taxes. Kudos to Deputy Mayor Jeffers and each of Councilors Don Richardson, Russell Becker and Jason Newman for their attention to Budget detail and the imaginative solutions that have allowed us to enjoy the same or better levels of service with no tariff increase.

Transparency:

Prior to the October 2014 election, a citizen made a complaint to the Ontario Ombudsman regarding meetings being held by the Village Council without sufficient public notice. The meetings in question were not being held differently from the way meetings had been held for years. That is the say, “This is how we have always done it.” With more community involvement over the last decade, the old ways no longer meet the bar and communication expectations are now higher than ever.

Amberley Gavel, investigators for the Ontario Ombudsman, made the following recommendations to us;

Many of our bylaws were created as far back as 1989 and have become out-of-date and ineffective. As a group, we are now in the process of reviewing the old procedural bylaws and reflecting the new needs and expectations of our community. Procedures must be followed or changed.

This has been a special focus item of Deputy Mayor Ryan Jeffers.

Citizen Involvement and Efficiencies:

This initiative is expected to establish a new process of constant improvement for our Village. Together with our ratepayers, our efforts will target solving chronic problems and lowering Village service costs without losing quality of service. The voices of the community are expected to make important contributions.

Our first committee, comprised of both Citizens and Councilors, made up the Sundridge Disposal and Recycling Task Force. Citizens Rena Lang, Dawn Berry, Enzo Seca and Dave Walker were charged to work with Council and find a way to make our garbage pick-up and disposal work better/cheaper.

The first meeting was held on May 4, 2015 and recommendations are expected by August 1, 2015.

Our expectations are high!

Our Future:

Building our community up and making things better is part of good governance.

We want safe, healthy, happy homes. We want places to work and to play.

As a group we are dealing with an aging populace, restricted budgets, continuous technology changes and degrading assets/infrastructure. Collaboration with the neighboring communities and other community organizations will assist in our delivery of effective services and the improvements we expect of our quality of life but only if we strive to work together.

Municipal leadership must identify weaknesses and create strategies to deal with our current problems as well as anticipate future needs. The Sundridge Citizens Survey that was created by Councilor Russell Becker is a key tool to help us identify our weaknesses and prioritize our activity.

The pursuit of things that will make our lives better, things of real importance, Family, Community, social welfare, quality services, cost control and our relationship with nature will always be part of this Councils future planning.

Regards,   Mayor Lyle Hall

 

NOTE: To our potential tourists: Don’t forget to drop on by and enjoy our summer festivals, Lake Bernard and the healthy environment of our Village in the Hills, Sunny Sundridge!  -  L.H. ;-)

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