Lafontaine Area Shoreline Homeowners Association Addresses Tiny Twp Budget Increase
Just found out about OurMidland.ca and read your posting on the OPP and the cost increases in Tiny. The attached letter to council was submitted to the local press but only the Springwater News elected to publish it. No response from Tiny council other than a 3% tax increase. Also attached is a press release (below) about our new association.
Chuck Stradling, President
Lafontaine Area Shoreline Homeowners Association
Letter To Tiny Township Council
Date: Thursday 21st January 2016
To: Mayor and Members of Council
Subject: Township of Tiny 2016 Budget Position
My name is Chuck Stradling, a full time resident of Tiny Township and the founding President of the Lafontaine Area Shoreline Homeowners Association (LASHA). This association was recently formed to provide a unified voice for the approximately 2,000 residents living in the designated shoreline area between Trillium Lane to the south and the 18th Concession to the north. This was the only shoreline area in Tiny that was not previously served by a homeowners association. We would respectfully submit the following comments with respect to the ongoing budget discussions and would request our comments be read into the minutes at the next full meeting of Council. I would first point out that LASHA members fully supported all of the currently elected Council members and are extremely pleased with the manner in which council has managed the township throughout their first full year in office. The efforts of this Council to encourage community involvement and improve communications is certainly laudable and we all hope this will continue. I did attend the committee of the whole meeting on January 18th which was the 4th such budget discussion meeting and where we assumed a final tax rate would be established.
After a lengthy discussion on strategic plan project funding, the discussion came around to the tax increase level and how the deficit would be funded. After a number of iterations ranging from 2-4%, it was decide that 3% was a number everyone was comfortable with. The deficit would be covered by reserves and limited to capital expenditures. I did review all of the lengthy budget documents distributed and believe that staff does an extraordinary job managing revenues/expenses and the reporting thereof.
We certainly do not believe it is the responsibility of the public to scrutinize such report details, since that is the job of council. As taxpayers our interests lie in the decision making process and put forward the following observations and comments. The first comment is regarding the cost of living increase. The cost of living increase for most Ontario pensioners in 2016 is 1.3% based on Ontario Teachers and Ontario Pension Board figures. With salaries & wages for council & staff totalling over $5.2 M., it is the largest line item in the Township budget. We are somewhat confused as to why the cost of living increase applied to salary & wages for Council and staff in 2016 should be greater than that of pensioners. Discussion also took place regarding the lease or purchase of heavy equipment.
As noted by the Treasurer, the decision to capitalize these purchases would not only save considerably to ongoing costs, but it would eliminate almost $148 K. from the operating budget. Policing costs are certainly a big hit to the budget and realize we are probably tied into another long term contract. As I understand it, there is a $1.1 Million increase in policing costs that is being phased in over 3 years starting January 1st 2015 at a rate of 40%, 40% and 20%. Again, policing costs are not something you have control over since there is currently no competition or bargaining position with the OPP.
Perhaps, rather than looking at ways to eliminate the Midland police, we should join with our neighbours to create a unified North Simcoe Municipal Police force that is more cost effective, receptive and reactive to our community needs.
Lafontaine Area Shoreline Homeowners Association One of the items that should be considered is the potential for cooperation between neighbouring municipalities. Perhaps, rather than looking at ways to eliminate the Midland police, we should join with our neighbours to create a unified North Simcoe Municipal Police force that is more cost effective, receptive and reactive to our community needs. This obviously cannot be accomplished based on current contractual obligations, but it is certainly an area that needs to be addressed prior to the signing of any future contracts with the OPP.
Given the current economic climate, with falling oil prices and increased costs due to the devaluation of our dollar, the Federal government will be forced to reintroduce major infrastructure funding projects over the next few years. Many of the Townships projects currently in limbo could be accelerated including the replacement of the municipal offices.(Also discussed at the meeting) This would be a perfect infrastructure grant opportunity, constructing a new facility next to the existing and possibly including a library. But you need to be in a position to jump on these things quickly. The commitment to move forward with the Lafontaine Beach Park upgrades this year was certainly good news for LASHA members and we look forward to providing community input.
We certainly do not envy the position of Councillors and the decision facing them, but believe they truly want to make the right decision for the citizens of Tiny. Speaking on behalf of LASHA members, we believe that the rise in tax rates should not exceed the 2.0 % tax increase applied in 2015 and which was the initial target put forward by councillors Hinton & Wishart. We believe that the extra 1% can be raised through the capitalization of heavy equipment and staff and council being prepared to accept a 1.3% cost of living adjustment as opposed to 1.7%.
Although this alone will not affect the gap significantly, it will send a clear message to the community that council empathizes with the current economic hardships they face.
Chuck Stradling, President
Lafontaine Area Shoreline Homeowners Association
Lafontaine Shoreline Homeowners Association (LASHA) Announces Formation Giving Property Owners Voice In Community – Board Of Directors Appointed To Represent – 1,185 Lafontaine Area Beachfront and Backlot Residents
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tiny Township, ON:
The Board of Directors of the Lafontaine Area Shoreline Homeowners Association (LASHA) is pleased to announce the formation of its newly established not-for-profit organization. LASHA will encompass approximately 185 beachfront properties and 1,000 backlot properties in the Lafontaine shoreline area, between Trillium Lane and Concession 18.
“LASHA’s objectives are aligned with those of Tiny Township’s Strategic Plan, which was recently approved by council, said Chuck Stradling, President of LASHA. We look forward to ongoing, active participation in Town Hall Meetings and facilitating the input of LASHA members, serving as a conduit between the community and government.”
• Provide a unified, influential voice and community advocacy for 1,185 Tiny Beaches homeowners with beachfront and backlot properties in Lafontaine (between Trillium Lane and Concession 18)
• Oversee and address matters related to the safety, security, protection and preservation of the community and environment, including the rights of residents
• Promote a strong sense of community
• Provide a community communications network
• Monitor local legislative issues and facilitate a forum for discussion
• Interface with government officials on matters impacting the community and LASHA members
• Provide true value to LASHA members
• Lafontaine Beach Park
• Beach Parking
• Tiny Township Strategic Plan
• Septic Tank Sludge
• Water Quality
• Road Maintenance
• New Water Lines
• Leaf Burning
• Beachfront Property Trespassing
• Off-Leash Dogs
• Children’s Playgrounds
• Speed Limit Signs/Enforcement
• Have a voice, advocate and influence
• Political and tax dollar watch-dogs
• Regular communications/community updates
• Periodic member surveys
• LASHA website access
• Participation in Neighbourhood Watch program
• Involvement in community events
• Promotion of local home based businesses
• Discounts from local merchants LASHA is governed by an elected Board of Directors representing full-time and seasonal beachfront and backlot property owners.
President: Chuck Stradling
Chair: Tracy Wilson
Vice Chair: Carol Burton
Secretary Treasurer: Jim Berneche
Directors: Annette Mucciacito, Debra Stuart, Paul Nix, HalynaRegenbogen
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
LASHA President Chuck Stradling,