Welcome to the preview for the penultimate meeting of the 2014-2018 Middlesex Centre Council! You can view the agenda here.
This should not be a terribly long meeting, but we do have one very, very important to cover. That is the 2019 water, wasterwater, and stormwater rates.
We don’t have any delegations, presentations or petitions this week.
- The year-to-date budget numbers are both happily surprising and also less so in other places. It appears all to balance itself out in the end with higher-than-expected property tax revenue, higher-than-expected protection revenue (likely because of fire calls), but lower than expected planning & development revenue. I don’t think there’s anything to be concerned about, but I will be seeking some clarification prior to the meeting, and then bringing that forth so that the public has the same answers.
- I am saddened to see that the Komoka Railway Museum needs to ask for a change in their intended use of the funds provided through the Council Grants Program because someone (some people?) saw fit to vandalize the property. That is very disappointing to hear.
- BMA Consulting and staff went through three different scenarios for the 2019 water, wastewater, and stormwater (WWS) rates. They considered increasing the water rates but decreasing the wastewater rates, which would have provided a bit of relief for 2019 however this would have resulted in increases in 2020 that would more than offset the previous decrease because of reduced funding being placed in reserves. In the end, MXC staff are recommending an additional rate freeze for 2019.
- The great news that we see in the report is that the changes staff have been making, and Council has been endorsing, are resulting in reduced operations budgets! The Water operations expenses are expected to be over $190,000 lower in 2019, and the Wastewater operations expenses are expected to be over $258,000 lower in 2019!
- These savings are being realized thanks to reduced equipment and maintenance expenses, and freezing the rates will allow us to get closer to the Long-Range Financial Plan’s goals for the water and wastewater reserve funds.
- It seems the bank account holding funds for the Campbell Cemetery is not allowed, by provincial law, to hold more than $50,000. So we are looking at transferring some of the funds to the Cemetery Board for Campbell Cemetery.
- It looks like everything is ready to go for the Ettrick Drain Ideson Branch Improvement, so staff are looking for approval to proceed.
- The Bluewater Recycling Association’s (BRA) Board of Directors meeting report has lots of very interesting information about the state of the recycling market (China’s existing and upcoming bans, businesses building closed-loop systems, mergers), and the state of operations at BRA.
- Commodity revenue is expected to drop in 2019 because of China’s surprising changes earlier this year, and their continued reduction of purchasing recyclables.
- As a result, the municipal levy is expected to rise across participating municipalities by $54,000 in 2019. Thankfully this appears to only affect each property by adding an additional $1.66 per household.
- It seems Huron County, and elsewhere, continue to experience hardship in attracting truck drivers. The average age is increasing, with no large cohorts joining the industry recently. There is a huge opportunity here for employers to look at hiring hard workers and pay for the training themselves, rather than continually increase compensation.
- On the flipside, WSIB is reducing rates for trucking, so that should have a net benefit across municipalities, including MXC.
- There are various other articles of interested in the BRA report. You should check it out!
- Finally, London is introducing a 311 service. This notice serves to let residents know that calling 311 will likely direct you to the City of London’s phone line because of the way Bell’s phone exchanges work, however the 311 service will give you the opportunity to be redirected back to Middlesex Centre’s phone line if that occurs. Personally, I have 519-666-0190 on speed dial! ;)
We should hear a County Council update from Deputy Mayor DeViet from Middlesex County’s Council meeting on Nov 13, 2018 (today).
Also, Middlesex Centre is holding a public budget information session on Nov 19, 6pm – 9pm at the Komoka Community Centre. It will focus on the 2019 capital budget with some operations mixed in. I will be there, and hope to see you there too! You can RSVP on Facebook, or just show up. :)
And that does it! If you have any questions, please contact me so we can talk about them. Thanks for reading!