NextGen Speakers, Development Fees, Surplus & More


April in Review

THANK YOU. We wish to thank all our members, existing and new, who were a part of our Meet and Greet experience on May 5. Not only was the event a packed-house success of over 200 people but a new energy was formed and an election spark lit. Meet and Geet at Lot 102 Meet and Greet – A packed house!!

Roy Ellis on Politically Speaking

Roy Ellis May 14

We heard from five exciting Nextgen speakers, who confirmed the fact that Midland is filled with talented people ready to work together and get Midland thriving again. We are thrilled and encouraged with the turn out and look forward to our next gathering. The event was filmed by Nate Lacroix of Midland Film Club. We will be posting videos shortly on our website for those who missed it, and those who wish to see it again. Watch for our posts and emails.

Roy Ellis will be the guest on Politically Speaking May14th so be sure to tune in as the discussion will focus on the May Meet and Greet which Rogers TV filmed live.

Below is our April Council Update which serves up even more excitement along with it’s normal controversy.

April in Review

As though having the highest local tax rate in Simcoe County was not a significant enough deterrent to development in Midland, Council was asked to consider an increase in Development Fees of 78% for commercial development and 36% for medium density residential development. Developers, real estate professionals, business owners, concerned citizens and (See ‘Must Read’ on right side of our web site) spoke passionately against the increases. These increases, on top of already onerous taxes and fees, will further dampen economic development in Midland. An assumed increase of 4700 in Midland’s population by 2031 is clearly flawed, as is the assumption that we need the fee increases as presented. The deputation showed that a decline in building permits over the past 3 years did not support the optimistic projections. Council directed staff to reexamine the increases in light of public input. The matter will likely come up again at the May 12th General Committee meeting.

Piling worse onto bad, Council voted to implement a septic inspection program that is well over the minimums required under the Ontario building code. It was argued that adjacent municipalities had moved to implement the not yet mandated 2015 septic inspections and Midland should follow suit. Shouldn’t we make decisions based on our own situations instead of following those made by others? This smacks of the ridiculous backflow preventer program rammed down the throats of both residents and businesses. Yet another example of the Town’s business unfriendly policy!

Midland, for the 4th year in a row had a budget surplus in excess of $800,000. Unlike the previous three years Council voted to allocate $170,000 to the taxpayers and $30,000 to programs cut from the 2014 budget. We believe this is a good decision as the four-year trend leaves no doubt there is excess money in the base budget that needs to be stripped out. Councilor Jeffery argued against returning any of the $891,000 surplus funds to the taxpayer. He said, “the taxpayer giveth and we spendeth”. To add insult to injury, Councilor Jeffery stated, Department Heads were not adult enough to manage their budgets without inducements to save. This last comment was in reference to allocating pieces of the surplus to departmental reserves instead of to a general Town reserve.

April saw the Ontario sunshine list published for 2013. Midland had the dubious distinction of having 33 persons on the list of those persons that made in excess of $100,000.00 (14 Police, 12 Fire and 7 municipal staff). This seems more than a little extravagant given the median household income in Midland sits at $48,496, and growth/development is virtually ground to a halt.
Midland Matters, You Matter, Getting Involved Matters

3 Comments on "NextGen Speakers, Development Fees, Surplus & More"

  1. Midland Community | May 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Reply

    Received by email to

    From: Ricky Beutler

    “Thank you for the update. As a result of some of the discussion at the gathering the other night I went online to discover information about the back flow preventer. The use of this device it seems came from the province’s Clean Water Safety Act which was mandated that every town city and municipality develop a by law related to this device. Midland is not one of a few towns who have implemented this device. Please correct me if the information is erroneous. Back flow preventers have been used from my understanding for a long time for many reasons. A cost to the taxpayer of 2000 dollars with a yearly inspection fee of 100 dollars for something you must do by law is in my opinion outrageous. I have also heard that in other municipalities where they have been installed homeowners have actually removed them!!!

    Be wary of OPP policing costs. I have been following that in a number of communities in Ontario and I would suggest that that the bids are not always complete. There are many costs that get “left off” the quotes Check out the OPP Sunshine list. If you think Midlands list is high theirs is even higher. OPP AND TORONTO Police are apparently the highest paid in Ontario. They also require in many areas two officers per car on all shifts.

    Are there two officers in every car on all shifts in Midland. It also begs the question
    if the crime rate is way down why is that when Midland apparently has a high drug using
    population. Might it be from effective policing ?? Just asking I don’t live in Midland but rather in what is considered Tay although our mailing address is Midland. Being retired and living in the area part time I recognize that things must change if Midland is not going to go down the road of New Brunswick towns where they just can no longer pay the bills.

    The energy, optimism and desire for real change were clearly evident in the room

    Ricky Beutler”

    • Midland Community | May 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Reply

      Please allow me to respond to your last comment first. “The energy, optimism and desire for real change were clearly evident in the room”. It was indeed a great night and we need to keep Midlanders involved and focused on “what matters”. Thanks goes out to all who attended, our five guest speakers, along with our core team.

      What follows is information from one of our members, Stu Leggett, who spoke on Cross connection and back flow devices- hope this is helpful.

      “Hi Roy,

      Here’s a link to the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002

      The only section that even mentions backflow is listed under MISCELLANEOUS and reads:

      167 (3) … Council may make regulations,

      7. prescribing monitoring, testing and reporting requirements for devices installed in plumbing to prevent back-flows of anything into the plumbing or a drinking water system;

      Note that this Act grants Council authority only to make regulations “prescribing monitoring, testing and reporting”. It absolutely does not require the Town to develop an extremely onerous backflow bylaw. In fact it would be very difficult to say that this Act could even be used to support such a bylaw. As a general condition, the Act requires that regulations may be made only if a “drinking water health hazard” actually exists or if one can reasonably be expected to develop. That’s a really big difference from what Midland is doing!

      “drinking water health hazard” is defined by the Act as follows:
      “drinking water health hazard” means, in respect of a drinking water system,
      (a) a condition of the system or a condition associated with the system’s waters, including any thing found in the waters,
      (i) that adversely affects, or is likely to adversely affect, the health of the users of the system,
      (ii) that deters or hinders, or is likely to deter or hinder, the prevention or suppression of disease, or
      (iii) that endangers or is likely to endanger public health,
      (b) a prescribed condition of the drinking water system, or
      (c) a prescribed condition associated with the system’s waters or the presence of a prescribed thing in the waters;

      Since passing the Backflow Bylaw in 2005, Midland has required that every commercial property install “premise isolation” regardless of backflow or cross connection risk – even if it can be demonstrated that absolutely no risk actually exists. But In fact the Town already knows that most of the properties represent absolutely no risk whatsoever because that very same bylaw also requires that all commercial properties hire an independent contractor to conduct and submit to the Town a “Cross Connection Inspection Report”every 5 years. The Town also requires that these devises be inspected (by an independent tester) every year – forever!

      The Town does however manage pretty good compliance to this bylaw. If you don’t comply they simply shut off your water until you do. And since most people don’t have a background in water hydraulics, it’s hard for them to argue this bylaw. Some may even feel the several million dollars spent has done at least to promote safe drinking water. It has not!

      It has however, and continues to make a whole lot of money for the membership of the various Plumbing Associations who continually: misrepresent the backflow issue; misinform code requirements, and in some cases; directly lobby our Councillors to enact these terrible bylaws. I have asked to be shown the origins of Midland’s Backflow Bylaw – or even to be shown 1 case of morbidity due to backflow anywhere in North America over the past 100 years – but so far backflow remains only a “hypothetical” threat. This lack of credible evidence clearly indicates that our water system is in fact already damn safe and is certainly not in need of these very expensive and onerous programs.

      To the best of my knowledge, Midland has never in it’s entire history had any water injury of any kind whatsoever due to backflow …and if it has I’m still waiting to hear about it from the Town. In the meantime, what’s the urgency for our Planning and Water Depts. wanting to stay so far ahead of the curve on this?

      Midland is far too small of a community – and certainly lacks the appropriate budget – to remain a National Leader in this quite extraordinary and quite unnecessary Backflow Bylaw.”

      Comments above provided by Stu Leggett

      Ricky, in response to your comments on bids for Policing in Midland, clearly there needs to be a full “apples to apples” comparison. But a fair competitive bidding process should help keep our costs and quality of service in line.

      Local Policing may be a more costly approach if local staff expect to be paid “big city” rates, interest arbitration in its current form remains in place and Midland continues to experience no growth. The OPP may have a cost advantage from economies of scale coupled with the fact the Province still enjoys growth. At the end of the day we should welcome an OPP bid so we can all make an informed decision about what is actually best for Midland.

      Cheers and thanks for sharing “what matters” to you.

      Roy Ellis

  2. Midland Community | May 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Reply

    Email response from Ricky Beutler:

    The 2012 Ontario Building Code had changes made to come into effect January 2014 related to Property Protection and Health. They apparently can be found In Division B of the Building Code.

    Although there are many things in the building code that could be deemed ludicrous in the eyes of the paying public this document is and has beeen developed for the protection of the people of Onatrio no matter where they live. It is my understanding that code requirements can be questioned and that does not mean at the municipal level but rather at the government level that oversees the code.

    I am in the process of trying to find these specific changes but the one “slide” i did find was from a presentation explaining the changes under the Property Protection and Health section and it reads “Protecting public water supplies from contamination from “medium hazard” uses (e.g.. multi-unit residential buildings, commercial buildings, hotels, manufacturing plants) by requiring back flow preventers a premise isolation devices”

    To now I have not found the specifics related to residences but I do know from personal experience that some back flow prevention was required in some applications on residences.

    The 2002 Water Safety document under the subtitle Water Licences for Municipal Water Licences
    Section 45.2 Subject water conditions discusses in the broader sense what is required–water safety with backflow preventers is not specifically addressed but that being said in my view it would not need to be as there are the other documents that go hand in hand with the act which spell this out and now the changes in the Ontario Building Code.

    I do not agree with the “powers” that have been regulated to a variety of individuals by the act and although I do not agree with the indiscriminate application of such “rules” without thought and consideration to the affected populace I do agree that general principles for the safety of the water are required. All laws, regulations and by-laws can be disputed over time and a dispute reolution process needs to be put in place. Also it is my belief that individuals and or businesses need not be required to fulfil a regulation while the dispute is in process as long as no harm will be done while this dispute is being “arbitrated” , “discussed” and a reasonable resolution is achieved. I would suggest that reasonable application of any code requirement could be achieved after review.

    No taxpayer should be “held Hostage” by staff or council if they do not agree with such a thing as the back flow preventer. The powers in any municipality elected or employed are accountable to the taxpayer and reasonable examination of any situation needs be done. Even if the Town needs to apply for direction from the Chief Building Inspector of Ontario for a review of the code and its application in local situations. It is not the position of the elected, or the employee to impose unreasonable duress on anyone who has elected them or who pays their wages.

    It is time for those in position of power and or elected to stop and give their heads a shake and remember who puts the bread on their tables and who elects them. I would love to comment further on this but not today.

    I would like to make it clear that I do not disagree with Mr Leggett’s position but rather I needed to make sure that for me personally it was clear.

    It is clear to me from my research that although i disagree with how the Town of Midland has chosen to implement this Building Code Regulation I am hopeful they did it because they beleived they had to. In my opinion they needed to have contacted the Chief Building Inspector to clarify that they had a situation which might be exempt from the application of the code requirement and then gone from there. In regard to the implied threat of water disconnection if compliance is not maintained–well in this day and age I think this attitude is overbearing and unnecessary and there are other ways of managing such situations in a town the size of Midland.

    I would like to reiterate that although I am not a Midland resident I do firmly believe that what happens in Midland affects the surrounding communities.

    Groups such as are vital to keeping elected officials and municipal employees apprised of the fact that the taxpayer pays the freight and is watching how the hard earned money is being spent and sometimes wasted.

    Thank you.
    Ricky Beutler

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