Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How should we spend your money in 2011?

Do you have a suggestion on how the Town should spend your money? What are some specific things that you think the Town should do or things that we should stop doing? How can we make Pelham a better place to live, work, grow, and play?

I am very proud that our new Council agreed to continue with the practice (started by the last Council) of inviting you and your neighbours and friends to get involved in the Town’s Budget.

Council began that process last week with a special public meeting where we listened to the public about any spending or Town issue. We referred the community’s input for consideration as staff prepares the budget for 2011.

Council first started this type of a “pre-budget consultation” in January 2007 for the 2007 Budget. In subsequent years, we had special meetings in late-October for the following budget year.

This year, we delayed the process slightly because of the October 25 Municipal Election.

However, I am very excited that we are undertaking this consultation process again. It is so important to hear directly from you about your needs, wants, and ideas. Our Town improves when more and more people become involved in its success!

Council recently adopted this budget schedule:
* Pre-Budget Consultation – beginning December 6, 2010;
* Draft Capital Budget Available to the Public – January 21, 2011;
* Draft Capital Budget Presented to Committee – January 24;
* Council Approve Capital Budget – February 7;
* Draft Operating, Water & Sewer Budgets to Committee – February 28;
* Council Approve Operating, Water & Sewer Budgets – March 7.

Now, I know that the date for the public meeting has passed. But, you can still take the opportunity to offer your suggestions on how to improve any of our Town’s many service areas: Fire Protection & Prevention, Building & By-law Enforcement, Animal Control, Roads & Sidewalks, Water & Sewers, Winter Control, Planning Services, Library Services, and Parks & Community Services.

It’s easy to do! Just simply send a letter via email to a special email address: You can also view background budget information at the Town’s website:

Not internet savvy? You can also provide written comments via normal mail c/o Town Clerk, Town of Pelham, 20 Pelham Town Square, P.O. Box 400, Fonthill, ON L0S 1E0.

I hope to hear from you and I look forward to discussing your ideas so that we can build a better future for our Town together.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Inaugural Address

Please find below my Inaugural Address that I gave last night at the Inauguration of your 2010-2014 Town of Pelham Council.

I am both humbled and honored to stand here again and continue my service as your Mayor for our Town of Pelham.

I personally congratulate each member of Council on your recent election.

I look forward to serving with you, and to working together with your ideas, your passions, your dreams, and your actions to improve our Town.

Ladies & gentlemen, the recent democratic process highlighted a real interest in the future of our Town.

You and your friends and neighbours are interested in workable solutions to the issues and challenges that face our community;

You have an optimism for the future of our Town;

And you want your Council to work together with you to continue to improve our Town.

As a result, your Council and I will concentrate on some key areas:

• We will manage your money wisely and tell you how your taxes are being spent;
• We will gather significant public input to decide on improvements for appropriate and affordable recreational and leisure facilities;
• We will work to ensure that new development fits well with our vision for a vibrant community with a small-town feel;
• We will act in partnership with businesses and residents to develop a cohesive vision for our entire community;
• We will continue to focus on building lively and viable downtowns and promote cultural and artistic activities;
• We will advance sustainable environmental practices;
• We will listen and keep you informed about things that matter to you;
• We will ensure that our infrastructure is well managed and maintained (and that includes finishing the roads already dug up);
• We will work with the hundreds of volunteers who preserve our neighbour-helping-neighbour character and who make our community a richer, more vibrant place to live, work, and grow;
• And, in general, we will serve you – as best we can – on each of the other issues both known and unknown that will affect you and your neighbours and friends.

Friends and neighbours, your Council is ready to act, ready to find workable solutions, and ready to serve in your best interests. You Council is ready to keep working together to build a better future for our Town – the Town that we each love and cherish.

Thank you, again, for your encouragement by being present here this evening and for showing your interest in the future of our Town.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's In A Chair?

Since a recent topic of discussion around kitchen tables, on radio call-in shows, and on the editorial pages has been about the election of the next Regional Chair, I wanted to provide you with a little context.

The members of the newly elected Regional Council will convene on Thursday, December 9 at 10:00 AM in the Regional Council Chamber. After the Regional Clerk administers the “Declaration of Office” for our 30 members, the first “order of business” will be the election of a Chair.

The election of the Chair will be a public process; the proceedings will be open to the public and Cogeco Cable will broadcast the live (tape-delayed) proceedings beginning at 11:00 AM.

In the first phase of the election, the Clerk will ask for nominations for qualified candidates; only Regional Councillors can “move” and “second” those nominations. Following nominations, each qualified candidate will have a chance to speak for five minutes (in alphabetical order).

Then, the Clerk will oversee the “run-off” election which will be similar to the process used in political leadership contests. For example, if after the first ballot, no one receives a majority of the votes – 16 – then the candidate with the least number will be removed and the vote on another ballot would occur. The voting continues until a candidate receives a majority.

While the Municipal Act does allow the election of any qualified elector from Niagara to be nominated and elected Chair, you may be interested to know that the precedence from the last six elections (since 1991) has been to nominate and elect a Chair only from the members of Regional Council.

What prompted this practice, you might ask?

Well, from 1972 to 1983, Council continued to re-elect John Campbell as Regional Chair; Mr. Campbell was first appointed by the Province to serve as Chair during the start of the Region in 1970. But, when Campbell retired, Regional Council elected a member of Council – Wilbert Dick – to serve as Chair in 1985. Interestingly, in 1988 Council re-elected Mr. Dick, even though he didn’t run for re-election as a Councillor.

However, the matter was clarified in 1990 as Council endorsed (and in 1991 re-affirmed) a recommendation in the report of the Niagara Region Review Commission that “Only regional councillors elected at the most recent election should be eligible for election as Regional Chair.”

Given the discussion in the community and the candidates who have already announced, it should be a very interesting election on December 9th.

By the way, I was recently on the Tom McConnell Show on 610 CKTB talking about the election of the Regional Chair. Click here to listen.