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BUDGET 2013: Transit Overhaul Needed

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment
If we are serious about reducing gridlock in Oakville, which is increasingly becoming a significant problem, we need to not only make transit more accessible, but also more affordable.A bus trip from one end of Oakville to the other averages around 1 hour in length.

Transit fares in Oakville have increased from $2.75 per ride in 2008 to $3.25 in 2012. An increase of .50 cents per ride or 18.2%.

If we are serious about reducing gridlock, we need to:

a) Increase the frequency of buses and extend their operating hours. Most buses only run until 10:25pm on weekdays and Saturdays and until 7:25pm on Sundays and Holidays. People using Oakville Transit after these times will likely face an increased travel time.

b) Decrease transit fares, or offer a discount for commuters who are leaving their vehicle at home.

What incentive is there for someone commuting to Toronto via the GO Train to leave their car at home and take the bus to the GO Station instead? Why would someone spend an extra 30min to an hour on a bus to get to the GO Station, when they can get in their car and be there in 5-10 minutes?

VOTE for the Town of Oakville to consider this issue during the 2013 Budget negotiations.

Categories: Budget, Election 2014

Councillor Mary Chapin Expenses 2010

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Councillor Chapin Expenses, 2010

Expense Description Expense Amount
FCM Conference- May 28-31 2010 $751.06
Corporate Merchandise $84.89
Interfaith Council of Halton- Breakfast $20.00
Community Spirit Award $30.00
Oakville Chamber of Commerce- Economic Update $25.00
Halton Industry Education $35.00
SNAP- Canada Day Ad $125.00
Breakfast with Mayor & COMAG Chair $26.56
Tim Hortons- COMAG Meeting $122.37
Lunch with COMAG Chair $35.43
Dinner DOSR Small Grp $51.92
Carousel of Nations- Ad $125.00
Oakville Chamber Chair’s Dinner $111.33
Oakville Chamber Breakfast $25.44
Oakville Chamber Luncheon $35.62
Lunch with Jane Clohency/Denise Baker re: Committee of Adjustment $67.40
TOTAL $1,672.02

Of the $3700  per year that Councillors are entitled to spend , Councillor Chapin spent $1672.02 or 45.2% of her total budget.

Categories: Budget, Council, Election 2014

Councillor Tom Adams Expenses 2010/2011

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Councillor Adams Expenses, 2010

Expense Description Expense Amount
Ideal Graphics- Letterhead  $              594.00
Metroland West Media Group- Drop-in Sessions Ward 6  $              420.14
Oakville Community Centre for Peace- Donation  $                25.00
Interfaith Council of Halton- Breakfast  $                20.00
International Womens Day  $                45.00
Parking  $                13.50
Mileage  $              629.11
Summer Bash for Literacy  $                20.00
Oakville Chamber Breakfast  $                25.44
Corporate Merchandise  $                34.10
TOTAL  $            1,826.29

Councillor Adams Expenses, 2011

Expense Description Expense Amount
Chinese New Year  $              100.00
Chamber of Commerce- Economic Outlook Breakfast  $                35.62
Chamber of Commerce- Breakfast Meeting  $                30.53
AMO Registration- Media Relations  $              356.16
Media Relations, Travel, Hotel, Per Diem  $              600.10
Mileage  $              312.03
Interfaith Council- Breakfast  $                20.00
SAVIS- Ad in Incredibowl  $                50.00
ServiceOakville- Merchandise  $                41.31
Oakville Arts Council  $                36.02
Canadians in Support of Afghan- Tickets  $                65.00
Oakville Community Centre for Peace- 20th Annual Earth Day  $                25.00
Chamber of Commerce- Annual Chairs Dinner  $              127.20
Oakville Prayer Breakfast  $                20.00
Mileage- July to November 2011   $             236.97
Mileage- November to December 2011  $                52.44
TOTAL  $            2,108.38

Of the $3700  per year that Councillors are entitled to spend ($7400 for 2010 and 2011), Councillor Adams spent $3934.67 or 53.2% of his total budget.

Categories: Budget, Council, Election 2014

Council request reports on Canada Geese and Emerald Ash Borer

August 17, 2012 Leave a comment

At the Oakville Town Council Meeting on August 13, Councillor’s requested three reports from town staff:

“That staff be requested to provide a report on the recently implemented “Active Transportation Facilities” along River Oaks Blvd. E including a review of the resultant parking prohibitions.”

“That staff be requested to undertake a review of Oakville’s Canada Geese Program, and investigate other potential control measures and options, including discussions with other municipalities and regulatory agencies to lessen the impact of Canada Geese on Oakville’s waterfront parks and report back by the end of the second quarter 2013. ”

“As a result of our current Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) treatment policy, a number of property owners are requesting that private property owners be offered a rebate if they treat their own ash trees. Staff be requested to prepare a report for the current budget committee with options to refund owners for treatment or prevention of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle.”

Councillor Gittings  motioned for an amendment asking staff to include a cost benefit analysis regarding treatment vs. removal and replanting of the tree.

A further request for report “has been suggested by Councillor Bird” Mayor Rob Burton stated, “that staff be directed to prepare a report regarding the options available to deal with licensing and regulating the tow truck industry in Oakville.”

Ward 4 Councillor Roger Lapworth and Allan Elgar seconded the request.

Categories: Budget, Council

Council votes to continue $105,000 election rebate program

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Mayor Rob Burton and Town Council voted unanimously to continue the $105,000 program.

Oakville Town Council voted on May 28 to continue the Campaign Contribution Rebate Program despite a report from the Town Clerk urging the discontinuation of the program.

The program, which cost the taxpayers of the Town of Oakville $105,606 in 2010, enables individuals who contribute to a candidate during a municipal election campaign to receive a 50% rebate for their contribution. The program was created prior to the 2003 Municipal Election on the recommendation of the Citizen’s Task Force. The original goals of the program were to encourage candidate participation, increase the proportion of individual contributions to candidate campaigns, and to increase the voter turnout in municipal elections in Oakville. Based on the Clerk’s report, none of these goals were actually met.

44 candidates put their names forward for election in 2003. This number remained the same in the 2010 election. Compared to the 2006 election, total candidate contributions decreased by $91,855 or 27.7%.

The Clerk’s report urged that the program be discontinued for the 2014 Municipal Election by stating that it could not “be concluded that the 2010 rebate program met the objectives established by the Citizens Task Force in 2003”.

The report also states that “the number of candidates participating in the municipal election process has not been impacted as per the goal of the program”.

Amongst other municipalities who offer this program which include Ajax, Toronto, Markham, Ottawa, Vaughan and Whitby, the Town of Oakville saw the greatest increase in rebates. For the 2010 Municipal Election, Oakville saw a 212% increase from 2006 in the amount of rebates paid. The City of Toronto ranked second with a 74% increase. The rest of the municipalities either had a decrease or were only offering this program for the first time in 2010.

Councillor Tom Adams voted in support of the program and expressed his view that “the program was more successful in issuing rebates than in 2006 and thereby supporting donations by residents to the electoral process”. However, the Clerk’s report states that the overall contributions for the 2010 Municipal Election decreased $91, 855 or 27.7%.

Amongst the Clerk’s recommendations for the program were to establish a requirement for an audited financial statement prior to the Town issuing a rebate. The Clerk stated that this requirement “ensures appropriate financial oversight of the allocation of tax base funds”.

A motion was made by Ward 2 Town Councillor Pam Damoff to adopt this measure, but Council ultimately decided against this requirement. Amongst the other municipalities who offer this program, all of them require an audited financial statement, with the exception of Ajax and Whitby.

Since contributors would be more likely to donate to the campaign of an existing member of Council, the continuation of this program supports the re-election of incumbent members of the Council of the Town of Oakville and does nothing to encourage the candidacy of potential Councillors.

Since the institution of the program, the Town of Oakville has paid $122,318 in rebates to contributors of municipal campaigns. 64% of that figure was paid during the 2010 Municipal Election. If the amount of rebates continue to rise at their current rate, the Town of Oakville will pay over $165,000 in rebates after the 2014 Municipal Election.