Region of York: The Importance of Understanding This Level of Government
Since announcing that I will be filing my nomination papers to run for Regional Council and Deputy Mayor this May for the Fall election, I have had numerous conversations with residents, businesses and community groups.
A common theme that has emerged is that the Region of York is a level of government that many don’t fully understand, nor is there a full appreciation for its size and scope. The Regional Councillor and Deputy Mayor is a full-time role that sits on both Newmarket Council and York Regional Council. Also, for the first time ever, you will be voting for who serves as Chairperson of the Region of York this coming election.
The Region of York has a budget of $3 billion, and represents 42% of your residential property tax bill, compared to the Town of Newmarket which is 39%. When the Town of Newmarket increases taxes it gets a lot of attention, but think of the impact of decisions made at the Region of York and how they can impact you financially.
There needs to be a greater understanding of the Region of York amongst all residents. It is a level of government that impacts you on a daily basis, but garners much less attention… though it’s tough to compete with the Provincial and Federal Governments and Donald Trump these days!
Having served on Newmarket Council for over a decade, and working in the private sector for one of Newmarket’s largest employers, I’ve seen first hand how York Region Council decisions affect people’s lives. It’s in the works, but the time has come for residents and business owners to watch council meetings via live stream and archived video. One thing I can say with confidence after my time on Newmarket Council, is that the minutes of a council meeting often just tell part of the story. People should be able to see which elected officials spoke on issues and what they said.
When the election campaign begins this May, I am looking forward to not only talking about my ideas and vision for our Region and Town, but, to also make every effort to make information accessible. I strongly believe that an electorate that has a strong grasp of the challenges and opportunities for their government will be more likely to be actively engaged in the political process and ensure their voice is heard. We’re all better for that engagement and debate.
One of the common things I have been hearing from so many is that they’re tired of negative, attack style politics (I wrote a guest column on this a few years ago in the Newmarket Era ). One of my major goals will be to bring broader understanding of the Region of York over the coming months, as this will permit us to have a great discussion about ideas and concepts.
Region of York Facts:
· Population is approximately 1.2 million people, there are 600,000 jobs at over 50,000 businesses
· The Gross Domestic Product of the Region of York is growing at a faster rate than Toronto and the Province of Ontario
· Some of the services that the Region of York provides that impact you are: Planning, Public Health Services, Police and Paramedic Services, Economic Development, Transit, Infrastructure like water, wastewater, roads, housing, and so much more
Looking forward to speaking to you more over the coming months and getting to work making Newmarket, and York Region as a whole, a better place to live and work.