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New Year, better year

Saturday, January 04, 2014   by: David Poluck

Where did the year go? 2013 was a busy year for the organizers of the Sault Association of Ratepayers building on what we learned from the years before. Here it is already 2014.

”Ring out the old, ring in the new. Ring out the false, ring in the true.” These lines by Alfred Lord Tennyson impart a great sense of purpose as you get geared up to welcome the New Year.

It is that time of the year again when we introspect on our choices of the past and anticipate what the New Year will bring.

I reminisce about the past year of 2013 and the accomplishments made towards the developments of an association of ratepayers both locally and regionally. I look at the milestones that have been reached, the new friends I have met and anticipate continuing in 2014 a direction of “Continuous Improvement” discussions, confident that everyone involved works in the process of combining efforts and resources to produce the product envisioned.

In this New Year we can look forward to working with the Northeastern Regional Association of Ratepayers. Last year’s inaugurating conference held here in the Sault gave us a new direction in cooperative ways into sharing ideas and experiences towards municipal affairs between other districts. This year we plan to strengthen our ties and develop better communications between the member groups while expanding our membership.

When the clock struck twelve on December 31st, people all over the world cheered and wished each other a very Happy New Year. For some, this event was no more than a change of a calendar. But for many others, the New Year symbolizes the beginning of a better tomorrow.

This year is young and there is so much more to learn and do.

So…Here’s to a New Year!

A better Year…2014

Were you aware that 2014 is a municipal election year?

This is an exciting time in municipal affairs when topics of community direction, taxation and representation come to the forefront of discussions at dinner tables and gatherings across the city. This is the point in our system of democracy where we as voters can review the current council and school board trustees on individual and group performances and go to the polls on October 27th  2014 to either re elect incumbents or elect those that have come forward who feel they would be more suited in the role as our representatives in the municipal system.

Those who wish to run for municipal council can file nominations from the first day of January and until 2 p.m. on nomination day Friday, September 12, 2014. Fill out the “Nomination Form” and file it with our municipal clerk including the fee to file a nomination.

To run for head of council the fee is $ 200 and $100 for all other positions. More detailed information prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on 2014 Candidates Guide for Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections can be found on line at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=10336


This is a forty page document filled with valuable information to help guide those that wish to run in the next municipal election.

Organizers of the SSMAR encourage everyone to get involved in one way or another in municipal affairs.

Take ownership of your community, get involved.

 Want to become a volunteer contact us at saultratepayers@hotmail.com

Comments
2
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
David Poluck 1/4/2014 7:21:13 AM Report

I'd like to say thank you to sootoday for the space to post In the Loop.
To our regional partners and people outside of the Sault we extend an invitation to post events and information to the message board.
If you have something to post that interests you..you may find it interests others.
David Poluck 1/7/2014 5:13:48 PM Report

Forwarded by the North Bay Taxpayers Association...from Bill Tufts
Fair Pensions For All

http://www.baytoday.ca/content/news/details.asp?c=56644

It is always a disappointment to see the city go ahead with another big tax increase. We know the money is not going towards increased services but directly into the pockets of city employees.

Lorne points out the 3% to 4% increase in annual compensation costs. Actually for the last full year in 2012, compensation rose 6%. When comp goes up by this amount and taxes only go up 1.5% there is an erosion of services by 4.5%. That why it seems, after so many years, you are getting so much less for your tax dollars.

Where do we go now?

Some great momentum has been developed around the work of the NBTA, obviously here is some solid reaction by city residents and the local media has picked up on our work. The challenge will be keeping the momentum going.

A group we work with in Guelph, Guelph Grassroots introduced us to some fiscally responsible Councillors and they pointed out that we need to develop a schedule or plan of issues that are released on a regular basis. Perhaps, a new issue that is focused on monthly. There are nine months until the next election.

What are the key issues that local residents will respond to?

Compensation
Fire Services ($126,000 a year average compensation on 2012, up from $69,000 in 2002)
City's debt
Pension shortfall - estimated at $23 million
Unfunded retiree liabilities, for retiring and retired workers ($6 million sick time and $6 million retiree healthcare. It would take 12 years of tax increases just to pay this off!)
Other local hot button issues



How can we develop a plan that will attract media attention?

Report focused on one of our key areas

Top ten pension report
Infrastructure Shortfalls

Budget Report � One of FPFA directors was the chair for the Kitchener Budget Task Force - http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/tag/budget-task-force/
Post union contracts online - http://www.therecord.com/news-story/2610574-waterloo-heeds-task-force-criticism-on-posting-staff-contracts/
Media releases - Waterloo Task Force member
http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/opinion/council-taking-easy-way-out/



What are some of the upcoming events throughout the year?

Spring provincial election (cutbacks to cities in 2014 will be significant, arbitration, pension)

Sunshine List � March (630 on list last year, how many are getting $100,000 a year pension?)

These are a few ideas and examples to consider. There are also some good resources out there to use as examples that make developing these ideas easier.


Fair Pensions website - http://fairpensionsforall.net/

CFIB Wage Watch - http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/article/32-wage-watch.html

Taxpayers Federation guide - http://www.taxpayer.com/resource-centre/ratepayer-guide/

BC Construction Assoc - http://www.icba.bc.ca/news_media/news_releases/2012-06-25.htm


All the best in 2014


Bill Tufts
Fair Pensions For All
http://about.me/bill.tufts
Call: 905-741-1904
Web site: Fair Pensions For All
Twitter - @Fairpension
Ste, 824 1063 King St. W Hamilton On.
L8S 4S3
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