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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:18 pm 
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I personally support the 1% tax levy to be devoted strictly to the hospital expansion fund. Anybody who truly has a problem with spending this money must have a problem with the hospital expansion itself.


This comment is simply way off base and a careless generalization of this issue.

I think we can all agree that the hospital expansion is indeed a must, but I agree with Mike that before forging ahead with tax increases, I was hoping council would have consulted the public more and used the tax increase as a last resort.

Disappointing.


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 Post subject: 2011 Town budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:35 pm 
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Rick Says.

In response to Steve's comments on the budget. Council had an opportunity to bring the tax increase down to the rate of inflation without any noticable impact to service levels, but chose rather to continue the tax and spend policies of the previous council. I made many motions to get the tax increase down to the rate of inflation, most were voted down. In the last election Milton voters voted for change what they got was more of the same. Mike Cluett made a good point Monday night which was not one member of council campaigned on the promise of ” Vote for me and the first thing I will do is raise your taxes 4.56% “. In order to get elected they all campaigned on controlling spending and on fiscal responsibility and then a mere 3 months after getting elected 6 of them conveniently forgot those promises they had made. Is it any wonder people have such a low opinion of politicians.

As for the hospital levy, no one is opposed to the hospital expansion, where we differ is how it is paid for and who pays it. Health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, it is not the responibility of municipalities to fund health care services through property taxes, which are after tax dollars. Milton families already pay for health care services through income taxes and the health care premium tax, they should not have to pay even more through property taxes. We as well as other municipalities have to make this very clear to the provincial politicians especially leading up to the upcoming provincial election. Council in my opinion made a very big mistake in approving this tax levy, it sends the wrong message to the province, by agreeing to tax home owners to pay for a health care service we have compromised our negociating position on health care funding, we blinked and I am afraid that we will pay dearly for that mistake.We should not have approved this extra tax without first consulting with our constituents.

As for the transit system. It costs Milton $2.3 million dollars to run the transit system in 2010. Of that users paid $277 thousand , we received $400 thousand from other levels of government (tax dollars ) and the balance of $1.6 million was paid for by Milton tax payers. Milton Transits own numbers suggest that this service is used by approx. 400-450 individuals. Spending $2.3 million dollars to accomadate 450 people seems to me to be excessive. During the campaign one of the biggest complaints I heard from people was how much is it costing us to have these big noisy buses driving around town empty. One of the first cost cutting measures I propose is reducing or even cutting the route that goes through my ward doing so would affect some of my constituents, but as a member of council my responsibilty is to ensure that the tax dollars entrusted to us are used in an efficient effective manner. When it comes to the transit dollars that is not the case.

Rick Malboeuf
Councillor Ward 4


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Taking $100,000 for the community fund and redirecting that to the hospital would be irresponsibly too small an amount to start saving for the hospital. We would have basically had to just about eliminate the whole idea of a community fund all together and then some to make any type of serious contribution for the hospital and there would be same accountability question in taking that action. I don't think the elimination of the community fund is something I would feel is a right step for the town.

Making a serious commitment and start saving responsibly now for the hospital was something I campaigned on, and heard back from a majority of ward 7 residents on. We went through the budget and made some cuts. Several of those cuts were made on my part with keeping the savings for the hospital in mind. If we didn't have to save for the hospital, some of those items may not have been cut. So it's not entirely fair to say we're only looking at increasing taxes for the hospital because some of us were looking and voting on spending cuts with the basis of lowering spending/tax levies in one area so as to redirect in others. But we'd be in slash-and-burn territory and would basically have to gut town services across a wider spectrum to come up with $300,000 on an annual basis.

Going forward, for accountability, one thing we need to be proactive in communication now is our infrastructure deficit and changes that will be impacting us in 2012. We need to either start highlighting major service area cuts in the Town of Milton now or start realistically communicating to residents that we have a serious problem with town finances in regards to reserve funds and infrastructure renewal.

There's a reason why we have the lowest property taxes in all of the GTA. Basically we're stealing from our future. We're spending now, and not planning on how to maintain or afford the future maintenance.

Garlis's point about the long term capital projects (2012-2020) need to be really kept in mind as we need to start thinking of long term maintenance and sustainability before starting new projects.

Keeping our tax rate artificially low is only going to come back and bite us in the butt. Mississauga has what, a 8% property tax increase this year? Double-digit 10% property tax increases is a frightening scary scenario if we don't start seriously thinking about our long term finances now. We have a possible $10 million annual infrastructure deficit - to account for that it would be a 33% tax increase. We're trying to provide first-class services to residents with a shoe-string budget. Only reason it's been working so far is no one's been looking at the long term sustainability problems when the bills start coming due to maintain any of our new buildings, roads, infrastructure, bridges, etc.

If we start off very early, setting a bit aside year after year it becomes sustainable and not too onerous. But if we wait, and put it off, it just makes it more difficult and causes a snowball effect on larger future tax levies.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:51 pm 
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The reasoning behind the motion was that we need to send a message to the province. The fund would have started off, albeit small, with a $100K allotment from the Community Fund ... that doesnt come from property tax base but from OLG Slot revenues.

We how have a slightly higher balance of $300K approx directly from taxpayers wallets.

Is that extra $200K going to make the province change their mind or have that much of an impact? We could have started off with the $100K and then started a public consultation process to speak directly with taxpayers and ask them what they think and build on that plan.

If during that process we hear a majority of all Miltonians say YES we support a tax levy then we can work that into the numbers for upcoming years and add its impact to our projections and through a public process, we can base our decisions on that.

Its an important step when it comes to being accountable to the ratepayers of the town. We speak for them, but first we have to listen to them.

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Mike Cluett
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Wards 1,6,7 & 8

Website | Email mike@mikecluett.ca | Cell (647) 888-9032 | Facebook Page | | Twitter @Mike_Cluett


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 Post subject: Re: 2011 Town budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Rick Malboeuf wrote:
Mike Cluett made a good point Monday night which was not one member of council campaigned on the promise of ” Vote for me and the first thing I will do is raise your taxes 4.56% “. In order to get elected they all campaigned on controlling spending and on fiscal responsibility and then a mere 3 months after getting elected 6 of them conveniently forgot those promises they had made. Is it any wonder people have such a low opinion of politicians.
When I campaigned door to door and talked about financially responsibilities I did not feel that we'd be able to keep the budget from growing due to the financial headwinds and pressures facing us. I did not agree that we'd be able to keep our future budget realistically to the level of inflation for 2011. I thought making such a promise would have been irresponsible knowing then what financial pressures we were being faced with (Arts Centre, Sports Centre, hospital expansion, etc). I attended the budget consultation and open houses in 2010 and talked many times about the financial pressures and headwinds that we'd be faced with coming up immediately with the new council.

Rick Malboeuf wrote:
Health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, it is not the responibility of municipalities to fund health care services through property taxes, which are after tax dollars.
And then we wake up. Honestly, it's a nice dream, and it's actually 100% true. But in the real world we live in, hospitals don't get built unless municipalities contribute real dollars.

Rick Malboeuf wrote:
Council in my opinion made a very big mistake in approving this tax levy, it sends the wrong message to the province, by agreeing to tax home owners to pay for a health care service we have compromised our negociating position on health care funding, we blinked and I am afraid that we will pay dearly for that mistake.
. Members of the hospital board, halton healthcare services, CEO John Oliver, etc all said something different. Cindy Lunau, who sits on the healthcare services board also says something different. She specifically said it would *help* us in the future.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Rick Di Lorenzo wrote:
Taking $100,000 for the community fund and redirecting that to the hospital would be irresponsibly too small an amount to start saving for the hospital. We would have basically had to just about eliminate the whole idea of a community fund all together and then some to make any type of serious contribution for the hospital and there would be same accountability question in taking that action. I don't think the elimination of the community fund is something I would feel is a right step for the town.

Rick, we have stated our positions on the 2012 to 2020 (*correction*) capital. Thank you and I will leave it there. :) But 2 points to consider.

The community fund began at $500,000 per year. Some thought that was an excessive giveaway and there were cases that could be considered abuse of the program. The amount was reduced to the current $250,000 with another $100,000 going toward the culture centre!! The culture centre need is apparently over and staff suggested that THIS $100,000 now go to the hospital reserve. My understanding is that the staff proposal would not have reduced the community fund from its current $250,000. Councillor Lunau expressed her preference to now increase the community fund to $350,000 and Councillor Huffman wanted to give the extra $100,000 to service groups. I think the hospital reserve is a higher priority and council should add the $100,000 to the 1% levy, leaving the community fund as is at $250,000. The hospital reserve really needs $1.5 to $2 million per year, hopefully not from tax levies.

I suggest you ask Linda how much of that infrastructure deficit is due to the 2012 to 2020 capital wish list.


Last edited by garlis on Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Which leads me to my point....we could have approved the 100K, then begun out public consultation process (public meaning we could ensure that the media, other levels of government are serious about doing this) and then when the results come in and for example the taxpayers come back and say YES...I would feel much more comfortable doing this and we'd have the bonus of the publicity AND the "OK" from taxpayers.

Right now it cant be done becuase we missed that initial public consultation process when council voted on Monday night.

Further to that once a levy is in, its very difficult to remove and quite easy to raise...again with little or no consultation with the public. The levy leads to a slippery slope.

Steve & Kelly wrote:
Mike_Cluett wrote:
The reasoning behind the motion was that we need to send a message to the province. The fund would have started off, albeit small, with a $100K allotment from the Community Fund ... that doesnt come from property tax base but from OLG Slot revenues.

We how have a slightly higher balance of $300K approx directly from taxpayers wallets.

Is that extra $200K going to make the province change their mind or have that much of an impact? We could have started off with the $100K and then started a public consultation process to speak directly with taxpayers and ask them what they think and build on that plan.

If during that process we hear a majority of all Miltonians say YES we support a tax levy then we can work that into the numbers for upcoming years and add its impact to our projections and through a public process, we can base our decisions on that.

Its an important step when it comes to being accountable to the ratepayers of the town. We speak for them, but first we have to listen to them.


Mike, I agree with you 100% that regarding the future, we need to have public consultations about these funds because this 1% levy will certainly not cover all of the costs we need to raise. You name the time and place and I will be there.

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Mike Cluett
Local/Regional Councillor
Wards 1,6,7 & 8

Website | Email mike@mikecluett.ca | Cell (647) 888-9032 | Facebook Page | | Twitter @Mike_Cluett


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:59 pm 
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garlis wrote:
I think the hospital reserve is a higher priority and council should add the $100,000 to the 1% levy, leaving the community fund as is at $250,000. The hospital reserve really needs $1.5 to $2 million per year, hopefully not from tax levies.
That's partially politics.

If that was proposed, the hospital vote might have turned out differently. I know what your saying and if I was a dictator and could just make the budget be what I wanted it to be multiple things would have been done differently but we can only pass what a majority will vote yes for and we only had a 6-5 vote as is. If we had made some of those changes to the community fund the vote might have turned out the other way around in the opposite direction.

Please keep in mind this is only my own thoughts and I may be wrong.

But to be clear, I wanted the community fund to stay, whether at $250k or $350k. I'm also partially fearful of it's future as I think it might be the first cupboard to have it's cookie's raided in 2012.

Hopefully this post won't be used against me a few years hence. I get (and understand) a lot of the be careful of what you post now that your on town council. If you post it's a trace. If circumstances and your mind changes years from now it will be used as a hammer against you. But what's the whole purpose of debate? Shouldn't we want to debate and learn more and change course if we realize in the future a better way?

garlis wrote:
I suggest you ask Linda how much of that infrastructure deficit is due to the 2012 to 2020 capital wish list.
Good question. I'm waiting to see the report coming out this year on the infrastructure deficit. That report will hopefully highlight in detail exactly where and how that total is reached and should highlight what is past built up deficits and what is future projected deficits due to as-yet-unapproved future capital projects that haven't been spent yet.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:45 pm 
Wonderfully said hawthorner!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:33 pm 
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Wonderfully said? The guy can't even do math properly... read again.

I actually sympathize with Rick in the fact that all these people whine and complain about various services not being used or being overfunded, paying too much tax... then when someone actually says they will do something about it, they complain? I feel sorry for all of council, you guys can't win either way.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:11 pm 
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Rick M has it right

that we are funding a transit system for about 450 riders. Do the math. You can buy each of them a car for one yrs funding. Do the math folks. CUT TRAnsit completly


It will suck you dry year after year after yr

And why in gods name are we even talking about hospital funding.



Its a provincial matter.



This town has lost all its appeal. A true bedroom community. With most asleep at the wheel. Time to get out of dodge.


Wb


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:30 pm 
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What did you guys decide on mobile speed cameras?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:42 pm 
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You could do that and then spend millions more to enlarge the roads and parking lots to accomodate them. Not to mention the annual increase in maintainance costs for all those new roads.

You might save in the short term, but you'll end up paying more for it in the longer term.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:34 am 
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In reply to hawthorners rant against me. First on transit ,of all the cost to run Milton Transit for 2010 was $2.3 Million for 124,000 rides which amounts to $18.50 a ride of which $2.25 is paid for by the rider and the balance of $16.25 is paid for through taxes. The average cab ride in Milton is $10.00. I do not propose scrapping transit, what I want is to make the system more efficient and cost effective.

Other members of council use this site to promote their positions and I believe I have an obligation to provide the readers the opposing position. As for my colleagues, if they can not accept a bit of criticism than they have no business in politics. Contrary to hawthorner way of thinking I believe a politicians should keep the promises they make during the election campaign after being elected. I ran on a platform of getting town hall spending under control and I was elected to do that. With this latest tax increase Milton property taxes have increased by 22% over the last 5 years while inflation has been 10% over the same period. despite these increase town service levels have decreased in priority areas, such as snow removal as well as with sidewalk and park maintainance. We are diverting thousands of tax dollars into areas we should not be involved in we have to get our priorties straight. Contrary to what hawthorner says I do not want soccer field maintenace stopped, despite the money we are spending our playing fields are a mess, I voted to stop spending more tax dollars on programs that are not effective while we look at how we can improve in this area. Maybe hawthorner doesn't have a problem paying more taxes but the people I have spoken to so far are not happy to see their property taxes increase another 4.6 %. My responsibility is to represent the interests of the majority, not special intersts groups. The many are getting tired of paying for the few.

Rick Malboeuf
Councillor Ward 4


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:59 am 
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Rick Malboeuf has the same right to come here and post as anyone else. I'm very happy that he's decided to come online and show a different perspective to the discussion. On this particular issue it may not be the same side I voted for, but it's good to have open discussions and Rick M.'s always been nothing but courteous during debates. He even has a sense of humour that many people saw at Monday's budget committee meeting. His 'criticism' isn't personal and I don't think anyone else on council is taking it that way. On some votes we agree, on some votes we agree to disagree.

Please be assured he's not 'pissing' any of the other councillors off. But I do plan to sit in (from the audience) on a few of the transit committee meetings. I'm not one of the councillors on Transit (Zeeshan and Rick M. are) but I really want to see and hear how the new transit committee works together. There's going to be an interesting dynamic with Both Zeeshan and Rick M. working together to improve Transit in Milton :P

But honestly, I'm hoping they'll both bring a different perspective to Transit and that through on-going dialogue we'll see Transit steadily improve in both cost effectiveness and service use. Either way the future transit meetings will likely have some lively discussions.


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