Questions from ST. EDMUNDS PROPERTY OWNERS INCORPORATED
September 11, 2014.
QUESTIONNAIRE to Tom Boyle, candidate for Councillor
The public is only aware of the proposed budget one month before Council sets the budget, and thus tax rate. How would you change this time line?
What would you do to allow the public more input into setting the budget?
The public is aware of the proposed municipal budget at the same time that is it presented to the Council. The process of approval usually takes about four or five weeks and is usually presented again at two or more additional publicized special meetings with document edits based on consideration of public and Council comments and motions. The draft budget for a fiscal year which begins on January 1 is a complete document that compares actuals from previous years and necessarily includes projected operational revenue and expense. Included are the anticipated costs of all recommended capital items and an accounting of capital reserves. Late additions added to the consideration can be the policing request and letters requesting funding from community groups.
The public should be encouraged to communicate their specific needs and desires to Staff and Council throughout the year or at least early on in the budget drafting process. The policing costs should be known in a more timely manner. Preliminary long term forecasts of capital expenses/projects could be presented prior to the annual draft budget presentation. This could also be done with a consideration of reserve funds in the context of future needs and expectations. For the 2015 budget the new Council will need to review these capital numbers with consideration given to the Asset Management Report and the new Road Needs Study. All the more reason to get started as soon as possible.
As a member of council, how would you deal with the proposed zoning bylaw which has been deferred?
New and improved techniques should be applied to update the mapping of key natural heritage features and key hydrological features. This process should include no less than two public meetings after a well thought out process of information exchange which engage stakeholder groups and agencies. It is in everyone's interest to be aware of the process and so no one should be excluded and no features missed the mapping process should be done over four seasons. Hazard designations should be better described and formally evaluated if necessary. Only after this process is complete should the proscribed process for bylaw amendment take place.
See... www.brucepeninsula.ca .... for other notes on planning issues.
Currently, much of the municipality is a tourist based economy with viability for only a few months of the year. Do you see a need to broaden the economic base for the municipality to provide jobs for 3 or 4 seasons? If not, why not?
Like many rural municipalities Northern Bruce Peninsula has a mix of agricultural, resource and service based economic activity. The local tool and fabrication industry has generated good skilled trade related employment. Our building trades are good with fairly steady construction activity. Unlike many rural municipalities there also exists the bonus of a special geography and ecology which has produce an excellent tourism economy. The length of the season is determined largely by the weather and the occurance of special events which cause seasonal people to stay here longer.
The Municipality is probably producing enough jobs or at least all that it can reasonably afford.and should not be relied on to be the principal driver of employment for the community.
If yes, what would you propose?
The primary role of the local municipality is to assure that the infrastructure exists in such a condition that does not hinder economic development. Good roads, good drainage and well maintained facilities are attractive to quality development and production.
The municipality should clearly identify future options for water and waste water treatment and embed it into community planning. This infrastructure can be innovative and suited to the local environment.
Advanced communication technology is vital to the health of the community and is to be fostered in everyway possible. see.... www.brucepeninsula.ca ....for more information
The activities of the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association and the Sources of Knowledge Forum program have offered programs and events that have the potential to expand into institutions based on knowledge and research. These opportunities can be similar to coastal institutes in the US or take a novel course. These organizations are now providing much community benefit along with full time employment. Municipal government should continue to support the knowledge economy and environmental programs.
Of course the Municipality has to support locally available primary and secondary education along with quality health care options.
The school board may face three options for schooling on the peninsula: Close St Edmunds Public School, close Bruce Peninsula District High School and build a new elementary school in Lion’s Head. As an elected member of MNBP, what is your position on keeping an elementary school open in Tobermory?
There should be a united voice for the entire community which supports locally available education equal to or better than the status quo.
Currently the medical office in Tobermory is simply doctors’ offices. What would you do as a member of council to promote its use as a walk-in clinic for health services?
The municipality should support any activity that leads to better health care for the community. Patient demand should be the driver for best practices in the provisioning of this service by health care professionals.