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District meeting covered lots of ground

Submitted by on June 18, 2014 – 6:43 pm

Hello again to everyone. I am not sure where the month of May went, but if you found it, please let me know. Maybe we finally had a stretch of good spring weather and forgot everything else.
Thank you to all who attended our final Pittsburgh district Meeting for this term of City Council.
Barriefield celebration

Christine Sypnowich began our evening with an update and invitation for everyone to visit Barriefield Village on June 7th from 10:00 a.m. until 4 p.m.and join in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Village.
Parks progress

Neal Unsworth, Manager of Parks Development, updated us on the progress of parks in our district including rural parks development.

The continuation of our trail system and the future community centre were also discussed.
There will be public meetings this fall to receive input from residents on our parks and the community centre, so please watch our local papers for details beginning in September.
Residents’ Association

Sherry Lachine a member of the Kingston East Business Association (KEBA), spoke on the concept of forming a permanent residents’ association that would give a more collective voice to our concerns in the district.

This concept has come as a result of the success attained from the volunteer committee who presented the top five needs of our district to the Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting in March.

I would appreciate anyone who has thoughts or ideas to please forward them to Sherry Lachine at KingstonEastResidents@gmail.com

New voting features

Deputy City Clerk Kevin Arjoon briefed residents on the new features for voting in this year’s civic election October 27.

There will be ten days of advanced polling in the city with dates, times and locations to be announced.
This year, in-advance polling computer voting and phone voting will be used to determine the effectiveness of these methods.

There will be services for the physically challenged to assist them in casting their ballot.

Mr. Arjoon may be contacted by e-mail at karjoon@cityofkingston.ca or by phone at 613-546-4291 ext. 1262.

KEBA introduction

Kamille Parkinson, President of the Kingston East Business Association (KEBA), introduced residents to the Association, including the group’s goals and objectives in Kingston East and their total membership since their newest membership mail out campaign.

New members are most welcome to assist in the strengthening and effectiveness of their endeavours.
The Association’s social responsibility in our community is evidenced by their previous year e-waste collection and fund raising event, which has enabled them to offer a $750.00 bursary to a deserving graduating student from LaSalle Secondary School.

The bursary is designed for a student who demonstrates entrepreneurial skills.
Please support the KEBA members in our community as they continue their good work.
Kamille may be contacted by phone 613-888-3184 or e-mail at ucac@kingston.net should you have enquiries for membership.

Mayor addresses taxes

Closing out our meeting was Mayor Mark Gerretsen, who spoke on the issue of taxes and how they are now a direct correlation of Kingston’s first ever strategic plan that was endorsed by this council for January 2011 to December 2014, which covers the term of this current council.

Having a strategic plan in place has greatly benefitted council, staff and property taxpayers by keeping taxes at more sustainable levels now and in years to come.

We are able to better plan our future service and capital expectations for resiliency and cost effectiveness, which will allow for lower and more of a flat line of tax increases ( ie, 2%, then 5%, back to 2%, then 8%, you get the idea).

We want to have continued vigilance as our population ages and more residents are in their pension years but wish to remain in their own homes.

The Kingston property tax increase this year has now been lowered to 2.13% from 2.5% as a result of increased economic activity, which has in turn increased the tax base of the city over the past year.
Once the education rate from the Province is applied, the tax rate year over is lowered to 1.74%.
Considering that inflation is currently in the 2.0% range and we have a 1% increase each year for infrastructure improvements, we are delivering more fiscally responsible budgets now and in the future while maintaining and enhancing our service delivery to residents.

Kingston CAO Gerard Hunt and his team of city staff have been most effective in keeping with and exceeding the direction given from City Council.

My personal thanks as the Councillor for Pittsburgh District to Gerard Hunt and all city staff for their professionalism and dedication to excellence.

Next month I will provide an update and information I received while attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Niagara Falls May 30 to June 2.

I wish everyone a great month of June.

Kingston Frontenacs

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