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Help wanted: Just one person applied to join County committee

Council and senior staff were informed today there was just one application received in answer to the County’s advertisement seeking members of the public to sit on the Water & Wastewater Rates Committee and the Community and Economic Development Commission.

“I’m a little concerned we haven’t had more enthusiasm as I expected members of the public to be a very valuable resource,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “We have never reached out to like this before.”

The advertisement was placed in the three papers and posted on the County’s website. The deadline to receive applications is Friday, March 4th at 5p.m.

The purpose of the Water & Wastewater Rates committee is to investigate, review and recommend options to council regarding financial sustainability of service delivery, user rates, capital charges, service delivery options, infrastructure replacement and financial assistance programs. Members will also analyze the budget to identify cost savings opportunities.

The mandate of the Community and Economic Development Commission is to explore roles of partners, identify duplication and gaps in service; establish, review, amend and recommend to council, a strategic plan to guide long and short-term development; identify and conduct activities relating to business and industry retension, expansion and attraction.

For more details, visit the County website for the complete terms of reference and application form. The application form can be scanned and emailed to Clerks@pecounty.on.ca or faxed to 613-476-5727, or hand delivered, as mailing would not deliver in time.

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  1. Susan says:

    This Council has a lot of gall coming back to the public again looking for input when they so arrogantly tossed such aside for Council downsize to meet their own personal selfish agendas or to protect former small townships prior to amalgamation. I have the impression that they think if they do the do and throw out the water crisis to the public we will once again accept the failings! They never look at the highly paid Commissioners whose responsibility is to bring stability.

  2. Fred says:

    Perhaps Ontario should have recall legislation at the Municipal level. Deception should not be condoned.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary – you are absolutely right abut the Picton Councillors(Hull and Epstein re: council size) – but the same applies to Ferguson and Fox (no relation) – they have let a lot of people down too. In truth, has anyone ever seen a council reverse itself so dramatically on an issue so basic to our democracy? I won’t go on about the lack of response for volunteers for the Water Rates Committee, but doesn’t this prove just how out of touch our Councillors are with pubic opinion and how the public have just stopped listening to them? For those Councillors who have stayed the course, this has to be frustrating for them – I hope they fight back – that I will support!

  4. Gary Mooney says:

    I think that the lack of volunteers is significant. There are three main problems:

    1.Anticipation that citizen input will be ignored. Council would have to admit that it ignored citizen input in the high profile issue of Council size / Ward restructuring – first, the Citizens’ Assembly and then thesurvey of citizens. They chose the plan proposed by a former Councillor – at best, poor optics.

    2.Citizen reps in the minority. Typically, the citizen reps represent only a small portion of the total votes on the committee; therefore, they have no power.

    3. No reward. Could be having real influence, or being recognized or receiving an honorarium, but typically there is none.

    There was a situation of citizen involvement that actually worked. Former Clerk Virginia Leskie championed a pilot project called Resident Resources whereby a group of citizens was recruited to provide input on several projects, and this was implemented by current Clerk Kim White.

    Three of projects that I participated in were: improvements to the annual application process for grants to community groups; ideas to enhance the County website; improvements to the municipal election process.

    In each case, there were 3 to 5 citizen participants, with Kim as Chair, plus one or two other staff members.

    In the case of the municipal election, the citizen reps made a number of recommendations for change, which were incorporated in Kim’s report to Council and subsequently adopted by Council.

    What made this process work was that the volunteers were in the majority, that staff were committed to the process and that recommendations to Council were agreed by consensus.

    Sadly, the pilot project was not converted into a permanent mechanism.

    Citizen input can be valuable, but token citizen involvement is a waste of time.

  5. Gary says:

    This Council have trampled upon citizen rights. The two Picton councilors have lost my trust. They campaigned on the promise of change to Council size and providing voter equity. They caved. They will not fool me again. I wonder where they stand on the water crisis?

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    Peter – you have asked some good questions re: the municipal telephone survey. I suspect that the local taxpayers are paying for it – who else would be? Your point about not having a public meeting is also a great one to ask. For me, I am truly upset with this council, because I had such great hope for them when they were elected just a year ago. Now, they have proven themselves to be totally untrustworthy(re: size of council) they have ignore all public input from previous meetings, surveys and volunteer committees. They know better than to ask the public again to attend any meetings – so a telephone survey is the safest and only thing left for them to do. Is it any wonder why no one has volunteered for the “Water Rates Committee?”

  7. Peter says:

    This is no different that the robo calls that are going out to the public right now from TORONTO asking what our thoughts are here on the services in the county. Please don’t tell me that we are paying for this service??? I believe we are though. Here is an idea hold a town hall meeting and ask us.

  8. Marnie says:

    What lacks substance in your opinion may resonate with someone else Emily. Why not accord everyone the same privilege of free speech that you exercise? We may not all think alike but we are entitled to our own opinions.

  9. Emily says:

    Marnie;since you provided nothing of substance other than the same old and asked, I replied, not to myself. No need to get bent.

  10. lou says:

    i am thinking this too. That you could speak but council or whoever may ignore,deaf ears etc.

    I ONCE said a TRuthful comment to someone at shire hall(council)
    and boy didb i get an earful.
    they sure dont like to hear it if its negative.
    very protective. of their club

  11. Marnie says:

    Emily, it is unfortunate that you cannot respond to a comment without taking pot shots at the author. You were the one asking for answers and now having satisfactorily replied to yourself perhaps we can move on.

  12. Emily says:

    Reallocate a portion of costs to the general tax base. Town services are used and stressed by many. Rural services are not. There lies the difference. If you don’t like the answer, don’t ask the question!

  13. Marnie says:

    Can you,Emily?

  14. Peter says:

    Are you really that surprised that no one wants to sit in on this bogus committee?
    I spoke to 3 businessmen who would of been a wonderful asset and asked why they weren’t interested.
    When I found out that not one of those council members had any experience and the one that did the old boys club decided they didn’t want him on there.
    Its pretty hard to make change to a dept when you are going up against people who don’t really want change and see no issue in the first place.
    Would you waste your time, I think not

  15. Emily says:

    Marnie; can you provide some ideas to resolve the crisis rather than continually repeat the same tired points about shopping and health care or lack of?

  16. Marnie says:

    Great idea Mark. If your plan were to be implemented the next time I experience problems with my septic system or well the county would step right up to pay for the needed work I suppose. I guess they would also hand out a cheque for the cost of a replacement system if that should become necessary and back pay me for installing the original system too. As for where we would go for urban services, a lot of us go to Belleville now because what we need is not available locally. Take a walk down Main Street and check out the stores – what you will see are a lot of high end shops selling doodads that are not essential to everyday living. When the Royal becomes a boutique hotel do you really believe it will cater to locals? It will be just another destination for tourists and the well-to-do. As for medical services, our hospital is a ghost of its former self and in a few years no doctors will want to locate here. As it is now it is necessary to go to Belleville or further away for most tests. And as for outsiders serving on committees that is little more than an exercise in giving the impression of democracy. So-called council advisory committees have zero clout and citizens invited to join a council committee similarly would soon discover that their words were falling on deaf ears. Not surprising that no one wanted that job.

  17. Dennis Fox says:

    Please don’t misinterpret my previous comment as meaning that the public are apathetic towards what takes place in our municipal government – instead they are just totally cheesed off by a council that continually ignores public input – whether it is in the way of a volunteer committee’s recommendations or the results of a referendum. The public do care and are watching – I am beginning to believe that the public simply don’t want to waste any more time on this council. Council has a lot to answer for – far more than most of them care to admit. What we need to do is to hold on for three long years and vote out those who deserve it.

  18. ADJ says:

    To Mark…online and Bellville! oh wait, also Napanee or the reserve.
    No reason to expect rural PEC residents to pony up for a Picton fiasco. Need someone to blame? Look to the Council of the day. There were other options for a new water plant, they just didn’t have the expertise to make the right choice. Were they ill informed, bull headed,no vision? Pick one or add some of your own.

  19. Susan says:

    Both Commissioners sit on this committee. One has her hands full ( for years) providing legislated compliance to the McFarland Home and the other one has roads literally falling apart. And they are going to solve water rates?? Perhaps it would have been better if they were not sitting on this committee and allowing more space for outside input.

  20. Mark says:

    If Picton residents suddenly stood up and collectively refused payment for these unsustainable water & wastewater charges where would the majority of rural residents acquire services? Really, where would they enjoy those urban services from food,banking, health care, supplies etc. This is bigger than the few that are paying through the nose!

  21. Fred says:

    I deeply hope an OMB appeal comes forward soon to deal with this Council and allow the residents voices to be heard and provide them equity in governance.

  22. Chuck says:

    I agree totally with Dennis’s take on this. Apathy has set in. I was thinking of applying for the committee as I believe thinking outside the box is necessary. There are a whole lot more people in this County who depend on water services in Picton than the town residents. But it is a committee loaded with beauraucrats and politicians. Why don’t they expand service on Lake St, Sandy Hook, etc. The Warring House and Hallowell House are on septic systems in this day and age. There is no plan to expand usage! But I have no faith or trust that a citizen could make productive change. I have seen residents opinions tossed to the wayside too many times and the Council Size debacle is still too fresh of a wound!!!!!!

  23. Dennis Fox says:

    I appreciate the gesture by the municipality to seek public involvement in their committees – because that is important in building a strong community. But to read in this article (according to our Mayor) that nothing like this(re: water rates committee) has been tried before is totally wrong! Not only was an exact same committee formed a few years ago to study exactly the same problems – to which they submitted recommendations that council ignored. It was the same thing with the Citizens’ Assembly – public volunteers spending their summer to come up with recommendations for a smaller council – and guess what? Ignore too by council! Both the Mayor and our Council have to realize that they have totally turned the public off – particularly by their recent decision on the size of council. I think what is happening now is very unfortunate, but totally understandable – the public aren’t prepared to work for a council who ignores them. And who is to blame?

  24. lou says:

    still time to apply…
    by tomorrow

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