Sponsorship or grant, council made the right decision by not immediately approving a request to financially support a new Elgin Business Resource Centre and St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce awards event.
We dwelt on this last week and our municipal officials hashed it around Monday before turning thumbs down on the $5,000 call for support from chamber president Bob Hammersley, who wanted the process fast-tracked.
This is one more reason why the city should follow the lead of Elgin county council and put the hammer down on all new grant requests.
Ratepayers should not be on the hook to support various causes and events cherry-picked by council for consideration.
A public information session will be held Wednesday at the Timken Centre to unveil plans for the three potential sites for the city’s new skate park.
However, a T-J reader writes to urge one of those locations be struck from the list. Specifically, Jonas Park, which has been promoted as a skatepark venue dating back to 2003.
It is being touted along with the yet-to-be conceived Joanne Brooks Memorial Park on Inkerman Street and the Timken Centre.
Jim Collard has been a resident for more than 40 years in the Ross and Wellington street part of town that encompasses Jonas, Lydia, Verna and Barnes streets and he and his neighbours contend this quiet residential area of St. Thomas is no place to plonk down a skateboard park.
Budget deliberations are a critical indicator of the direction city council will follow in the coming fiscal year and the sometimes quirky priorities of our municipal representatives.
After a warm-up session Thursday, council will get down to brass tacks on Monday as they tackle Part 1 of the 2012 capital budget.
Members are being asked to approved expenditures of just over $8 million, of which $2 million will be sourced through the 2012 property tax levy, the same as 2011.
In total, the requests for capital in 2012 total $22.4 million, requiring property tax supported funding of $9.5 million.
A press release from the Chamber of Commerce created an instant stir on the Times-Journal Facebook page after it was posted late Thursday afternoon.
The advisory, from the pen of Chamber CEO Bob Hammersley, “No New Year’s Bus Service?” suggested “there will likely be no free New Year’s Eve bus service in St. Thomas this year.”
A service underwritten by MADD Canada’s St. Thomas-Elgin Chapter for the past four years.
Was this confirmed with Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman or staff at city hall, or was Hammersley jumping to conclusions?
Mid-week, Ostojic announced he would love to represent the city at Queen’s Park and has entered the fray to become the Progressive Conservative candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London in this fall’s provincial vote.
It’s a crowded field — when announcing his intention, there were six other hopefuls. That’s down to five now that Bill Fehr left in a huff, mortified that former MPP Peter North has the temerity to ask for the confidence of riding constituents in a bid to resurrect his political career.
Not one to pass on the opportunity to gain political traction, Ostojic dropped City Scope a line to pick up on where Bob McCaig left off last week in his call to action for the community to financially support St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital. Read here
To recap, civic booster McCaig checked in to advise, “I am far more concerned about the long-term damage being done to our hospital by city council’s failure to make any contribution to the hospital’s capital fund, as was promised under the mayoralty of Peter Ostojic.”
Mark Dec. 13 on the calendar, because it should trigger the process that will witness the return of a CAO to city hall.
The position has been vacant since 2004, when council determined Roy Main just didn’t fit into the city’s plans.
City clerk Wendell Graves would sure fit the bill now, however.
In a chat this week with Times-Journal reporter Kyle Rea, incoming mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman said she fully expected a notice of motion would come forward on that date to initiate debate on a CAO.
One of the more acidic municipal election campaigns in recent memory took barely an hour to resolve once the polls closed Monday evening. Emerging as the popular winner was a jubilant Heather Jackson-Chapman who, by clinching the mayoral race, out-distanced what can only be referred to as the old boys club – Cliff Barwick seeking re-election and Al Riddell eager to launch a political career that never got off the ground.
The 2010 St. Thomas municipal vote can best be characterized as the “dump-Barwick-at-any-cost” campaign and it succeeded – however his fate was sealed nearly two months ago. More on that shortly.
For Heather, the early days in office will be a severe test of her mettle, beginning with the appointment of a finance chairman, normally filled by the top polling alderman, in this case Lori Baldwin-Sands, another winner, albeit a surprise to many. Lori’s strength is social services and she may choose to stay that course. If so, Heather will be under pressure from several quarters to fill one of the most important chairman positions at city hall.
The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce has completed a pre-election survey of area businesses to list and rank priorities as seen by local employers and employees.
Of 26 topics and issues measured, harmony and co-operation among all local governments is the top issue. On an importance scale of 1 to 10, survey participants ranked harmony and co-operation with an average score of 8.93.
Rounding out The Top 10 issues:
2. Value for taxes 8.86
3. Having a visible “Vision” statement prioritizing short-term & long-term projects 8.36
4. Increasing local focus or resources on economic development 8.33
5. Downtown or commercial area(s) quality and development 8.06
6. Local buying/sourcing of products & services 8.00
7. Roads, water services, sewers and sidewalks 7.96
8. Waste management, collection & recycling 7.77
9. “Customer Service” by municipal staff 7.77
10. Municipal debt load 7.71