Steve’s Mayoral Newsletter: January 2014

Steve’s Mayoral Newsletter: January 2014

Happy New Year!

 

I wish you all a health, happiness and prosperity in 2014!

 

Today, I officially declared my candidacy for re-election in the upcoming municipal election on October 27, 2104. These past 3 years have been extremely rewarding; I truly value the trust that you bestowed on me.

 

In 2010, I laid out the 4 immediate priorities that had to be addressed during my first term of office. These 4 priorities have provided the focus for the past three years and, with my strong leadership we have been able to accomplish even more that I could have hoped. We are listening to our residents and stakeholders while setting the bench mark for great governance. Never before have we had long term strategic plans to address all essential aspects of our municipality and that are based on resident and stakeholder input, best practices in municipal governance and financial responsibility.

 

  1. CREATE & Implement a Strong Economic Development Plan

   We must partner with and help our existing businesses

After developing the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan in 2012 it is now the primary reference point for our decisions. The Plan speaks to key initiatives that need to be undertaken to protect our rural municipality in many different aspects. To that end we have completed:

 

  • The first ever Economic Development Strategy
  • The first ever Business Retention + Expansion Program
  • An update of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan
  • A Museum Strategic Business Plan
  • A King Township Public Library Strategic Plan
  • A Green Sustainability Checklist
  • Community and Street Beautification Efforts

 

We also have underway:

  • A Transportation Master Plan Study
  • A Development Charges Background Study
  • A Housing and Residential Intensification Study
  • An Official Plan Review

 

In preparation for the 2015 PanAm Games, I am also pleased that King joined the Headwaters Horse Country initiative through a three year partnership with the Hills of Headwater Tourism Association and municipal partners of Caledon, Erin and Dufferin County, in the pursuit of becoming a Centre of Excellence for all things Equine within the Province of Ontario and in Canada.

 

When I came into office in 2010, one of my key objectives was to ensure the long term sustainability of our Municipality and I am proud to say that all of these initiatives are getting us there; after all, this is what guides Council decisions and our Township.

 

  1. COMPLETE a Full Review of Township Priorities and Spending

       We must improve our financial situation

Our financial sustainability was also a very real concern in 2010. At that time, our reserves were just over $12m for the entire Township. As of the end of 2013 we have over $37m in reserves. These reserves are the way that we will be able to adequately fund our infrastructure expenses now and in the future. We are steadily paying down debt and are in a much more secure financial position due to the fiscally responsible manner in which the Township staff and Council operates.

 

I am extremely proud to announce that for the past 2 years we have won the National Award of Excellence for Government Budgeting Process. We have also developed a reserve strategy, and formed partnerships with the Northern 6 (Aurora, Newmarket, Stouffville, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and King) which have resulted in substantial cost savings because we can achieve economies of scale when we procure such things as garbage collection, insurance, audit services and the like. And, with cost containment measures in the Township we had a surplus of approximately $500,000 (2011) and $1.6 million for (2012).

 

  1. ENHANCE Communications – Make YOU the Customer

        We must initiate Town Hall Meetings to gather community input

I proudly announced the launch of what I believe to be the best municipal website www.king.ca and this site will only get better with the upcoming launch of apps such as our waste collection app. I also continue to conduct “Meet the Mayor” nights throughout the Township as an informal way to connect and gather community input. Every home and business has received the King Business Directory which is a collaborative initiative between the Chamber and the Township to provide pertinent information regarding businesses and services.

 

  1. REBUILD Trust With Business, Residents, and all Partners

We must develop a reputation for reliability, transparency and integrity

In the past 3 years we have had the opportunity to recruit and/or promote many experienced and top quality senior staff members as a result of retirements and attrition. We have a new Chief Administrative Officer, a new Township Clerk, a new Fire Chief, a new Chief Librarian and a new Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture. Each of these individuals brings knowledge, passion and a true sense of public responsibility to their position. I am very proud of our entire Township team. Another key objective was developing strong relationships with the other levels of government and accessing the various funding available from each one. In 2013 we received $3,517,625 in grants ranging from bridge replacement at $1,849,631 to a Museum grant of $13,500. Since 2010 King Township has received just over $27m in grants.

 

I am proud to say that our Council is the envy of York Region (and perhaps the GTA) because of the professional way in which it conducts itself. Council members and Township staff address all issues in a thoughtful, respectful manner and bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to every decision that is made. For this, I thank all Council members and the Township staff!

 

We must continue on this thoughtful, planned course; we have developed a strong roadmap for our Township and I am excited to continue with its implementation. I would be honoured and privileged to remain at the helm for another term as mayor.

Steve