This year MoneySense refined their ranking criteria to define the best overall quality of life for large cities, mid-sized cities like ours and small cities across the country. The new evaluation criteria, which better compares apples to apples, include employment, housing costs, healthcare, weather, crime rates, amenities, culture and property taxes. Visit MoneySense Magazine for more details about the list and methodology.
In Halton Region, Oakville was ranked as the 2nd best mid-Size City to live in Canada, and Milton and Halton Hills also ranked in the top ten Small Cities to live. We are very fortunate to live in a safe and prosperous region.
Council and Staff have been hard at work on the City Budget for 2013. The proposed budget was approved by Budget and Corporate Services on February 28 with a tax rate increase of 4.46% The budget will go to City Council for final approval on March 18.
Over the past couple of months I have heard from many residents and cyclists regarding the proposed bike lanes on Lakeshore Road. At the January 28 Council meeting, City Council did not support the recommendation to add bike lanes on Lakeshore Road. After long and careful consideration on this issue, I decided not to support this pilot project proposal.
Last month I began linking both the upcoming committee agendas and the City Committee Highlights to my monthly progress report to facilitate quick access for you to view the issues being addressed and the resulting decisions by Council. I have received good feedback on this and will continue to make this one of the first pieces in my reports.
December has been another busy month as we completed our final city Council Meeting for 2012 on December 10, and our final Regional Council meeting on December 12. The last cycle of Committee Meetings for the City addressed many items.
One of the challenges residents have is sorting through the reports generated for Committee and Council to understand what the issues being addressed by Council are and the results of Committee and Council deliberation.
A pilot was started in October to report in a better way the activities of Council. This can be found in the Agenda and Minutes web page on the City Web site. This is an excellent way for residents to view the issues being addressed and the resulting decisions.