Curious Midlander Volume 10: Municipal elections are over and the real work can now begin. Congratulations to everyone who was elected to a Council position, you have gained the public trust and confidence and now have to be a responsible municipal politician who will help create an open, transparent and accountable municipal government. A big thank you to those individuals who were not successful in these elections as you have been part of our democratic process. The biggest disappointment was the voter turnout in Midland where only 35.7% of taxpayers cast their vote. Voting in municipal elections has never been easier and more convenient so the 64.3% of you who did not bother to exercise your democratic privilege, shame on you, you now have no right to complain about your municipal government since you did not participate in the process.
How will the newly elected Midland Council govern and what issues will they be faced with? We hope Council will come together and truly work as a team for the benefit of the majority, not just listen to a vocal minority special interest group. Dissent and debate are all good for our democratic process however your decisions will be closely monitored over the next four years. You can track this Council’s progress (or lack thereof) by making your own scorecard on the following issues:
- Midland Bay Landing development;
- King Street project;
- the number of new staff hires (and the number of current staff who are terminated for no apparent reason);
- the level of staff morale;
- Council’s new strategic plan;
- the revised Community Grant Program;
- FCM’s Partners for Climate Protection Program;
- Ransomware incident;
- future of the Huronia Airport;
- Library Board accountability;
- Community Safety Task Force report;
- new Procedural By Law;
- the Policing lawsuit mess;
- Service Delivery review implementation;
- the new Community Engagement strategy;
- Parks and Trails Master Plan;
- Strategic Real Estate assets;
- future development;
- Official Plan review;
- Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe;
- CAO contract;
- Cruise Ship Industry study and report and numerous others that will appear over the next four years.
Many of these issues remain unresolved from the previous Council however it will be the responsibility of the newly elected Council to handle these issues.
Do you realize your municipal tax dollars include payments to the County of Simcoe and Boards of Education to fund their various programs and services? In fact, your municipal tax dollars allocated to direct Midland services are less than 50% of the tax dollars that you pay so it stands to reason that you should pay close attention to how the County and Boards of Education spend these tax dollars.
The Curious Midlander hopes that all Municipal Councils will be open, transparent and accountable to their taxpayers. You have a daunting task ahead of you over the next four years with many issues and challenges that are not due to your actions (but they will be your responsibility). Remember your job is to govern and set policy, not to get into “the weeds”.