Originally posted by Kevin Browne - 07/05/2014
SLPOA Spring 2014
Hopefully spring has arrived by the time this article reaches you. Yes spring .. time for renewal, revival. Time to execute the plans made during long cold winter days and longer nights. For myself, in my role as mayor, spring means the township switches from winter maintenance to activities like grading, patching, and culvert replacement. Budgets passed, staff works through the list of approved projects. Tenders go out for road work and major equipment purchases. It is critically important that Central Frontenac is transparent, open and accountable with the public's money.
I am always happy to move on after the budget has been set. Once staff has been given their "marching orders" through the budget, there are regular progress reports and I follow up to make sure that work is proceeding but my real passion is to get back out to the community, find out what is needed and do whatever I can to make Central Frontenac a better place. It's this passion for serving the community, combined with my personal belief that I have a duty and responsibility to leave the world a better place, that has motivated me to run for mayor once again in the upcoming October 27, 2014 Municipal Election. During my time as mayor, SLPOA has expressed a keen interest in the municipality and I have great respect for the issues and concerns which the association has brought forward. I invite you to review some of the key issues from my platform. I believe you will find we have a great deal of common ground.
Environment: Like SLPOA, I am passionate about protecting the environment. I recognize that water is our life and livelihood in Central Frontenac. I fully embrace the concept of "lake plans" and commend SLPOA for the excellent document submitted to the township last year. During this term of council, we introduced a voluntary septic inspection program and I supported the creation of a township task force that is studying broadening septic inspection programs. I have delivered continuous improvement in the area of waste management, introducing an annual Household Hazardous Waste Day and improving recycling programs. There are tremendous pressures on our environment. We must be prepared to act.
Taxes: I have listened to the comments from the public including members of SLPOA about the issue of CF taxes. I understand your concerns and have taken steps to ensure spending is controlled. Unfortunately however rising costs continue to outstrip our income and the current tax base does not meet our needs. In order for the township to become sustainable we must continue to find areas where we can save, be prepared to act when grants become available and increase the tax base. I have made progress in all of these areas:
Savings: I am supportive of increased collaboration with our neighbouring townships and Frontenac County. One example of this is that as of January 2014, Central Frontenac is utilizing county planning staff rather than a consultant. This change will save an estimated $20-30,000 annually and improve service to applicants. Our public works managers are reviewing opportunities for increased collaboration in Waste Management and transportation management. With fewer than 27,000 people scattered throughout the entire county it is imperative that we eliminate duplication of service where possible.
Grants: Central Frontenac has been approved for $3.8 million worth of provincial grants for road construction within the last 8 months. This Provincial funding for the reconstruction of Wagerville Road is major coup. It will free up money to complete other projects and improve response times for services such as grading. I am confident our success is due in part to the work I did as a member of the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus while I served as Frontenac County Warden. Leadership and advocacy is critically important in order for us to move forward. I am not shy about either.
Tax base: Community revitalization efforts have increased. Incentive programs have been introduced and they are working. New businesses like Seed to Sausage are a good fit locally, providing tax revenue and jobs. The Sharbot Lake Farmers Market, Mike Deans Superfood Store and enhancements to Oso Beach like the free Wifi are bringing more people into town and creating positive spin off to other businesses. SLPOA has done an excellent job of encouraging people to support the local economy and it is greatly appreciated.
Housing: I care deeply about our seniors and those on limited incomes. In 2008, I was able to help secure $800,000 in funding which built a 5 unit Mature Living Complex on Clement Rd. On April 26, 2014 we are celebrating the completion of a house in Tichborne built by Habitat for Humanity. This is the first home built by the HFH Kingston affiliate outside of the urban area. I am grateful for and moved by the generosity of donors and local contractors who helped us with the project. The house will be home to the Roberts family, a young couple with two boys. Mr. Roberts works at the Mike Deans Superfood Store in Sharbot Lake. The family will be paying a mortgage and is required to contribute 500 hours of sweat equity towards the completion of the home. It's a hand up, not a hand out.
But that is not enough, there is still a critical need for additional housing options for seniors in our area. There is a growing number of seniors including some of the SLPOA membership, who would like to downsize and stay in the area. Options such as apartments, condos, or town homes are not available here. I'm committed to changing this.
Community: I am always thinking about community building. Community pride is a key part of any successful resilient community. That brings me to the Frontenac Heritage Festival. The 2014 festival combined with the Sharbot Lake Snow Drags attracted over 2000 people on Family Day Weekend. The FHF generated over $12,000 for local charities. It kept gas stations, service clubs and restaurants busy. People invited their friends and families to visit for the weekend. Other visitors came as day trippers from communities nearby like Perth and/or Kingston. We had fun. As chair and founder, I am immensely proud of the event's continued success. Volunteers from across the township and beyond have come forward every year to organize and put on the event. Together we are building a sense of pride in our municipality and coming together as the Municipality of Central Frontenac. We hope more members of SLPOA join us next year. Visit our website to for details, pictures and videos. www.frontenacheritagefestival.ca
In closing I'd like to once again thank the SLPOA executive for allowing me the opportunity to communicate with its members. I'm hopeful that I will be able to attend your AGM this year ... I in fact have 4 weddings this summer but none that conflict with your AGM ..lol
I am always interested in hearing from ratepayers. There are several ways to reach me:
Office ..613-279-2935 x 259 Home 613-374-1355
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Mayor Janet Gutowski or Twitter:@cfmayor
I'll also be getting an updated website soon: www.janetgutowski.ca
Mayor Janet Gutowski
Sharbot Lake Property Owners' Association
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