New members sought for Haldimand County Youth Advisory Committee
HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – Haldimand County is currently accepting applications for the Youth Advisory Committee. Youth between the ages of 16 and 24 are welcomed to apply. Interested residents can apply online on the Haldimand County Website. Applications close on Tuesday, May 30 at 4:30 p.m.
Youth Advisory Committee members provide feedback to Haldimand Council on youth needs related to initiatives, issues and policies in Haldimand County. Members will receive a better understanding of municipal structure and decision making.
Recruitment is held every four years with the commencement of a new term of Council.
Further information about Haldimand County’s boards and committees – including terms of reference, member roles and responsibilities – is available on the Haldimand County website. Residents are encouraged to review the descriptions prior to submitting their application.
I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Lorraine Bergstrand. As the first official mayor of Haldimand County as its own entity, Lorraine was instrumental in setting a solid foundation for Haldimand County to build upon for years to come. Lorraine was a strong advocate for women in politics and administration, an inspiring and tenacious leader to many and will leave behind a lasting impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and all those grieving.
We’ve lowered flags at the County Administration building to mark her passing and honour a life taken too soon. Lorraine was a familiar and passionate presence in our community and she will be greatly missed.
On March 2, 2023, Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2023 Tax-Supported Operating Budget. The budget results in a total levy requirement of $80,305,850, which equates to a residential tax impact of 3.28%.
Generally, the annual Operating Budget pays for day to day operations of the County, including salaries, wages, utilities, insurance and services such as running arenas/programming, maintaining locals parks and cemeteries, providing emergency services (fire, police and ambulance), garbage collection and related activities.
Major factors that influenced the 2023 Operating Budget include external financial pressures like inflation, supply chain impacts, reduced/uncertain provincial funding and the rising cost of insurance and contracted essential services. The 2023 budget also introduces new initiatives in response to growth, new legislative requirements and to meet the community’s evolving needs and service desires.
“While the Operating Budget initially represented a 5% increase for ratepayers, staff conducted a rigorous review of controllable costs and did not bring forward any new initiatives that weren’t urgent, required by legislation or wouldn’t directly benefit the public,” CAO Craig Manley stated.
“Through this review, staff have developed a budget that addresses the county’s current needs, keeps the tax impact lower than what many other municipalities are facing, and employs strategic foresight to ensure our strong financial position is sustained.”
Manley also noted that Haldimand is in a unique period of growth and demographic change, and it will be important for Council to carefully evaluate not only levels of service that are offered to the community, but how they are administered when planning for the future.
“Thanks to the hard work and diligence of staff, we have a budget that balances maintaining the services our residents value with making investments to ensure Haldimand remains a prosperous, vibrant community for future generations,” noted Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley.
introducing new, temporary staffing resources to oversee and expedite major projects, including the construction of Caledonia’s new Fire/EMS station, municipal website re-design and the last year of the gravel road conversion program;
over $76,000 in grants to support local organizations with community beautification initiatives;
continuing to roll out the Council-approved reorganization of the IT division to increase efficiencies, meet service delivery requirements and strengthen cybersecurity;
increasing the staffing complement of Building Services to enhance the building permit application intake, inspection and issuance process;
enhancing the county’s forestry management program and reducing external consulting costs by introducing a new, in-house Urban Forester position to respond to service requests;
spearheading a recruitment and retention strategy to ensure the county can continue to recruit, retain and develop existing staff;
investing in the development of a corporate training plan relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as recommended by the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee;
in response to rapid growth, adding a Project Manager, Municipal Infrastructure to manage all construction associated with land development;
introducing six additional summer students to facilitate the county’s roadside mowing program as a pilot project, with the aim of reducing costs and reliance on contracted services; and
adding additional summer program staff in response to growth and increasing demand for programming.
At the February 16 Special Council Meeting, Haldimand County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Craig Manley informed Council of his intention to retire at the end of May. Manley has been employed with the County at senior positions since 2007 with the last four years as the CAO. The CAO is appointed by Council and is the head of the County Administration and the key link between staff and Council.
“After 37 years in the workforce it is time to transition to a new phase in my life journey – to spend more time with my family, to travel and to pursue my hobbies. I have been most fortunate to have been able to work in my chosen professional discipline, to have had the opportunity to learn, grow and progress over the years and to have a career that has been meaningful and fulfilling. Haldimand County has been a wonderful place to work and it has been most rewarding to see the community prosper, grow and add services and facilities that improve the quality of life for our residents and businesses. With Council having completed its orientation process, its strategic planning objectives for the council term and the annual budgeting process it is an appropriate time to make this transition. I would like to thank the successive Councils I’ve worked with for their support and collegiality. I am leaving knowing the County is in good hands both at the Council and at the administration level.”
Mayor Shelley Bentley thanked Craig for his 15 years of service with the County and the recent work done to help the new Council acclimate to their new roles. “Craig’s experience, advice and leadership has been very much appreciated by both myself as a new Mayor and by all members of Council. He’s been an invaluable part of Haldimand County for many years as a steady, guiding voice that has seen our community through some of its toughest times. I know I speak for many of us here when I say that his wealth of knowledge and insight will be sorely missed, and that we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.“
At this same meeting, Council also appointed Cathy Case as the Acting CAO upon Manley’s departure with that role becoming permanent effective October 1, 2023 subject to a performance review and negotiation of an employment contract. Case is a life-long resident of the County and is currently the General Manager of Corporate and Social Services and has significant experience in municipal governance.
Mayor Bentley noted “We are fortunate to have a strong management team in Haldimand and a positive work culture. In order to ensure a smooth transition and a continued positive trajectory for our community Council felt it was important to look within the organization as a first priority to ensure a continuity of management style and approach to working with Council.’
Over the next four months Manley and Case will be working together to ensure a seamless transition with Manley’s last day occurring on May 31.
Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2023 Tax-Supported Capital Budget and 10-year forecast on February 2, 2023. The Capital Budget outlines $32.6 million of infrastructure investment in 2023, with a total investment of $326.8 million over the next 10 years. In total, 338 capital projects are scheduled for the 2023 calendar year.
The 2023 Capital Budget is heavily focused on infrastructure revitalization with notable expenditures in areas like roadway improvements, bridge and culvert rehabilitation, and enhancements to corporate, community and recreation facilities.
2023 Capital Budget Highlights:
$20 million towards roadway and active transportation improvements such as paving, road reconstruction, tar and chip resurfacing, gravel road conversion, sidewalk/curb replacements, street lighting, as well as bridge/culvert rehabilitations, replacements and other structure-related projects;
Includes $2.9 million towards the Gravel Road conversion program, with the bulk of the work to be completed in 2023;
$2.1 million towards the purchase of one new pumper and two new tankers and $520,000 for two new ambulances;
$939,000 towards enhancing municipal arenas, including upgrades to refrigeration equipment/concessions and building infrastructure;
$677,000 combined towards library and museum services, including the installation of an elevator at the Dunnville Branch and stair riser/accessible washroom and lift at Edinburgh Square;
$948,000 towards tree conservation and re-forestation initiatives, such as the Downtown Street Tree Revitalization Program and general maintenance, removal, planting and care of urban trees;
$394,000 for park and trail-related projects, including bleacher/players’ bench replacements in five locations, paving of the Jarvis Meadow Pathway and Trails Master Plan Update;
$378,000 towards the Community Halls Partnership Program, with funds allocated to facility repairs and necessary maintenance; and
$211,000 towards mechanical/electric maintenance and repairs at municipal pools.
“The 2023 Capital Budget was prepared in a difficult economic climate and faced a number of challenges in terms of balancing current priorities, future needs and the types of services and facilities we know are desired by the community,” noted Chief Administrative Officer Craig Manley.
“Things like inflation, the rising cost of contracted services, increased growth and uncertainties with regard to federal/provincial funding have all had a big impact on our capital program. Despite this, the 2023 Capital Budget and long-range financing plan outlines a strategy that ensures community needs are met and that will allow us pivot if unforeseen needs arise,” Manley added.
“I appreciate the time and dedication put forward by staff to develop a budget that supports responsible growth in our communities and focuses on sustaining the high-quality levels of service our residents value,” said Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley. “The budget was developed with careful strategic foresight and identifies key challenges that we must plan for proactively to maintain our strong financial position over the long term,” Bentley added.
Similar to past years, the capital levy, funded by property taxes, will increase by about $762,200 or about one per cent of the overall municipal levy. The total municipal levy for 2023 will be determined once the 2023 Tax-Supported Operating Budget is approved by Council.
The 2023 Tax-Supported Operating Budget will be presented to Council on the following dates:
• March 2 & 3*, 2023 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Haldimand County Administration Building Council Chamber (*if required)
On Wednesday, January 25, 2023 Haldimand County Council formally adopted the county’s 2023-2027 Accessibility Plan. This multi-year plan outlines the county’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers for individuals with disabilities and reaffirms its commitment to providing inclusive and accessible services.
The 2023-2027 Accessibility Plan takes into account legislated requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the needs of the community, input provided by the County’s Accessibility Advisory Committee as well as best practices for accessibility within the public sector.
The Plan outlines several actions that will be undertaken over the next 5 years to further enhance the accessibility and inclusivity of municipal programs, services and facilities. These include, but are not limited to:
Enhancing the County website to fully meet AODA standards;
Developing a Facilities Accessible Design Standards (FADS) document to clearly define accessible design standards that will be used across the County moving forward;
Completing a parks and facilities audit to identify areas of County owned parks and facilities that require accessibility-related improvements;
Continuing to engage the Accessibility Advisory Committee and consult members on applicable capital projects, Master Plans, Neighborhood Plans and major initiatives to ensure barrier-free access for all residents;
Working closely with the newly-established 2022-2026 Accessibility Advisory Committee to develop criteria for prioritizing accessibility-related enhancements across the county – taking into account both areas of greatest need and fiscal practicality.
While the County is legislatively required to abide by the AODA’s Design of Public Spaces Standard on a go-forward basis, the benefits of investing in accessibility enhancements extend beyond meeting regulatory requirements.
Rather, making expenditures that support an inclusive, barrier-free community will ensure Haldimand remains and continues to evolve as a great place to live, work and play for individuals of all abilities.
Haldimand County has declared a Significant Weather Event as a winter storm moves into the area, effective Friday, December 23 at 6am until midnight on Saturday, December 24. All municipal facilities will be closed on Friday, December 23 and Saturday, December 24 and garbage and recycling curbside collection is canceled.
Winter storm conditions are expected to intensify throughout the day. The combination of snowfall and extreme winds are expected to result in hazardous travel conditions, and the County is asking residents to follow Environment Canada advice and consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve.
Facility closures/service impacts:
The Haldimand County Administration Building, museums, libraries and arenas will be closed.
The Canborough Waste Management Facility will be closed Friday and Saturday.
All scheduled programs and ice/room rentals are canceled Friday and Saturday.
Garbage and recycling curbside collection is canceled. Residents whose collection day is Friday are asked to bring their materials in from the curb and place them out next week. Residents affected will have double the bag limit next Saturday (due to holiday schedule).
During a significant weather event, residents are advised to use extra caution and are reminded that standard timelines for clearing roads and sidewalks may not be met.
The county’s winter control crews are ready to respond to this significant weather event and will be working around the clock, however, with the conditions expected, residents are asked to be patient and allow staff time to clear main arterial roadways by priority.
Winter control staff have approximately 1500kms of roadways to clear and will be working as quickly as possible to plow all routes.