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LETTER: Resident gives Midland council pat on back for budget work

'Council does care and experienced stress and anguish in setting the budget,' reader says. 'This was not easy for them, nor was it for staff'

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to recent Midland budget discussions.

Dear Editor, 

I am writing to express my support for Midland council and town staff for their efforts around the budget.

Having taken part in the public meeting and watched the budget deliberations, I have no doubt that council acted in good faith and put in their best efforts to ensure that residents get the services they expect from the town, while keeping taxes from skyrocketing.

I for one can think of more specific and concrete examples that could increase taxes than I have heard proposed for reductions.

The truth is the main method I have heard proposed for reductions is the concept of ‘efficiencies' without specific examples, except to cut services the proponent doesn’t believe in (which is about values not efficiencies).

As I wrote in a letter to council, after deliberations there will undoubtedly be decisions they regret, but that there were no easy choices this budget cycle. There is a huge infrastructure debt, and the town has been impacted by inflation and supply chain issues as has occurred with businesses, families and individuals.

In addition, the total dollars available will not be significantly higher due to the overheated housing market. This is because the province has frozen MPAC assessments due to the pandemic distorting the housing market.

In my letter to council, I made the unfortunate comment that ‘whiners and grifters’ would complain about the budget. That was not intended to suggest that anyone who is not happy with the budget is a ‘whiner or grifter’ (I don’t think anyone on council or staff is truly ‘happy’ with the budget, but they are glad it has been set and that the decisions, hard as they were, have been made), but was really referring to the alarming and disturbing tone of political discourse, particularly on social media.

In short, council does care and experienced stress and anguish in setting the budget. This was not easy for them, nor was it for staff. Therefore, I applaud their efforts and even though there are several items that are near and dear to me that did not make the cut, I support their decisions. 

I wish them all the best and thank them for this often thankless task.

Daniel Dickinson