Clement announces Advisory Panel on Open Government

Lots of tech people on panel; Clement wants to explore how to consult better using social media. Open Session likes Open Government. Hope all Conservatives get the memo. Does more exploration of how to do Open Government better mean Canadians can discuss issues without being called foreign supported radicals if we have opposing viewpoints? Will House debates (or MP speakers) be allowed to go deeply into issues before being shut down? Will Open Government ensure innovative scientists are not muzzled? Here's the presser from Clement's office today.

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement, and President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for FedNor, chaired today the first meeting of an advisory panel of leading experts to provide the Government with advice and guidance on its Open Government activities.

This follows the Government of Canada's recent online consultation that sought the views of Canadians on the priority activities that should be pursued as part of the Open Government Action Plan.

"I want to thank the Canadians who have contributed to our government's discussions on improving Canada's Open Government. I look forward to the insight that members of this advisory panel will now provide to advance Canada's Open Government agenda," Clement said.

"Canada is a leader in Open Government and we will stay there by continually seeking to improve. Bringing together this group of experts will provide us with another important channel of consultation on the path to the development and implementation of Canada's Open Government Action Plan."

Chaired by the President of the Treasury Board, the panel comprises experts from civil society, business, academia and independent commentators from Canada and abroad. Members will consider how to best harness Open Government opportunities for innovation and knowledge sharing, and explore how federal organizations can do an even better job of consulting Canadians by making effective use of new tools like social media.

Township plans to buy parking lots & parkland for $234K

On March 5 (anticipated budget adoption day at Council), will we know what the Township of Muskoka Lakes is planning to buy? The next regular meeting of the Township will consider adopting the budget in its most recent version. But questions remain on exactly what taxpayer dollars are being spent on. Property matters are 'closed session' items, but shouldn't the public know what land Township has decided to buy — where that land is and what it is for. According to the budget, $160,000 is to be spent to buy parking space; $74,000 to buy parkland. Have these needs been pointed out before? No doubt. Take a drive though Port Carling on any summer weekend and you can see there could be need for some extra parking. In Bala, parking lots are used even though some are privately owned lands. So where are we getting this extra parking and is it a good use of our money? The same goes for parkland. That sounds promising. More public access to the water perhaps? The problem is, without any idea of what is being bought and where, and whether the purchase lines up to the Strategic Plan, it leaves us wondering what the Township council will unveil. It's like they're planning for a private shopping spree and then they'll have to sell us on how great these land buys are after the fact. Sort of, you paid for this, now aren't you happy? I hope we will be. The Treasurer has also said there is significant investment planned for heritage, but there's no suggestion the real estate buys and heritage are connected. The budget for heritage has gone from $2,000 to $25,000 (the committee asked for $30K). So far, the heritage committee's track record hasn't been so great given the questions about descriptions of heritage value, etc, — maybe they need this consultation money to find out if lands they're trying to designate are owned, etc, as in the case of Portage Landing and the Shield Parking Lot which the MNR says is partially owned by the Crown and the Conservation Review Board wants to know if this is indeed the case. (The question of Crown ownership is not news — it's come up several times over the past year so you would think that might have been addressed in the submission to the Municipal Heritage. Also, a recent member of the committee has at least once referred to the township as Muskoka Falls Township in correspondence with the province which also shows a lack of knowledge, but I digress). Another question to be asked at a promised upcoming public meeting — is this $25K worth spending if it will help the committee get it right? Certainly, their efforts are noble. But here's the kicker: Isn't this the same council comprising candidates who loudly decried what they called 'wasteful' spending on the Duke House? While not designated for heritage, it is historic. And I believe the public knew the Duke House purchase was a possibility before it went ahead. It just seems odd that they plan on spending more now when they complained about the only serious heritage related spending in the past 10 years. And of course, I still hear the ringing calls for "no more closed meetings" by then mayoral candidate Alice Murphy. The problem with keeping items under wraps is that the rumour mill takes over. Several sources have suggested what parking lots the Township is looking at, but the parkland is more of a mystery. Is Phil Harding trying to make good on his campaign suggestion to buy the rock pile (nope, that already sold). What about trying to buy land around the Bala Falls (nope, MNR said no to a transfer). More public water access would be great. And when we find out what we bought, hopefully we'll all be very happy with the decision of our elected councillors. Ah, c'mon, just a hint? Can we at least shake the deed envelopes?

Recess isn’t always Fun

They get the most votes. Should a mayor get more power, too?

Recently a councilor at a township council meeting expressed support for a local organization under the withering glance of his mayor. Oh dear. Recess was called, office doors were closed, and then everybody shuffled back in again, and council resumed. Suddenly, the councilor that was out of step was reported to be back in tune with the others on council who seem to have issue with that local organization. All is right with that municipal world again. Or is it?

When Mayor Ford lost a vote to build subway tunnels in favor of above ground transit he didn't want, he said, oh well, the province will do what it wants anyway (he thought the province would side with him. It didn’t). Interesting that some mayors may fight for local autonomy but if council doesn’t row in the same direction they might quickly kick the issue upstairs to the next level of government. If council is in line, it’s local autonomy all the way.

So, Mayors of North America. What will it be? You know you’re the favorite child because more people got to vote for you than they do for your ward councilors (or parish or however you slice up your muni). So when things don’t go well with the siblings (your lesser voted for councilors), you go running to mummy to daddy? Or do you just pull rank and bully those rogues into submission? So many questions. Let’s look at some answers.

Let’s say YES, the Mayor deserves more power because more people in the region voted for that person. So you could give a Mayor veto power over council. Or you can do as some governing structures do and create a unicameral council as a sort of upper legislative branch of the body. That sort of describes what’s known as the strong mayor form of mayor-council government. OOH – that sounds familiar. Our local school board does that. Everybody gets elected in their school board regions separately, but then the members of the school board vote for a “CHAIRS COUNCIL” which gives three people slightly more power over the rest. Maybe they make decisions that might not really ever get to all of the board. Oh, I can hear school board officials saying 'that never happens.' Trust me, I’ve been there, it does. So on a school board you really have to know your governance rules.

(A nod to Wikipedia for some background here – not the best source and in my head I can see my uni prof shaking his head sadly, but I’ll give them a paragraph of space here anyway: “In the strong-mayor form the elected mayor is given almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide range of political independence, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval and little, or no public input. In this system, the strong-mayor prepares and administers the city budget, although the council must often approve that budget. Abuses in this form led to the development of the council–manager form of local government and its adoption widely throughout the United States.:)

On a municipal council, there is usually NO chairs council or unicameral council – no strong-mayor form. A mayor has one vote just like everybody else. So things don’t happen as fast as a mayor (and often the public that voted him or her in) might like. But you do get varied voices and opinions to truly represent the electorate. Which I think is good. It was certainly a kick in the pants for Ford.

Closer to home, will we see the same thing happen in councils here? Tired from too long hours, struggling with a lack of experience and recognizing how low the pay is for their efforts, it can be easy to just go along with the guy or gal at the top. This week the public heard a councilor say ‘that’s just rude’ to a mayor. That councilor spoke up. Not taking it anymore, it appears. The other councilor who dared speak for his constituents became meek after what some sources say appeared to be a ‘correction in course’ during that mysterious recess.

There is a lot to be said for a council that speaks cohesively when decisions are arrived at. Generally, we can agree that is good governance. You can say, “I disagree as an individual but support Council’s decision,” That can be hard to swallow some times but it’s the democratic and decent thing to do (and it's OK to try every way open to you under the rules to try and re-open discussion to see if you can change the collective mind on a decision.) But if you get tired and you just decide to knuckle under or worse: Can’t express an opposing opinion during DISCUSSION prior to a decision, something’s rotten. Keep a close eye on our new councils people. It’s our taxpayer dollars, our culture, and our democracy that’s at risk when a mayor successfully adopts a strong-mayor form approach where one does not exist.

-30-

Not the N Word: When Vocabulary Causes Trouble

Not THAT N Word, confirms CAO.

Sources who thought they heard the N word come up during budget discussions at Muskoka Lakes Council yesterday heard wrong, says Councillor Jean Ann Baranik. A word was used by a Councillor that ended in 'grr' but it wasn't the word associated with a racial slur, she says.

CAO Walt Schmidt concurred, saying the context was in regard to a council contribution to the library which one councillor referred to as being "nigarrdly." The two words in question are etymologically unrelated. The word nigarrdly is an adjective meaning being reluctant to give or spend or to be stingy or miserly.

MNW sees no point in identifying the Councillor with the expansive vocabulary.

 

 

 

 

Snoop and Spy Lawful Access gives me the heebie jeebies. You?

We all want sex predators shut down, but warrantless Snoop & Spy affects us all. Think about it.

I believe they've removed the get your mobile number info bit, but still — this legislation is being tabled and moving ahead and as one smart web guru from France said to me today: "This is Canada's SOPA and PIPA… under the pretext to look for sex predators, they also open the door to snoop on us without any warrant… "big brother" is too close to be true." So speak up if you don't want the feds snooping without warrants. (And here in Muskoka my broadband's so slow that they would know I posted this before I can even see it! Facetious, yes, but they can set google alerts for every time someone blogs a complaint about federal intrusion thus giving credence to my paranoia…)  Let the Hon. Vic Toews, the federal minister of public safety, know of your disapproval of the forthcoming "Lawful Access" legislation (or approval if you think this is OK, but just how much privacy are you willing to give up?". 

SEND VIC A VALENTINE – check out the links below (NOTE: it's a PDF you have to print)

I agree with the Send Vic Toews a Valentine site http://www.sendvictoewsavalentine.ca/ that says:

Warrantless access to your online identity and activities is a breach of your fundamental right to privacy.  Since this is a month devoted to softer feelings, why not send Vic http://www.sendvictoewsavalentine.ca/ a valentine. We've created a postcard version that you can download and print, but if you prefer to make up your own, please share it back to us 🙂

For more information about lawful access legislation see www.unlawfulaccess.ca and stopspying.ca

NORAH'S NOTE: The 'send Vic a valentine' is a downloadable PDF you then print and send – perhaps it's better you let our local MP Tony Clement know what you think.

 

Muskoka District services review under way

The Citizen Advisory Committee has been meeting with District committees all week as it begins its District service review. Today, committee members may ask questions of the Community Services committee. The budget is topping District minds and public questions and comments are encouraged during these meetings, so if you have concerns, get out to District today (Wed. Feb 15) at 130 pm. For agenda info, visit the District site: www.muskoka.on.ca

Don’t Miss TED Talk in Bracebridge Mar 8: Apply Now to Be There

What's Possible Muskoka? TEDx coming to Muskoka Campus March 8. Apply by Feb. 24.

Here's the catch: you HAVE to apply. Don't miss this day. Apply to attend (it's free) by February 24 by going to TEDxNipissingu web site. If you've never seen a TED Talk, take some time to check it out. Here's the site. Just click on Apply to Attend and maybe I'll see you there. Fingers crossed our applications get picked! http://www.tedxnipissingu.com/?page_id=138

Tell PM Harper what you think on energy efficiency and jobs

PM Harper wants to hear from you

Do you think energy efficiency should be part of Canada's jobs strategy?  

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to hear from you as part of pre-budget consultations. Click on the link to have your say.

 

http://www.fin.gc.ca/prebudget-prebudgetaire/1-eng.asp

Editor Norah's opinion? Yes, absolutely it should be part of any jobs strategy. MNW mantra: You can’t separate economy from environment – or at least, you shouldn’t.

Snowmobiler charged in head on crash on Graves Road

Yet another snowmobile crash this weekend in Muskoka. Police have charged 39 year old Paul Clark of Fergus with careless driving after two sleds collided head-on. The crash happened on a trail near Graves Road in Bracebridge and comes on the heels of a deadly crash that killed two Woodbridge men on Saturday. (For full story, see Muskoka To-Daily).

Sled Crash Victims Identified

MUSKOKA LAKES: The two men who died in a snowmobile crash on a Milford Bay trail have been identified as 51-year-old Rino Mazzuca and 51-year-old Antonio Mazzuca of Woodbridge. They were cousins.

Police say two snowmobiles carrying four people were on the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trail D102 on Saturday.. At 11:30am, one of the sleds left the trail, killing the operator and passenger. The official cause of the crash has not been determined. The investigation continues.

First meeting of Muskoka Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC)

District Services Review gets under way Friday, Feb. 10 with new CAC

The new committee meets for the first time this Friday, Feb 10. Engaged citizens from across Muskoka applied to be selected for the committee and, drum roll please, they are:

Meet your District of Muskoka Citizen Advisory Committee

Douglas M. Monett
Jeff N. Clark
Phyllis Winnington-Ingram
Lindsay Proctor
Robert (Bob) Switzer
Mary Anne Carson
Bill Rogers
Andree Baillargeon
Cheryl Hollows

The committee's terms of reference can be found on the District site: http://www.muskoka.on.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?NewsID=84

Volunteers on this committee should be congratulated for taking on a big job: reviewing the services currently being provided, the level of service, the method of service delivery and/or new services. The CAC may make recommendations to the Steering Committee on how the public
should have input into the Review process. The Steering Committee is Chaired by John Klinck and Vice Chair Scott Young made up of these other elected officials:
Shane Baker
Fran Coleman
Bob Colhoun
Lori-Lynn Giaschi-Pacini
Alice Murphy
Paul Wiancko

Bracebridge Hydro Plant Online – A What’s Up Story

WIlson's Falls is now operating – green energy being generated.

Flip through this edition of What's Up to read story on Bracebridge Generation putting Wilson's Falls plant on line. http://eedition.whatsupmuskoka.com/doc/Whats-Up-Muskoka/wum_bb_grv_feb8_2012/2012020301/#0 <http://eedition.whatsupmuskoka.com/doc/Whats-Up-Muskoka/wum_bb_grv_feb8_2012/2012020301/%230>

Ok, Bracebridge residents – what do you think?

 

Updated Muskoka Lakes Strategic Plan posted Feb 6

Township of Muskoka Lakes updated their Committee of the Whole package today at noon to include an updated version of the Strategic Plan. Hope Council gets a chance to review it before meeting tomorrow (Feb 7) at 1 pm. To see the plan, go to this link and click on the Feb 7 Agenda Package.

http://www.muskokalakes.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?PageID=143

 

Public Budget Q&A at Township of Muskoka Lakes

Township of Muskoka Lakes Public Budget Session Recap

Comment/informal recap by Norah Fountain

About 12 people showed up to ask questions or hear about the Township of Muskoka Lakes budget tonight (Feb 6). The Mayor surprised me by saying they would go from her right to left to give people an opportunity to delegate which put me on the hot seat to delegate. While I posted on this site that it was a public meeting, I never 'got the memo' on how things would proceed tonight. In fact, last week when I asked the CAO about the Strategic Plan, I got an email back from the Clerk that I could delegate or provide a written submission about the Strat Plan (but since it was Thursday and normally you have to ask to delegate a week before I assumed I wouldn't be able to… But you know what assume does – it makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'.). So I was surprised when called upon and said 'i didn't think I would delegate'. But will wonders never cease? I did decide to ask a question — and they still let me have an opportunity to speak (much appreciated). First, the good news: it's official: Torrance Community Centre will continue to have its wireless internet connection for the Community Access Program (CAP) site there (I didn't see it on the budget for the centre and asked about it). CAO Walt Schmid says a deal has been made with Core Broadband to keep up the connection without billing. That's great news for all those who use it. Admittedly, I was a little unclear on my next question, apparently, as it warranted a very long answer. I asked: Was the strategic plan approved before the 2011 budget was set. That caused some confusion as we're now talking 2012 but there was method in my madness which eventually became clear: I asked again, was there a motion to pass the strategic plan before setting the 2011 budget. The answer was No, but the Council hopes to get the Strategic Plan passed in step with this 2012 budget. I asked if they were using a Plan, Predict, Control type of budgeting which seemed to confuse council too, so I explained what I meant — plan (as the treasure had mentioned, they look at historic budgets and plan according). I also threw in that planning (i.e. the increase in the economic development budget) usually means that there are strategies and tactics to put monies against (of the type one might find in a Strategic Plan). More good news: the updated Strategic Plan went up on the Township website today at Noon. The bad news: there won't be any public opportunity like tonight's public budget session for the public to give any input into the Strategic Plan. So it was a good news/bad news type of evening. I guess if the public wants to be engaged, they better start looking at the agenda packs more carefully on Thursday/Friday before council meetings on Mon/Tues. So who 'did get the memo'? I think it's important to mention the people who do keep a careful watch on what's happening and do try and stay engaged. The Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce had three people in attendance, the MLA had the wonderful Cheryl Hollows there, the Muskoka Ratepayers had Jack and Pat Sinclair, Susan Daglish and Mike Webb (and they were quick to point out that they had no official rep on the budget committee and seem a little miffed that the MLA did, but the Mayor spoke to that as well — that it was just fortunate that some of the selected people also had association affiliations). Who else? A gentleman in the corner I didn't know and former councillor Ian Wallace also spoke passionately for the Wall. I think that was it. The press desk had Corey of What's Up and Louis Tam of Bracebridge Examiner. If I missed anybody, my apologies. The point is, few people turn out to Council meetings. This meeting was an opportunity for public to speak — something I applaud Council for doing — but I really wish I had gotten the memo. Seriously, I had no idea we would be asked to ask questions. I was more hoping for an overview of the budget – at least before questions. No one asked about the Council giving themselves a raise – and especially after denying staff a 1% raise for a year I was surprised it didn't come up. Susan Daglish on behalf of the Ratepayers had some concerns but according to Council, these were all normal budget things… I'll share their concerns in another post in the morning.

NOT Just another Pic In The Wall…

Wallace on the Wall at Muskoka Lakes Budget Session

Former councillor Ian Wallace gave Township of Muskoka Lakes a history lesson tonight (Feb. 6) during a public budget meeting on the creation of the historic digital Wall of photos in Port Carling — he was looking for some support to give the wall its needed facelift. He said 'if' volunteer support was welcomed, the former committee would be willing to try and raise funds again to get the wall back into shape. Councillor Nishikawa answered yes, the council loves volunteers. But there was nothing said about council providing any matching dollars. On being asked by the Mayor on moving forward plans, Wallace suggested it would be a good idea to plan to refurbish the wall at least every five years — but he noted technology is always changing quickly. But he assured Council it was not a simple lick and polish fix that's needed…that it's not just another Pic In The Wall….For now there is $70,000 in the budget for remedial work for the Wall.

Confirm or deny: could Milford Manor cost a cool mill?

Question at public budget meeting tonight: Confirm or Deny Milford Manor?

Intrepid Bracebridge Examiner reporter Louis Tam asked if he could ask a question during a public session tonight at the Township of Muskoka Lakes and he was graciously given an opportunity to do so.

But he was asking on a Closed Session legal item, so he didn't get an answer. Paraphrasing here, Tam asked: Can you confirm or deny the million dollars in the budget has anything to do with Milford Manor (apparently meaning a lawsuit everyone seems to know about but nobody outside council is supposed to know about). He was told he had already been told they couldn't talk about that but that the subject of the million dollar line item had been discussed earlier in the evening in response to Muskoka Ratepayers asking about it. At that time, when Councillor Brad Burgess suggested all would eventually be abundantly clear on that extraordinary item (the million dollar legal estimate), Mayor Alice Murphy quickly added "Or Not." Which makes one wonder if reporter Louis Tam had connected some dots.

Just need some other pics in The Wall

Wallace on The Wall

Former councillor Ian Wallace gave Township of Muskoka Lakes a history lesson tonight (Feb. 6) during a public budget meeting on the creation of the historic digital Wall of photos in Port Carling — he was looking for some support to give the wall its needed facelift. He said 'if' volunteer support was welcomed, the former committee would be willing to try and raise funds again to get the wall back into shape. Councillor Nishikawa answered yes, the council loves volunteers. But there was nothing said about council providing any matching dollars. On being asked by the Mayor on moving forward plans, Wallace suggested it would be a good idea to plan to refurbish the wall at least every five years — but he noted technology is always changing quickly.

 

What is Open Session?

Ask me a question: I'll do my best to answer on this opinion page.

Ask me a question about somethiung happening in Muskoka, most specifically something that might involve your local council or school board or other governing body that you might wonder about, and I'll go try and find the answer. After all, everybody talks about the importance of transparency, right?

That's what Open Session is – a column that declares Open Season on all topics governing bodies would rather we never new about. Send me a News Tip in the Contact session and I will never divulge who asked the question. Please give me some contact info so I can get some context but you will be a un-named source — unless you want to be identified in the spirit of open-ness (That's even better!).

You'll see just what a journalist goes through to get the facts and nothing but the facts. But usually they need three sources before they even act. But asking a question never hurt, did it?

Well, actually it can. But with the God of investigative journalism watching out for all reporters asking innocent questions, all will be good.

So – what do you want to know? There are no dumb questions. Just answers to be found.

Key words: Open Session, Closed Session, News Tip, Muskoka

 

 

Links to Township of Muskoka Lakes Budget & Strategic Plan

Tonight's the night to give public input into the Township of Muskoka Lakes budget: Don't like the idea of tax hikes or raises or million dollar legal fees? Better speak up.

Here is the links to the budget. Click on the February 6 Agenda Package to download it once you get here: http://www.muskokalakes.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?PageID=143

Here is the link to what has publicly been released so far as the Strategic Plan (which guides departmental business plans at Township). Again, this will prompt a download.(Don't blame me, it's how the Township has it set up)

https://muskokalakes.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentDisplay.aspx?ID=39589

Have asked but there's no word yet on whether public will get chance to comment on Strategic Plan (which normally helps guide township departmental budgets).

Read these and if you want to comment, please do!

About Muskoka News Watch (MNW)

About Muskoka News Watch (MNW)

We are Muskoka's News Aggregator: Here you can see headlines from all local media outlets: we applaud our local journalists and recommend you visit their news sites regularly via the news feeds you see here. Eventually we hope to include all local news providers on this site. Right now you will find the top headlines as they appear on Metroland's leading local publications in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville and Parry Sound. The independent Muskoka To-Daily is here as is the news feed from HBG Radio's Moose FM. You will also find opinions here that may make you smile or make you grit your teeth or both.

 

Muskoka News Watch (MNW) exists because the public deserves transparency from its governing bodies. We believe good journalism stems from moral outrage, such as when there is any suggestion that a lack of transparency exists, or when members of the public become fearful of asking questions of those in power and are uncomfortable 'going on record' for whatever reason. While we are ready and willing to 'poke the bear' as necessary, we also celebrate times when our councils, boards and other bodies of power exemplify transparency in what they do.

 

How we work: MNW will follow up on news tips from anonymous sources and may comment on those tips in the commentary/opinion section entitled Open Session with Norah Fountain. Those tips may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team. Following ethical journalistic practice, no story is reported under Breaking News unless at least three sources have confirmed the story. We will never reveal our anonymous news sources to anyone. Guaranteed. Furthermore, Muskoka News Watch maintains a strict firewall between advertisers and editorial. We are so happy for support by our advertisers but advertisers have no say or influence over any story that appears here.

 

Legal information: Now for the stuff we believe our legal advisors want us to day. This website has been prepared solely for the purpose or providing information about news that matters and the services offered by MNW. No representation is made as to the completeness or accuracy of the information it contains. In particular, you should be aware that this information may be incomplete, may contain errors or may have become out of date. The contents of reports can become out-of-date. MNW makes no commitment, and disclaims any duty, to update any of those reports. We reserve the right to add, modify or delete any information at this website at any time. The opinions expressed by contributors to MNW may not necessarily reflect the opinions of MNW editorial staff or advisors. Speakers’ Corner allows anyone to express opinions about matters that matter to them, preferably related to Muskoka-Parry Sound. Speakers’ Corner posts must contain the author’s name.

©2012 Muskoka News Watch

 

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Little whispers re Muskoka Lakes golf course law suit

Sources say the Township of Muskoka Lakes might be getting closer to making a lawsuit go away. Just how much that will cost is anybody's guess. Those legal fee lines in the new budget likely don't include a settlement cost as there has been word the golf course people were seeking tens of millions of dollars. Of course, everybody starts a lawsuit big. No other details available other than sources say a closed session meeting was held Friday, Feb 3. Eventually it will have to come into open session — at least that a lawsuit was settled, right? And surely they will tell us how much it was settled for and whether insurance will cover it. Or whether that will add to tax hikes expected to show up on tax bills this fall…. Time will tell.

Note: Legal matters are always handled in Closed Session but the decision should be ratified in Open Session. That's what transparency is all about. And that's what this blog space is all about — asking for the transparency the public deserves from all public councils, governments, boards et al.

Coming Soon: Send a News Tip will be up and running soon. Tip anonymously or give us your contact details – no one ever sees the tip publicly. And you'll get your say on muskokanewsarchive.com, too — but as transparency rules, you can't sound off in Speakers' Corner unless you sign your name to your post.

Gotta love democracy.

Public input requested into Muskoka Lakes Budget on Monday

Budget and Strategic Plan Deliberations week of February 6 – if you want to have say on Strategic Plan, view the Plan in its current form from November. Here is link to Strategic Plan in the form provided last week:
https://muskokalakes.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentDisplay.aspx?ID=39589

Budget/Plan Meetings start again Monday, February 6.

– Special Meeting of Council Monday February 6, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.at which time public input will be received regarding the draft budget.
– A Special Meeting of Committee of the Whole will be held on Tuesday February 7,
2012 at 1:00 p.m. for budget deliberation.
– A Regular Meeting of Committee of the Whole will be held on Tuesday February 14,
2012 at 9:00 a.m. for budget recommendation.