The next four years will see the Town of Milton make decisions that will establish the community’s direction for the next 40 years. In no particular order, those decisions are as follows:
Town of Milton Official Plan
Like the pending Regional Municipality of Halton Official Plan, the Town’s next Official Plan will set the direction for residential and commercial growth locally to 2051 and beyond. Some current long-range planning scenarios being considered by the Region threaten the ability of Milton to protect its mature and historic neighbourhoods, fail to provide multiple housing alternatives for new Miltonians and prevent the municipality from helping to create the volume of employment opportunities that permit residents to work locally. Ward 2 Local Councillor John Challinor II helped Council and staff develop a proposal that meets Milton’s growth requirements. The next Council will need to work with Regional Council and the Government of Ontario to ensure Milton gets what its residents need when it comes to housing and employment — and that needs to be reflected in the Town’s new Official Plan.
Town of Milton Secondary Plans
The key secondary plans that will be approved over the next four years include the Mobility Hub Study, which will establish Milton’s new uptown as a complement to its historic downtown; the Trafalgar and Agerton Secondary Plans, which will establish a new residential and commercial community along the north-east boundary of the municipality; the Milton Education Village, which will establish an unparallelled knowledge centre anchored by Laurier University and Conestoga College; the Britannia Secondary Plan, which will establish new residential neighbourhoods in the south-east and south-west areas of the community; and implementation of the Derry Green Corporate Business Park, which will provide much of the new employment in Milton and Halton Region for the foreseeable future.
Town of Milton Service Delivery Roll-out
The Service Delivery Review, requested by Ward 2 Local Councillor John Challinor II during the 2018 municipal election and approved shortly after he was elected, has resulted in several hundred thousand dollars worth of savings in the short-term but, more importantly, will result in automated and improved service delivery to Milton taxpayers, most notably over the next four years through investments in training, technology and work processes.
Town of Milton Operating & Capital Budgets
With the exception of the 2021 operating budget, most of the budgets approved by Milton Council since 2019 have not strengthened the financial sustainability of the municipality. Ward 2 Local Councillor John Challinor II has been amongst a minority of councillors who have consistently expressed concern about the current financial situation, making reasonable suggestions to alleviate fiscal concerns and intelligently enunciating what the Town’s core operational priorities should be. While the Town’s fiscal challenges are forecast to decline in the mid-term, the near-term will be a challenge as long as a majority of councillors continue to dismiss the financial impact on taxpayers. Failure to act responsibly in the near-term will impair the mid-term and long-term financial health of the Town of Milton. Annual budget increases should track favourably against the annual rate of inflation.
What Ward 2 Taxpayers Require
Over the next four years, the residents of Ward 2 need a local councillor who is clearly in their corner, one who balances the financial challenges faced by the municipality with their ability to pay; one who knows the importance of long-term planning and helps council and staff make convincing arguments to the other levels of government in a way that benefits all Miltonians; and one who understands that, at its core, the Town of Milton exists to deliver broadly-based, core services to taxpayers and those programs must be provided efficiently, effectively and in a high-quality fashion to be of value. CR