KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor, Andy Letham, gave local residents and business community members an update on the City’s accomplishments, as well as a glimpse of the future, at the Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce’s Mayoral Luncheon, on Wednesday, May 17th.
The event was held at the Lindsay Golf and Country Club. Mayor Letham opened his speech by stating, for years the municipality has been focused on a goal of keeping property taxes low.
“We’ve borrowed money, and we’ve used up our reserves to make up that difference. We’ve burned through, in the last 10 years, $36 million of our reserves, to keep those property taxes at, what we feel is, a reasonable level as politicians,” he said.
He added, the most common question, for councillors come budget time, is how high of a tax increase residents should be burdened with.
“What I think we should really be doing is asking the bigger question. What kind of city do we want to have? What kind of city do we want to create? What are our goals or our vision for the City of Kawartha Lakes? How much is that vision going to cost?” Mayor Letham said.
The Mayor said, Council is expected to hear more about the city’s asset management plan in the coming weeks.
“We will soon be in a much better position to make some long term decisions,” he said.
In addition, Mayor Letham discussed the city’s core service review. He said the review has shown the city “didn’t need as many libraries, service centres or fire stations.”
“The numbers told us that they were being underutilized or were over supplied, and the public has, for the most part, agreed with us,” he said. “We’ve also been able to use our core service [review] to change the way we do business, to affect a better outcome. In 2017, because of internal changes that we made at the city, we were successful in winning $2 million in additional grants, to cover some of the work for our water and waste-water systems.”
The Mayor also discussed council’s decision to discontinue trailer park operations, at Bobcaygeon’s Beach Park.
“We are working with the community later this year to determine the best way to utilize this prime waterfront area, to create a really nice park,” he said.
Mayor Letham then discussed the state of the city’s road infrastructure.
“We need to take better care of our roads,” he said, adding the city needs a better plan to keep up with the climate changes which are shortening the life cycle of their roads.
Mayor Letham concluded by mentioning the importance of each decision council makes from now on.
“We are making decisions now that will affect us today, that will affect our children tomorrow, future citizens five years from now and our grandchildren 10 years from now,” he said.