Hello Ward 5!

Councillor Debbie Schaefer
Hello Ward 5 residents & businesses and the rest of King Township,

I am thrilled to continue as Councillor for Ward 5 in this ever so beautiful King Township!  I appreciate so much the trust that voters have expressed by voting for me.  I will work hard and creatively to serve the community for this next term of Council.

As I campaigned I not only had the opportunity to tell people about myself and what I wanted to accomplish, I also heard from residents about the issues and how they see them.  Top issue expressed is traffic (speed and volume) and parking.  A close second one is development, both subdivision development and development within the traditional/older subdivisions.  In King City, inadequate amenities were often flagged; this particularly frustrates some since new subdivisions have been built.   I heard from our rural businesses and homeowners that they need a significant improvement in broadband capability.  I also heard about substandard roads and sidewalks.

I heard clear confirmation that people expect and want our natural heritage to be protected.  I also heard relief that I stand for not changing the boundaries of King City and not increasing the population cap of 12,500 for King City.

Hearing all this only increased my desire to serve on Council for this term.  The Council of 2010-14 initiated and approved many strategies which address these issues.  We have some big challenges; but we have identified where we want to get to and how we are going to do so.

Debbie Schaefer

Street Lamps: LED Retrofit

Good to see the Staff report covering the conversion of street lamps across the Township to LED. As reviewed the program represents opportunity to annual cost savings in hydro costs; plus, an ongoing operating/maintenance program which will enable better responsiveness to address issues.  As reviewed the project is based on a contract with Amaresco who has executed comparable program with other municipalities.

I do have a couple questions and comments.

  • Essentially the “base” plan is to replace/upgrade whatever exists today in terms of lighting. i.e. As indicated there are roads with less lighting than what is desired; this program does not address this.
  • What is the decision process for adding light fixtures? Not everyone has common desire for amount of lighting.
  • Confirm that all lights are “dark sky.”
  • Finally, I do want to go and look at current lighting fixtures on a couple Ward 5 streets to understand choices being made re: specific forecast.

Committee Of Adjustment: Review by Planning

Planning Department is proposing to engage more routinely in the Committee of Adjustment (CofA) process.  The latter is the process whereby property owners request “minor variances,” in addition to consent/severance applications.  To date Planning Staff do provide advice on the latter to the Committee but do not for the former.  For reasons identified in the report I believe their plan to provide advice for minor variances is very welcomed.  But, I do wonder about the effort to do so and if it is feasible within current budget.   Here is report.  

As indicated, the ultimate decision on minor variance still rests with the Committee.

Bee City Resolution

I am supportive of recommendation that King Township apply for designation as a Bee City The conservation of pollinators is critical to the sustainability of King’s natural areas,
farmland, homes, parks and urban areas.  Designation as a Bee City will demonstrate the Township’s commitment towards being a leader in sustainability. As reviewed we have many
initiatives already in place; and designation will enhance our ability to further engage residents in pollinator enhancement and protection. Designation will enhance understanding about the vital role that pollinators play and what each of us can do to sustain them.

Small Property Tax Policy Change: vacant units

There is a Staff report recommending elimination of the vacant unit rate rebate program.  As indicated the decision itself has little material impact because it has not been used significantly.  But, the process for reaching this position is very appropriate:  engagement with community and collaboration with other YR municipalities.

Municipal Contribution Rebate Program – 2018 Municipal Election

There is important Staff report on 10/16 Council agenda about funding options for those interested in running in the 2018 election. A source of funding for those interested to run for election in Municipal Councils in Ontario was eliminated in 2016: donations from corporations and unions are no longer acceptable. This was done to reduce outside influence that is often centered on private interest and not on public interest; it is not perfect by any means but to my mind it is a valuable change. Campaigns may only be financed by donations from individuals, fundraising events and self-financed candidates.

Funding for municipal candidates is different than that for provincial or federal; for both, of latter rebates are given via income tax credits. The Province did not implement same for municipal elections when they introduced the ban on corporate and union donations in 2016.

I believe the municipality needs to step in and address this gap. As indicated in the report the only source of funding for this Rebate Program is municipal taxes. (more…)

Builder for Project Move

At Council on Wednesday, Aug. 9 there is staff report recommending the contractor to build the new municipal offices and community facility.  There is report recommending a contractor to build it.  As reported the bid for the project including 2 additional options totals $13,078,450 is within the budget.  I think the two additional options of a wood athletic floor in the gym and a curtain divider in the gym are worthwhile additions in value for the community.  Both could be done at later but would cost considerably more that the $42,450 cost for including in the construction. I believe good value will be delivered with this project.  Having said that I do have a couple questions about a couple of the design choices we have made and want to review the wisdom of those choices.

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