Dear Mayor and Councillors,
Since we will not be able to attend the open houses on determining the number of members for Mississippi Mill’s Council, we thought that you might like to know our views:
1 – The City of Ottawa only has 23 Councillors and one Mayor for a population of 870,000 – or each Councillor representing about 38,000 each. Each Ward only has one Councillor and there is no separate vote for a Deputy Mayor. (PS: MPs and MPPs each also represent vastly larger numbers of constituents than do our present Councillors.)
2 – Mississippi Mills has three Wards, ten Councillors and one Mayor for a population of about 11,000.
3 – Given the above comparison, we are of the view that we, in Mississippi Mills, could very well govern ourselves with two Councillors per Ward and one Mayor – for a total of 7 Council members. We would not support a separate position and vote for a Deputy Mayor.
4 – We would also be OK with increasing the compensation for Councillors, with an extra compensation for that Councillor who accepted the role of being Deputy Mayor during the Mayor’s absence PROVIDED that the total compensation does not exceed that which is presently being paid out for 10 Councillors and one Mayor.
We believe that a smaller Council would/might speed up deliberations of Motions and deliberations.
Also, on thinking that it might ‘…not be likely that we would make each ward equal…’ and understanding the unequal populations number reasons why, we would then suggest that we could split Almonte and Ramsay into two wards – ie: Almonte East and Almonte West and the same for Ramsay – and then have one Councillor per ward. That would reduce the numbers even further, with two from Almonte, two from Ramsay and one from Pakenham. Right now, we have four Councillors from Almonte and we do not know who really represents us. Some of the Almonte Councillors are very pro-active and some Almonte Councillors never respond – no names mentioned at this time.
As to having contact with one’s Councillor, especially in a rural setting, we do understand that more MAY be more advantageous than fewer. However, when some Councillors never engage and when MOST of citizenry also do not engage, we are not sure that having more Councillors helps that engagement. If more citizens became active and became engaged, we could see the workload mounting for Councillors BUT given the present perceived apathy of the population, we are not sure that the workload arguments works either – especially when we do not know which of our four Almonte Councillors we should go to. Hence, we now go to all four and certainly never hear back from all four. And why should all four Councillors be responding to our same issue? Why couldn’t one Councillor handle our issue/concern/comments?
Thems our views for what they are worth. We’d be pleased if they were taken into consideration.
Jennie and Ted (Legg)