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

Living Safely With Coyotes

I am hearing from people that they have observed coyotes; and I have seen them too.   I have also heard questions as to what they should do.  Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) and Ministry of Natural Resources provide practical advice on living safely with wildlife, including coyotes.   I have provided links to their advice and I urge you to look at.  At minimum  it is important to not leave small pets out unattended and to ensure there is no food around to attract them.   Township Staff have organized with TWC for  workshops to be held in each of the 3 villages in April to review their programs including  their service to address injured or sick wildlife; and the agenda will include living safely with coyotes.

Toronto Wildlife Centre Workshops

Wednesday, April 1    7PM at King City Library

Tuesday, April 7         7 PM Nobleton Library

Tuesday, April 14          7 PM Schomberg Library

 

2015 Budget and Business Plan

The 2015 Budget and Business Plan is on the agenda for 1/26 Council.  I continue to believe that the proposed property tax increase which amounts to $79/yr on the average house in King (assessment of $614,000) is the right decision.  I am aware that very unfortunately, for a few people, this increase will be a hardship.  Clearly, if I did not believe that the proposed business plan (i.e. how the new money will be spent) was appropriate I would not support the tax increase. Or, if I thought that the work could be done without  hiring the new staff or purchasing the new asset I would not support it. As I reviewed with more detail in an earlier posting I support the recommended 3.99% property tax increase.

Question:  Why are tax increases are required when there is so much new development?

Answer:  The new development does provide a significant portion:  (70%) of the business plan is funded by our new assessment growth.  52% of the capital projects (i.e. buying new trucks, building playgrounds) is funded by Development Charges

But, its not enough.  We have a significant backlog of work which should have been done earlier.  Roads have not been repaired when they should have been and we can no longer delay. We have avoided hiring permanent staff and have managed with contract staff. The latter appears to save us money but there is lack of continuity which ultimately means loss in productivity.  We have understaffed some roles in Parks & Recreation and have missed opportunities to have paying customers for programs.

Here is the Staff report for the 1/26 Council meeting.

And here is the link to see the details of the budget and business plan. 

You are very welcome to come to Council and tell us your point of view.  And, of course, contact me directly or make a comment on my blog.

 

Supporting Seniors At Home

Walk For Wellnessis not only valuable as a fund raiser  for CHATS (Community and Housing Assistance to Seniors); it is an opportunity to gain a better appreciation impact of CHATS on the lives of Seniors.  In 2014 CHATS served 173 individual clients in King.  Services provided included support for the transition from hospital to home, meals on wheels, transportation for medical appointments, social sessions, assistance at home.

There are a couple ways to  support CHATS.  Registering yourself to participate in the February 8th and pay the $25 fee.  Or you can support my walk with a donation.

If you would like to support me but prefer to write a cheque please make it out to Walk For Wellness; mail it to me at Township Office, 2075 King Road, L7B 1A1.  Every $10 donation helps!

Tax receipts will be provided.

To learn more about CHATS and its services click here. 

Join me: Walk For CHATS

“Walk for Wellness,” the annual fundraising event for CHATS (Community & Housing Assistance for Seniors) is underway.  As I believe that CHATS provides valuable service to our senior citizens I am participating for the 4th time in this annual event.  The services CHATS provides can enable people to continue living with independence. Please consider supporting CHATS by one of two ways:  register and participate in the walk on February 8th; or support my walk by making a donation.

2015 is the 6th year for this event:  the spirit behind Walk for Wellness continues but there are some changes.

The actual  walk is focused on 2 hours (Sunday February 8th 8:30-10:30) AND it will be at Upper Canada Mall

There is a registration fee of $25 to cover the cost of the pedometers and other items given to participants.

There is a fund raising incentive: anyone who raised over $100, which includes the registration fee) will receive a Code4Armour wrist brand and a 3 month subscription.  This is a digital medical alert wrist band programmed with the information you have chosen to include; if the wearer of the wrist band has a medical emergency and York Region EMS is called for help they will be able to access that information by tapping their smart phone on the wrist band. To learn more click here.

And for those who come out and walk on February 4th there is a special opportunity:  you can meet Elvis Stojko, the 2015 Walk Hero.  As many know, Mr. Stojko is a Figure Skating Champion  with accomplishments including 3 time world champion, 2 time olympic silver medallist.

If you would like to support me but prefer to write a cheque please make it out to Walk For Wellness; mail it to me at Township Office, 2075 King Road, L7B 1A1.

Tax receipts will be provided.

To learn more about CHATS and its services click here

 

 

 

 

2015 Budget & Business Plan

The 2015 Budget and Business Plan is on the agenda for our January 26th Council meeting. I encourage you to review it and let me know if you are satisfied with the work plan and what is being proposed for a property tax increase.  King is going through a significant change; with the increased population and the expectations of the population, as a whole, for better services we cannot continue to operate the same way.  We have the benefit of our assessment growth (i.e. more people) which will pay for 70% of the proposed increased budget; the remainder is to be paid by an increase in property tax.  For an average property with an assessed value of $614,000, the increase is about $72.00/year.

I believe that the proposed budget is a reasonable, measured one. It is consistent with the various strategies developed and approved  in the last term of Council. It does not propose to address all identified gaps in service in (more…)

Maintaining our Gateways

On the Council agenda for 1/10 there is a long awaited report with recommendations how to appropriately manage gateway features into our subdivisions.  Good policy on these features is important as the absence of such will lead to either crumbling, unattractive gateway, fences etc. across the Township OR financial “bombs” in the future as the Council of the day deals with fixing gateways.  The report includes clear simple recommendations as to how we are going to deal with gateways and other structures proposed by developers in the future; simply put, developers will need to provide funds for future maintenance.  The report also recommends how to develop a specific plan for all the features already in place; very importantly, it includes a comprehensive, detailed inventory of the latter.

I brought forward to Council the need for this policy very early in last term.  I have been frustrated that it has taken so long; but now that I see the inventory I can appreciate why it has taken time.  Furthermore, it clearly was not the most important project for department which has been short on resources.

When I identified the need, the scope of my concern was very limited:  the gateways.  I did so because of the crumbling gateways at the two entrances to Kingscross Estate (i.e. on Keele and on Jane) and wishes expressed by the residents in the subdivision for repairs.  As reviewed in the report the need for a policy covers more than gateways; there are noise walls, structurally engineered retaining walls.  In addition to addressing the cost of maintenance, there is the need to ensure that Municipality can access the structures.

I am very pleased that the recommended solution is simply not to outlaw the more complex, expensive gateways (i.e. those with bricks and mortar and metals); rather it is one that is flexible in response to the design features proposed by the developer.  I am also satisfied that the recommendation identifies that funds provided for future maintenance will be indeed available as they will be put into a reserve fund.

A disadvantage to the length of time to reach this point is that the inventory is already out of date as rate payors association have already taken action to address some of the crumbling infrastructure.  As Staff develops a plan for dealing with the extant gateways this variation in circumstances will need to be addressed.

 

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