The Warden is the head of Counties Council and is elected every two years by the ten member Mayors/Reeves who sit on Counties Council. The Warden presides at all Counties Council meetings, sits on all Committees and represents the Counties at any meetings or official functions.
As Warden for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville for 2017 and 2018, I look forward to meeting many community members and working with the municipalities and staff.
There are financial challenges facing all municipalities and few sources of revenue from either of the other two orders of governments. The deficits of both the federal and provincial governments mean we need to rely on property taxes and user fees as the primary source of revenue for municipalities. The 2017 and 2018 budgets will reflect strong oversight from Counties Council, to ensure that we deliver our mandated services in the most cost effective ways. This approach allows staff to address the implementation of necessary changes, while maintaining the high standards in program delivery and at the same time avoiding discretionary spending. The need for long term predictable funding from the provincial and federal governments will continue to be a high priority in our ongoing discussions with other upper tier governments and associations.
The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is responsible for a vast amount of infrastructure which includes roads, bridges, emergency medical services and equipment, social housing, administration facilities and long term care homes. The importance of these assets to our residents is highlighted when Council considers future needs and costs. Leeds and Grenville has an aging population, some with special needs, and many facing financial limitations. Council must respect those growing realities when establishing budgets and financial requirements.
Other uncontrollable budget impacts added to our operations include the new Cap and Trade legislation, cost of electricity, government restrictions on funding for long term care homes and increasing policing costs. The United Counties is made up of 10 municipalities and three municipal partners, Brockville, Prescott and Gananoque, which will continue to work together to mitigate the impacts. Together we accomplish much more than working alone.
The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is fortunate to have a dedicated and talented staff, which I look forward to working with in 2017 and 2018. We will work together to keep Leeds and Grenville at the forefront of innovation while keeping costs affordable for those who live, work and play in the Counties.
Warden Robin Jones