I receive a fair amount of correspondence from my constituents. I try to acknowledge all emails and letters promptly because your input is important. Many of these inquiries ask questions which may be of interest to many of you – and my response may also be of interest.
So , I will publish some of these questions along with my response. I will identify the letter writers by initials only and reserve the right to edit all material before publishing. Naturally, these examples will represent only a small segment of the mail I regularly receive.
I trust you will find this section of my website of interest and would remind you to direct all email correspondence to me at email@example.com
Good morning Councillor Smith,
Could you please provide an update regarding the Waste Management Inc’s Highway 48 Landfill site?
I have been driving by this landfill site and have observed the flurry of trucking activity and the mounds of fill the trucks have been depositing at this location.
Are there any reports you can provide that detail the type of waste they are depositing? Do they do onsite testing of the fill prior to the trucks dumping? Who gets copies of these reports? What kind of fill are they putting there? How much fill and how much longer will this be happening?
Being a resident of Musselman’s Lake, am I able to get copies of reports as outlined in this document from 2013?
As you can imagine, I am concerned about what is happening at this location considering the history of the dump and the contamination that happened there previously. Also, it would be a environmental disaster if this company was filling up this location like the debacle that has happened at Greenbank Airport in Scugog township.
If you can please provide any update to ease my concerns, I would appreciate it.
A concerned citizen,
Thank you for your note and reminder. I am finally getting back to you. Sorry for the delay.
As you indicated this site has a long history. Of course you know it was a provincially regulated dump site during the years prior to many of us even moving here. As part of the closing of the site the current owners (Waste Management Inc) are obligated by the province to continue to monitor and provide regular inspections for their records. Including results from the ground water monitoring wells.
As this is a provincial regulated site the Region and Town have no say over what happens here. But that is not to say, even though it is not even in my Ward, that I do not have a keen interest in what happens at this location.
One of the obligations of the owner was also to not allow ponding of water over specific areas of the site. Over the years as the garbage deteriorates it shrinks causing the surface to collapse as well. When this happens the province enforce the owners to “top-up” the site. That basically what has been happening over the recent months.
It is our (the town’s) understanding that the dirt fill being imported onto the site is tested prior to it being trucked there. However, since the province does not have to inform town staff we are at a disadvantage in that area.
What I can suggest if you want to follow up further on the location is that you contact your provincial representative, MPP Paul Calandra. He does have a local constancy office in Stouffville phone 905 642 2588. Or downtown at 416 326 6664.
Councillor Ward 2
What’s with the huuuugge raise for the mayor?
Good question and happy you asked. But there is a story and I admit up-front that I supported and promoted the mayor’s salary adjustment.
One of the criteria or ways to measure a justifiable salary for the mayor is to see how your local salary compares to other mayors in the Region with somewhat the same responsibility and qualifications. By all measures the current W-S mayor was under paid.
As one measure we took a look at the salary of the full-time positions in the Region. They ranged from a high of 3.10 times that of a part-time Councillors salary to a low of 1.48 times. The average of the N 9 municipal mayors was 2.10 times. Yes our mayor was the 1.48 times. Councillors were convinced to move his salary up to 2.00 times, still slightly below the average.
In my opinion we now have a very competent, educated, experienced, intelligent team-playing person as our mayor. In order to continue to attract such a person we must in my opinion, reward them with proper compensation.
As much as I admire and appreciate all of his attributes the question to me was how were we, the tax-payers, going to pay for this required $21,000. increase. The second part of this explanation is quite simple. As you may be aware each Councillor is allowed to spend at their discretion, a certain amount on items such as advertising, entertainment, special occasion acknowledgments, websites etc. (Historically the formula for a Councillor was annually $5,000. plus $2.00 per household). I approached each Councillor and asked for a commitment to reduce their budgeted discretionary expenses by an amount to off-set any increase I thought we should be making to the mayors salary.
Bottom line is I, along with each Councillor, all agreed to do just that. The discrepancy budget per Councillor for 2019 was agreed upon and reduced to $2,500. plus $0.60 per household, per Ward. When the mayor heard of my plan he agreed to likewise, reduce his own budgeted expenses by 1/3. These two changes (the wage increase and the total expense reduction) did have in fact a positive effect on the 2019 budget. Moreover it will be difficult to ever have this reduced amount increased over time.
I appreciate this is a long answer to your short question but my explanation is something the media seem reluctant to speak/report. Negative press is a frustrating part of the job. This mayor brings a whole new perspective to the game and is now being compensated accordingly. I am proud of my fellow Councillors for taking the stance they did.
Councillor Ward 2
Hello Mr. Smith,
Thanks for sharing this great news re the Ballantrae Fire station.. I think it is very important to have fire service 24/7.
I do have a question regarding the budget. I am wondering if there is anything in the budget for repairing Lakeshore Road. As I use this often, I have found that the road is deteriorating greatly. The pavement is heaving in places and there are numerous potholes. The road needs extensive repairs and I want to know if anything will be done this year?
Thank you for your email and question.
Unfortunately the first step in repairing Lakeshore Road is being done down at the lakeside. All the studies and testing have been completed on that section and construction will begin in 2019. The upper portion of this road, closer to 48, which I also travel regularly, and is in terrible shape is scheduled for a complete rebuild in 2020.
The pot holes should be filled in in the spring but as you realize that is just a temporary solution.
Councillor Ward 2