Mulmur election 2018: Candidates for deputy mayor
We put the following three questions to those running for mayor and deputy mayor in Mulmur Township. Please see their numbered responses:
1. How do you balance the desire for a diversified tax base through development and new business while preserving farmland and rural property?
2. MPAC assessments are on the rise and taxes are going up. What can be done to make sure residents aren’t priced out of their own community?
3. While in office, what specific actions have you spearheaded to improve quality of life in Mulmur?
1. I worked very closely with both our previous and our current planners in the development of our Official Plan and our Zoning Bylaw with the goal of maintaining our rural character, preserving our land under cultivation while still finding a place for home industry, farm-gate and local small business, and a significant site for intensive commercial and light industry (Primrose Business Park). We have the protections in place for our natural bounty, and the next stage is to encourage more locally appropriate commercial development, and to support the continued success of our current small businesses and services.
2. I have a responsibility as a member of council to plan and manage, responsibly and prudently, our municipal budget. I must also make very clear to our residents the different parts of our budget that we control in order to provide services in the township, and the parts that are set by outside agencies and levels of government outside of our control. The reality of federal and provincial fiscal policies as well as natural free market pricing of goods and services play a huge part in the real costs of living in Mulmur, and property tax is both part and result of all of that.
I put a longer response to this issue on my website lowryformulmur.ca
3. As mentioned above, I worked on and contributed to both our Official Plan and our zoning bylaw to both preserve and protect our heritage and natural features while ensuring opportunity for people to keep and to build businesses in the township. I spearheaded the decision to make Town Halls a regular event in the community. I drew up the motion that made Mulmur the lead municipality in the struggle to pause the NEC’s proposed expansion until there was greater local participation in the process. I drafted the motion that led to the funding for the creation of the Eco-classroom at Primrose Elementary School. I drafted the motion that led to the Strategic Plan for Economic Development in Mulmur. I worked with Councillor Lloyd and staff to create the Speed Reduction Strategy for the township. I worked collaboratively with all members of Council to make this term effective and efficient and open to all our residents.
1. It is a struggle to balance development with preservation. Mulmur needs to increase commercial businesses so that commercial taxes will ease the burden of residential taxes. I believe that we can diversify our tax base through industrial development within designated areas such as the planned Primrose Industrial Park. This will continue to preserve farmland and rural property. Also small home or rural businesses are beneficial to Mulmur and should be encouraged.
2. MPAC sets the assessments and that is out of the Mulmur Council’s control. The property in Mulmur is in great demand. Everyone wants to live in the beautiful hills of Mulmur. Therefore it is going to be difficult to prevent inflation in land prices. Unfortunately, council has very little control over escalating property values. One of council’s main tasks is always to maintain fiscal responsibility. We strive to keep taxes low and still provide required services for our residents. The budget process is something we take seriously every year in order to ensure that residents are not overtaxed.
3. I suggested many years ago that Mulmur should have their own gravel pit rather than buying all of their gravel and sand. We located a new pit on 89 highway and I negotiated the price and presented it to council. Shortly after, council purchased the gravel pit for Mulmur Township. Having our own gravel pit has saved the taxpayers a substantial amount over money over the years.
One of my priorities has always been to conserve rural character. I have been on the Committee of Adjustment for 24 years. When approving new severances I have always strived to consider the impact of the severance on the overall visual perception of our beautiful municipality. We try to stagger the houses and setbacks so that our rural community does not look like a subdivision. We also take into consideration preservation of agricultural land. I have always attempted to protect and safeguard the freedom and rights of Mulmur residents.