COUNCIL BRIEFS: JUNE 2, 2015

Council Briefs-001

In addition to the larger stories, other items go through Thorold City Council and General Committee. Some may be important to someone affected and others are just a little interesting. The following are some of those items:

  • Claire Sutherland was presented with the Senior of the Year Award to for all the work she’s done for others in the community. Congratulations Claire and may others learn from it.
  • There was a plea for help from some Port Robinson Residents whose Thorold St. yards are being swallowed up by a growing swamp that appeared pretty much out of nowhere. Staff have ruled out the grading of a new home, which they say followed the drainage rules, so they’re now looking into other possibilities. Despite help from Councillors, Staff think they may have found a problem in the outflow but, after this weekend’s rain, they’re waiting for the ground to dry so they won’t damage the owner’s property while trying to fix the problem.
  • Councillor Handley got Council to back a Fort Erie recommendation for hydro price relief for industries in the Niagara Region, saying power costs are keeping them away especially since, according to Councillor Paone, Ontario apparently has a surplus of hydro-electric power which taxpayers subsidize to sell to New York State.
  • Councillor Neale addressed the Region’s decision to back out of Regional Transit, pointing out that we’re going to have to walk the walk if we expect to get GO Train service in Niagara. Mayor Luciani said the three big cities are trying to work it out (they own the bus services) and the Region gave the pilot project a 20-month extension.
  • The food truck by-law passed by the outgoing Council last fall was under attack because the Staff members who are organizing the Canada Day event can’t get food trucks. Those of us involved in organizing events in Thorold tried to tell them that but, now that it’s a City problem, they’re looking at changing it. Asked Councillor Wilson, “Why are we even involved with food trucks?”
  • Councillor Wilson suggested that the Fire Services Review Committee be expanded to do a review of all City operations to see what services might not be required, etc. He was quick to point out that this was not intended to be micro-managing but to look at efficiencies in light of the City’s financial position. “I think it’s healthy,” he said. Probably not a bad idea, but will likely take a lot longer that Councillor Wilson thinks.
  • Staff asked for a budget guideline for them to use as a ceiling. No one offered a number, so Mayor Luciani suggested 2.5%. Councillor Whelan asked if they could get a report to let them know what they stood to gain or lose at this rate, but the Mayor replied that they would find that out in the budget process. The motion passed without challenge, even though it was reported that tax increases of 11.12% (2016), 8.79% (2017) and 8.52% (2018) would be required to stay afloat. This is just a guideline, however, so don’t hang your hat on the 2.5%.

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