We are pleased to provide you with the following information.
Economic Development: As previously reported, our municipality, together with Kearney, Perry and McMurrich/Monteith, was successful in obtaining a provincial grant towards the hiring of a Community Development Officer Intern. In January Courtney Rizzo began her work with us and is currently focussed on the regional Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) project. Every business in our municipality is welcomed and encouraged to participate in this program at no cost. Your input will help identify the needs and challenges faced in retaining and growing the business sector in the specific municipalities and the region. This is a unique opportunity to communicate to both your municipal and provincial governments. Please take the time to meet with Courtney. Meetings are held at your convenience and at your location. She may be contacted at Courtney.firstname.lastname@example.org or (705) 349-8995.
Administration: We are pleased to welcome Andrew Farnsworth to our team as Clerk- Administrator for the municipality. Andrew is the senior administrative person and will become familiar to many residents as they interact with the offices. Andrew may be reached at email@example.com or (705) 387-3947.
Finance: At this time of year our departments are engaged in developing annual budgets. Capital budgets, those focused on large tangible expenditures, are challenging as the municipal infrastructure requires significant investment in roads, bridges and culverts while equipment must be continually replaced. For example, the cost to renew/rehabilitate Ahmic Lake Road East and West and the Nipissing Road South is estimated at $1.6 million while a new truck/snowplow unit is expected to cost $275,000. There is much talk regarding federal funds being made available to spur the Canadian economy however it is believed these will be targeted at those projects that will generate economic growth in specific areas and focus on major safety risks. Therefore funds for road maintenance for example may not be as forthcoming as hoped. At the same time non-capital expenditures are significant and continue to increase. An example is our OPP cost which will increase in 2016 by $48.50 per property in Magnetawan, resulting in a monthly municipal bill of approximately $30,000. This follows a similar increase last year. Other examples include the Social Services levy
which is in excess of $300,000 per year and the municipality’s annual assessment
for ambulance services of over $150,000. And finally, as we all think of taxes at
this time of year, MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation)
will shortly be distributing their revised property value assessments for
2016. This will be used to calculate property taxes for 2017 – 2020.
Volunteering: The municipality depends extensively on the selfless work by those in the community who act as volunteers in delivering many of the events and services we enjoy. There is a current need for members to sit on the Recreation Committee and the Heritage Centre Board. These appointments typically run concurrent with a council term, meaning they are not lifetime commitments! Please consider volunteering even if you are available only part of the year. Your ideas, input and assistance are needed. Submit your letter of interest to the Clerk-Administrator as soon as possible to be part of the solution. . . .
Cemetery Board: Unbeknownst to most of our residents is the Cemetery Board. Helen Purdy, Parks and Recreation Manager, oversees this volunteer group which is charged with managing the seven cemeteries in our municipality and ensuring that all provincial requirements are met. Most recently, all cemeteries were mandated to have a valid survey of their lands on file. As several of Magnetawan’s are many decades old the municipality did not have these and is incurring this expense. Additional information will be forthcoming in the interim tax bill mailing to insure various legal requirements are understood.
Magnetawan Fire Department: The fire department we depend upon is an example of volunteering at its finest. Currently our sole full time member, Chief Dean Buttici, has 17 men and women on his team who give up countless hours of their time for not only emergency responses but also for provincially mandated training. It is challenging work, made more so be the changing environment in which they operate. In 2015 only 25% of the department’s emergency responses were fire related, while almost 60% were medical responses. In addition to these were motor vehicle accidents (cars, ATVs and snowmobiles), ice/water rescues and Hydro calls. What this means is that these volunteers must be trained to address a wide variety of calls, and as these men and women are often the first responders, they must be prepared to deal with situations that many of us would choose not to be part of. Not including the many false alarms that were addressed, these volunteers were called upon an average of once every 2 ½ days in 2015: weekdays, weeknights and weekends. Please acknowledge their efforts when you have an opportunity. We appreciate their commitment.
Fire Chief Dean Buttici asks that at this time of year special consideration be given to keeping chimneys clean and proper burning. The department has responded to four chimney fires this winter.
As always, your ideas, suggestions, questions and comments are welcomed.
Sam Dunnett Tim Brunton Jack Crossman
Charlie Gray John Hetherington