King Township Meeting - January 23, 2023
Updated: Jan 25
Jan. 23, 2023
This is a long post... sorry! It's budget time and the document is huge (over 300 pages). I've been through it and have summarized the highlights for you, but I've also included links to all the documents you need if you want to get into the details. This video of the meeting includes presentation from each department but will be available to view for two-weeks only.
The Strathcona Cup was hosted by the King Curling Club at Trisan on Jan 21st. The event is a Canadian and Scottish men curlers friendly competition and our hometown team won two of the four games.
Volunteer Appreciation Awards are open. Each year, the King hosts a Volunteer Appreciation Night to honour and celebrate one of the Township’s most important resources: its volunteers. Categories include Citizen of the Year, Special Recognition Award, Non-Resident, Senior Citizen Award of Merit, Lifetime Achievement, and Youth Award of Merit. Please complete the nomination form here. Nominations close on March 13, 2023.
Schomberg Community Hall is hosting an open house to celebrate the completion of renovations. The building is now an energy efficient, environmentally conscious and fully accessible space which is welcoming the community on Friday Feb. 3 from 5-7pm. You can book the hall for your event at firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Exhibition at King Heritage and Culture Centre. Stereotype Smash is the second annual art exhibit in recognition of International Women’s Day, in partnership with Arts Society King. Featuring 39 artists, this exhibit confronts societal beliefs that have outlasted their usefulness, are dated, inappropriate or are just plain untrue. Themes include gender roles, equality, ideal bodies, aging and more. Artists were challenged to take a stereotype and address it in both their art and artist statement. Stereotype Smash runs from January 14 to March 18, 2022 (Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm) at the KHCC, 2920 King Rd., King City, Ontario, L7B 1L6. Admission by donation.
The King Council Annual Pancake Breakfast will be held January 28th from 9-11am at the Dr. William Laceby Nobleton Community Centre & Arena followed by a free skate.
Try Para Ice Hockey on Feb. 28th from 4:30-6pm at Trisan Centre. All abilities are welcome, no previous experience necessary.
Registration is Open for March Break Camp - programs are running at Nobleton and King City arenas for children 4-7 and 8-14. Limited spots so register early.
King is hiring for summer camps – click here to find out more.
2023 Budget Presentation
King hosted an Open House last week for residents to discuss the budget with all the directors of each of the departments. Below are the link to the entire budget book and the condensed presentation.
I do support the proposed budget which includes a 4.95% tax increase for 2023. King was able to keep the tax increase to practically nil over the last two years to help offset the problems caused by COVID, but that is not sustainable. Everyone is dealing with inflation, labour shortages, and supply chain issues, which is why a review of tax increases in surrounding area reveals similar increases even though many had also introduced larger increases during COVID.
A large portion of the increase comes from the addition of 11 new Full Time Equivalent jobs across six departments which have each made a persuasive case for their need to support or improve operations and service levels. You can read the rational and costs associated with each new employee request in the Budget Book towards the end of each department's section.
There are several major Capital Budget items underway that were previously approved by the last council including:
1) Township Wide Recreation Centre (TWRC): $86,000,000 (2018-2024). $18,009,727 in 2023 and balance $5,518,300 in 2024
2) 10th Concession – King Road to 15th Sideroad to Hwy 27 (2019-2024) $9,763,879 with $7,405,400 split over 2023/2024
3) Kettleby Road Reconstruction $1,800,000 split between 2023-2025 with $300,000 in 2023
4) Reinterpret Train Station & Church $1,570,000 split over 2023-2025 with $70,000 in 2023
There are also several projects in the 10-Year Capital Plan. These projects have not yet been approved and are subject to change but include: 1) King City Fire Expansion $1,500,000 (2024-2025)
2) New Sports Park $4,620,500 (2024-2026)
3) Artificial Turf (Including Lights) $2,500,000 (2025-2026)
4) Nobleton Library Expansion - $3,441,962 (2024-2026)
5) Sewer Upgrades – Holden Drive, King Road, Hwy#27, Wellar Avenue - $3,300,000 (2024-2026)
6) Road Reconstruction – 8th Concession to 15th Sideroad to King Road - $1,000,000 (2025-2026)
Pages 12-17 of the condense budget report includes some very helpful graphs which show the effect of these various projects on King’s reserve funds. I recommend that you listen to Ms. Tollett’s explanation of each from 26:15min to 32:00min - remember this link will only be available for two weeks.
Overall, staff have requested an increase of 4.95% which amounts to about $15 for every $100,000 of your assessed property value. Neither York Region or Board of Education rates are known and as municipal tax rates are blended with these two there may be a small overall reduction.
Roads in the Budget
Naturally, I paid particular attention to the gravel roads that are planned to be paved this year. The $800,000 budget for this year's conversions includes the following roads:
• 17th Sideroad from Weston Road to Highway 400
• Concession Road 8 from King Road to South End
• 18th Sideroad from Jane Street to West End
I lobbied hard for other roads to be considered, but was advised that King's 10 Year Paving Strategy and Pavement Management Plan report (the link to this document is on my Roads page) that was approved in 2020 is the source that staff use to determine the priority in which roads will be addressed. Period.
You may be as frustrated as I was with this answer, as it may seem that you don't need to be an expert to drive on some of our roads to quickly conclude that there are many that seem to be in much worse condition than those selected. After lots of discussion, I have come to accept (if still not like) the need for the town to rely on the analysis provided by the experts who create this report. Several senior staff members explained to me that if we start to make changes - however reasonable they may be - the document as a whole loses its integrity and any decisions become "indefensible". The good news is that a new version of this report is due in Q2 and will include an updated list of road priorities based on new and comprehensive geotechnical reviews. Given the importance of this document in guiding the township over the next two years (the report is done every two years) I will be going over it with a fine-tooth comb before it is approved. I will also be certain to share this document with you so that you have a chance to comment as well.
Aside from the road selections, I also looked at the budget for the gravel road conversion to see if we could add more roads. I learned that gravel road conversions are primarily paid for out of Development Charges (DCs) which are fees collected by the township from developers to help pay for the increased cost to provide municipal services and infrastructure to a growing population. The concept is that "Growth pays for growth"... though there are several studies that say DC fees don't cover all the costs of growth which are then left to current residents to fund. The provinces new housing bills only add to that... but all that's a discussion for another day.
When DCs are collected, there is a specific formula for how the money is allocated into each department:
Despite the high percentage allocated to roads (Services Related to a Highway), the funds have been used for the large projects listed in the Capital Budget noted above that were approved by the previous council. This means that there is currently no money left in the fund to pave more gravel roads.
Don't fret, though! The chart below shows the balance of the fund over the next 10 years. This takes into account the cost of the projects that are planned and the amount of anticipated DCs and shows the net balance.
When the fund is replenished I will be in a much better position to get more roads paved.
Council will vote on the budget at the next session on February 6th. Please let me know if you have any questions that I can answer before then.
There were a number of deputants that raised interesting concerns:
Franklin Moskoff made an interesting presentation about the impact of the $17million budgeted to extend the 15th Sideroad from Bathurst to Hwy 400 and build an interchange to siphon truck traffic from King Rd in 2028. This budget item relates to King’s 2020 Transportation Plan which recommends that the 15th sideroad be extended from Keele St. to Weston Rd via an interchange to be constructed at Highway 400 and that the 15th Sideroad be widened from two to four lanes between Highway 400 and Bathurst Street. Moskoff points out that the land is on the Oak Ridges Moraine, it’s a Provincially Significant Wetland, it’s the headwaters of the Humber river, a groundwater recharge area, plus there is a pristine three-tiered aquifer system underground. In addition, the water for the wells in Kingscross Estates comes from the aquifer so the Kingscross Ratepayers Association commissioned a hydrologist from the University of Toronto to conduct a study which included examining the soil, the data for wells, and the Moraine. The expert concluded that should this road expansion proceed, the effect on the soils and aquifer from chemical spills and winter salt would create a contaminant plume that would extend into the area where the wells of Kingscross Estates are located. The town has made note that further study and analysis are required in the area, but Moskoff suggests that the project should only be budgeted for after the study has been completed as it’s likely that the cost identified in the study would exceed the costs budgeted.
Alex Nelyubin noted that the water level in the three ponds surrounding his property in Kingscross Estates are dropping and that one pond that is usually five feet deep is now almost dry by July. Though he acknowledges that there could be other reasons, he attributes the drop to the development of the land at 15th and Keel St. Nelyubin notes that researchers studying the proposal to extend the 15th over Highway 400 to Highway 27 conclude that it will destroy the natural setting and suggests that Kingscross Ratepayers be compensated for the construction of their wells and that King Township should extend water and wastewater services to Kingscross estates.
The Kingscross Ratepayers Association also made two presentations. The first discussed the impacts of Bill 23 on sensitive wetlands that could create future flooding hazards. The second presentation said that flooding impacts King City trails and suggests that a boardwalk be built at the Township of King/York Region wellhead on the east side of Manitou Drive to enable access the King City Trails without walkers having to get wet and to reduce the need for grass cutting apart from trimming. This would elevate the trail from the wetlands and allow year-round enjoyment.
• Councillor Dave Boyd – Ward 2 – York Region Police will host a Neighbourhood watch and car theft workshop on Feb. 28 from 6:30-8:30. More details to come.
• Councillor Mary Asselstine – Ward 4 – The Dufferin Marsh will host two activities on Feb. 18th: 1) The Great Backyard Bird Count – an international event where people count the species and numbers of birds in their yard and submit the information to Birds Canada. 2) Schomberg Community Skate
• Mayor Pelligrini – Please register to receive King Township's monthly King Bulletin e-mail blast containing all of the latest news and updates in and around King.
JA Side Note - A Trip to the King City Library
I recently had the pleasure of a tour of the King City Library and was thoroughly impressed by the extent of the services the town offers. In addition to the many books and videos that they have available, I was delighted to learn that they also have a program where you can virtually borrow digital books on your Kindle or other digital devise with the same convenience of purchasing at any time (I read at odd hours when I can't sleep) but without the cost!
In addition, the Library offers a “Make-It Lab” which includes a variety of STEAM based take-home activities and amazing equipment such as:
Cricut (cuts vinyl stickers and iron-on, papercraft, some fabrics, and more. It can also be used for light embossing and sketching.)
Filming & Recording Equipment
Large Scale Printer
VHS to DVD Conversion
Virtual Reality Goggles
Registering for a Library card is free to King residents and can be done online. Sign-up today!