Blueprint for the next four years
I am delighted to have been re-elected for a third term and with the largest victory margin to date. I am equally thrilled that you have elected a wonderful team of councillors for me to work with. Veterans Jack Edery, Leon Elfassy, Michael Goldwax and Harvey Shaffer have returned. To bring fresh ideas and youthful energy Warren Budning and Karen Zajdman have joined us.
One of the first acts of the new council was to unanimously adopt a “Goals 2013-2017” document which you can find on the Hampstead web site. I will just highlight a few of the key points:
There will be no local tax increases above inflation. Our first budget of this mandate has just been passed and the local tax increase for single family homes averaged 1.75%, which is below the expected inflation rate for 2014. Even better, 56% of residents will actually have a tax decrease this year. For those of you with a large tax increase, you may wish to contest the valuation increase if there is no clear reason, such as major renovations. The deadline is fast approaching, so don’t delay. Please note that the Montreal Evaluation Service determines valuations, not Hampstead. Call Town Hall (514) 369-8200 for more information.
We will improve client services. We have hired a new Quality Municipal Service Manager, Anne Roy. We have also launched CodeRed, our emergency phone and text message system. In the near future, we will unveil a new web site with many interactive features to allow services 24/7.
Renewing our infrastructure remains a top priority. About $1.5 million (2/3 from grants) will be spent in 2014 on relining water mains and we will also continue work on sidewalks, roads, our street light network and more.
Enforcement of our construction by-laws will be tightened. Those who have been violating our by-laws, whether inadvertently or deliberately, will be notified and asked to remedy the situation. Failure to comply in a timely manner will lead to large fines and eventually court action.
Our beautification of public spaces will continue. Councillors’ (Gayton) Park is the next priority. Last year the pathways were redone and reconfigured. This year, there will be a splash park area replacing the underused wading pool, new greenery, flowers and, as a pilot project, lighting of several trees.
Centennial year – Looking Back, Moving Forward
Our year of interesting and fun activities was launched at the Winter Carnival, Feb. 16. Please read the insert in this newsletter for more exciting activities. The parade in September will be a particular highlight. Centennial Lane will be created this summer and will be a lasting legacy to remind us of our Hampstead heritage. If you have photographs from the old days or old publications that you can donate to our archives or just material that we can copy, it would be very helpful. Contact Chandra Devenyi at (514) 369-8296 if you can help.
One of the pleasures of being your Mayor is the opportunity that it gives me to speak out and be heard on important issues, not just in Hampstead, but across Montreal and beyond. On the day that the odious Charter of Values was tabled, I told the Gazette that it was illegitimate, immoral and shameful and that Hampstead would not comply. Council has since passed a blazing, unanimous resolution to that effect. I have also spoken out on Bill 14 and started a petition against hazardous materials passing through Montreal. You can expect more of the same, during this mandate.
If you have any comments or questions on this topic or anything else related to Hampstead, please e-mail me at WSteinberg@Hampstead.qc.ca or call me 7 days a week until midnight at my home office (514) 483-6954.
Dr. Bill Steinberg