by Robert Washburn
The Hamilton Township ratepayers group created a wish list for candidates running in the fall municipal election.
Faye MacFarlane, president of the Citizen’s Council of Hamilton Township Ratepayers Association, said yesterday the group held a public consultation in December to come up a list of 19 points for those running in the October municipal election.
“What we asked people is what they would like to see in terms of changes on the council,” she said. “This is what people want.”
The list focuses on three primary areas: financial concerns, transparency and public participation, with numerous points under each title. The advocacy group has had multiple run-ins with the current council in seeking information and consultation over budgets, spending and public access to municipal documents. It successfully pressured the council to broadcast
meeting via live streaming on the internet.
In particular, there are recommendations around the making the budget process more comprehensive, as well as the make-up of the planning committee’s committee of adjustment, where they want to have three citizens and two councillors who annually rotate memberships.
The group is also clear it wants to reject any amalgamation or annexation talks with Cobourg or
other municipalities. Mayor Mark Lovshin introduced a motion at Northumberland County council in 2013 to explore the possibility of joining with other municipalities as part of a cost-saving effort. While amalgamation has not gone any further, the issue is regularly raised.
The group also want a public question and comment period following each committee of the whole meeting, plus archive all live streams of sessions indefinitely.
They also want “a mayor who does not direct staff on day-to-day operations,” according to its published list.
MacFarlane said the group wanted to outline a platform for the candidates in the hopes they might adopt some their suggestions.
However, the group has not ruled out the possibility of fielding candidates from its membership.
“I am not sure about what we are going to do. We are trying to be non-partisan. We will we how it goes. I suppose we have not made a decision. If there is an individual or individuals who run, there is a possibility the group could support somebody.”
The list is already in circulation throughout the township, MacFarlane said. Anyone who is interested in getting a copy, either as a candidate or as a voter, should contact the group.