I have said, to Council since the beginning of the Reduce the Size of Council Negotiation process, that I would reserve my decision, on this issue, until after the public meetings and when the public survey results were tabulated.
The public meetings were a flop with only a handful of residents attending those public meetings (approximately 60 participates in all three meetings combined) and when the results of the Public Survey were tabulated there were only 240 residents responding to the survey out of an electorate of 10,603 persons (only 2.27% of the electorate responded).
In addition, the survey showed that the Ward of Ramsay voted NO to a reduction to the size of Council by a margin of 57.4%, they voted NO to the election of a Deputy Mayor by a margin of 48.9% and they voted 56.4% in favour of keeping Council at the present size of 11 members.
I consider myself to be a Councillor that represents all of the residents of Mississippi Mills not just the Ward of Almonte and in my mind, there were not a reasonable number of residents participating in the processes used to determine the wishes of the residents on the Council Size issue and with the largest Ward in the amalgamated community saying that they did not want a reduction in the size of Council, I concluded that the results did not warrant giving Council the unilateral mandate to change the size of Council and that a more reliable means of getting a more accurate account of the residents wishes would be to hold a referendum during the 2014 election.
To this end, I will be putting forward a motion to Council to have a referendum put on the next municipal election ballot (2014) to allow a greater number of the residents to participate in the process (a referendum requires, at a minimum, 50% of the electorate to vote on the issue of making any changes to the Council format) and this will put this issue to bed once and for all. If the vote comes in that the residents, as a whole, agree to changes in the size of Council then any changes made will take effect in 2018. This is the democratic way of handling this issue.
Councillor Garry Dalgity
Town of Mississippi Mills