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Andy Letham - page 2

Council uses provincial money to reduce tax levy to 1.5 per cent  

in Municipal by
Mayor Andy Letham pushed for a lower tax rate using provincial money.

Kawartha Lakes council unanimously approved applying a portion of the Safe Restart pandemic funding provided by the province to reduce the tax increase for 2021 to 1.5 per cent.

Over the past eight weeks of budget deliberations, Mayor Andy Letham and council have been staring at a much larger 3.84 per cent increase in the tax levy for 2021. Council went through the budget with a fine-toothed comb in multiple February meetings and reduced the proposed levy to a 3.77 per cent increase.

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Health unit requests money from city after reduction in public health spending by Conservatives

in Health/Municipal by
Health unit requests money from municipality after reduction in public health spending by Conservatives

With the Ontario Conservative government reducing provincial grants by 30 per cent for mandatory provincial programs, the local health unit has requested a 19 per cent increase in funding for the 2021 operational year from the municipality.

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City director to bring plan forward to try and avoid large property tax increase

in Municipal by
"In February we will bring plans forward for potential savings in the operating budget," said Jennifer Stover, director of corporate services.

It is budget season at Kawartha Lakes. At a rare evening session on Jan. 26 council heard director of corporate services Jennifer Stover lay out a proposed 2021 operating budget of $275.6 million dollars that, without trimming, could lead to a tax rate increase in the range of 3.84 per cent for each household in the city.

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Questions raised about procedural errors in council’s decision to close Ops arena

in Municipal by
Councillors Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, Andrew Veale, Doug Elmslie and Tracy Richardson voted along with Mayor Andy Letham to close Ops permanently.

Council’s sudden vote in November 2020 to close the Ops Community Centre violated council’s own policies, according to Heather Stauble. The former Kawartha Lakes councillor and former chair of the board of directors of the Kawartha Conservation says a two-thirds vote was required to reverse a previous council decision and close the arena. The vote was 5-4 in favour of the closure, with Mayor Andy Letham casting the deciding vote.

“Council should not have made the decision to close the arena permanently (the way it did),” said Stauble, noting that the move reversed a 2016 council decision. “The most recent decision was done without any notice to the public and without consultation with the Ops community.”

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Second-class property owners? Edgewater condos lose their loose-leaf pick up

in Municipal by

A deputation made to Kawartha Lakes council by C. Brian Lailey, a resident of the Edgewater condominiums in Bobcaygeon, questioned why the complex did not receive leaf pickup for the first time in possibly two decades.

The condominium owner was caught off-guard when on both Nov. 6 and Nov. 20 of 2020 Miller Waste, responsible for the city-wide leaf pick up, did not arrive.

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Councillor wants city to establish PPE production to see return of manufacturing jobs

in Business/Municipal by
Councillor wants city to establish PPE production to see return of manufacturing jobs

If Councillor Ron Ashmore has his way Kawartha Lakes could one day be a manufacturing hub for PPE, therapeutics, and vaccines.

A majority of council, at the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 12, recommended a written proposal from the Ward Six councillor to investigate attracting medical manufacturers with hopes of reducing the area’s concerning 9 per cent unemployment rate.

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Amalgamation 20 years later: Victoria County’s demise still rankles many rural constituents

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Amalgamation 20 years later: Decision to dissolve Victoria County still rankles many rural constituents
"Sometimes we need to focus on what we have, not what we don't," says Coun. Tracy Richardson. Photo: Erin Burrell.

It was perhaps the most divisive political debate in this area since self-government in 1863. Amalgamation — the forced bringing together of the constituent parts of the old Victoria County 20 years ago this month – is a word that still triggers much debate and tests professional relationships to this day.

The fissures still run deep, particularly amongst those over the age of 50. Many knowledgeable individuals who were there two decades ago have died, developed sudden political amnesia, or refused to become engaged in a retrospective of an issue they wish would just disappear.

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Consultant recommends significant change to housing governance

in Municipal/Social Issues by

An additional senior management position will be created to lighten the workload currently faced by Hope Lee, manager of housing for the city.

There will also be more tenant representatives on the governing council and an ability for the housing corporation to carry short term debt that would allow it to continue to build more geared-to-income housing right across its service region.

Council received this much-anticipated consultant’s report from Judy Lightbound, from HCS Business Solutions, on the operations and governance of Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing, a report six months in the making.

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Controversial bill to change conservation authorities in pro-development move by province

in Environment by
The lookout at Ken Reid Conservation Area. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Conservation Ontario has asked its members, environmental groups, and citizens to petition for changes to the Conservative government’s new developer-friendly bill — but a motion from Mayor Andy Letham led to a 6-3 vote not to pursue the matter.

Under the new bill, known as Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act, members will be required to act in the best interests of their municipalities, not the best interests of the watershed. Further, every member of the authority board would need to be an elected municipal councillor, eliminating appointed citizen representatives.

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Letham casts deciding vote to close Ops Arena; Locals hope to reverse decision

in Community/Municipal by

When Deputy Mayor Patrick O’Reilly contacted Ron Pearson and Murray Walden to inform them council had voted 5-4 to close Ops Community Centre, Pearson and Walden were shocked.

The two men, who had been instrumental to the operation and construction of Ops before amalgamation in 2001, are waiting for a meeting with Mayor Andy Letham to push for a reversal.

However, it was Letham who cast the deciding vote to close the aging arena.

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