Regional government is getting a close look by the province; this may not end well for the tax payer.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 14th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Province of Ontario requesting input from Burlington residents and businesses to assist with review of regional government system

Map Region Halton

The Region is made up of four municipalities; they might get merged into a single city.

There is a potential change in the air that could impact Burlington significantly.

The province is doing a review of how some of the municipalities are organized.  Burlington, along with Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills is part of the Region of Halton.

The province is thinking about changing that kind of organization and perhaps doing away with the Regional level of government.

The regional review is examining Ontario’s eight regional governments (Durham, Halton, Muskoka District, Niagara, Oxford County, Peel, Waterloo, York), Simcoe County and their lower-tier municipalities. In total, 82 municipalities are included in the review.

The Province of Ontario is asking Burlington residents and businesses to provide their input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and the municipalities that are members of regional governments. Burlington is a local municipality within the regional government of Halton.

The public consultation is part of a review of regional governments announced by the Province of Ontario on Jan. 15, 2019. The review, led by two appointed Special Advisors, Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling, is focused on ensuring regional governments are working efficiently and effectively. Once the review is completed, the Special Advisors will provide recommendations to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery.

The public is invited to share their views on the regional government system in two ways:

Online – complete an online survey.  CLICK HERE

Send written submissions by email to regionalreview@ontario.ca or by mail to Local Government Policy Branch, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 777 Bay St, 13th floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E5

All feedback is due by April 23, 2019.

There is little doubt on where Mayor Meed Ward stands on this issue.

“The City of Burlington is always happy to look for efficiencies within our government system but amalgamating our municipalities into a City of Halton is a non-starter.

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Meed Ward.

“Burlington is already an efficient council: the smallest of Halton Region at seven members, and the smallest of any Ontario municipality of our size. The Region is also efficient and effective; we enjoy being the safest region in Canada, a Triple A credit rating, high satisfaction on our services, and tax increases at or below the rate of inflation, with a number of years of no increases.

“Similar to the one passed at Regional Council, Burlington City Council passed a resolution – unanimously – to protect Burlington’s identity and two-tiered municipal government system. With Council being unanimous once again in its stance and passing of this resolution, it sends a strong message as to where Burlington is on this matter.”

The municipalities can protest as much as they like, Premier Doug Ford had no problem changing the makeup of Toronto city council – he forced changes on that city in the middle of an election.

It is now evident that once Ford makes up his mind he bulldozes – and that may well mean that the Region of  Halton will be a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

The immediate impact will be a significant pay cut for the members of Council.  For the six Burlington council members that will amount to very close to half of their income.

There will also be some disruption in the delivery of services:  Policing is a Regional matter, Education is a Regional matter – does that mean that fire services will become Regional; will Transit become Regional?

Social services are managed at the Regional level.

Affordable housing is managed at the Regional level.

Should the province decide to eliminate the Regional level of government it will take years to complete any reorganization and the cost of governing will rise.

 

 

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3 comments to Regional government is getting a close look by the province; this may not end well for the tax payer.

  • Jim Ridley

    Jack notes that after amalgamation into Hamilton, his taxes increased much faster than prior to amalgamation. So where are the savings from having fewer fire and transit departments etc. If removing the municipal layer increases costs, then why bother?

  • Jack

    Seems like to me the writer of this article has it wrong and that it’s the municipalities that will disappear and amalgamate into a renamed Halton Region as the City of Halton. This is what happened in Hamilton and Toronto. When Hamilton was wrongly amalgamated, the City of Stoney Creek lost it’s city status and it’s mayor and Hamilton/Wentworth absorbed all of the municipalities incuding Dundas and Ancaster and was renamed City of Hamilton. The only result I saw as a taxpayer was my property taxes go higher and higher every year at a much faster rate than they had before. Doug’s comment before me has it right, each municipality doesn’t need its own services like Fire or Transit when all 4 can be handled under one larger one (i.e. Halton Region).

  • doug

    Why don’t the four municipal council discuss the short falls in present systems and be proactive, if they did maybe there would not be talk of major changes.

    During election all councillors said transit issue are if you are trying to go from Burlington to Milton or Oakville. Why 4 transit systems, should be able to travel from Mississauga border to Hamilton border or Lake Ontario to Acton on 1 or 2 busses, seamlessly.

    Why do we need 4 fire chiefs and 4 times of everything fire related, if I need fire service it should not matter what side of the dividing line I’m on, closest to me should be the qualifier, not the Town/City I live in. Fire wanted a drone in this budget, if a drone helps why not one for for all four to share, I’m sure it is not used daily, how many multi thousand dollar command centers do fire need, the list goes on and on. The four areas are not hundreds miles or hours apart.

    The police and ambulance work well as one under Regional Gov. why not fire and transit, efficiencies would be recognized immediately.

    I’m sure there are many other internal systems that could be Regionalize, we have to change the attitude and protectionism within our own City/Towns. Industry leaders changed their attitude towards amalgamating services many years ago, time for politicians to change theirs.

    The money pit does have a bottom and we are at it.

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