Essex Councillor Believes Talks Needed on Regional Opportunities

AM800-NEWS-Essex-Council-Sherry-Bondy-September-3-2019

One Essex town councillor believes local politicians should be getting together to discuss regional opportunities to save money.

Sherry Bondy's comments come as town council is being asked to approve a $200,000 application to the province. The money would be used to hire a consultant to look for efficiencies and opportunities for shared services with other municipalities.

The funding is being made available through Ontario's Municipal Modernization Program.

Bondy says this area has a lot of intelligent councillors and staff.

"Why aren't our councillors, our mayors, our deputy mayors, our CAO's getting together, pulling up our sleeves and saying 'what are some of the regional issues we can work on together?' I believe we were elected and we know our communities better than anyone else," she says.

The ward 4 councillor is also against spending $200-thousand to have a third party come in and tell them what to do.

"I support us having committees. Let's talk about a regional electricity company. Let's talk about CWATS {County Wide Active Trail System}. Let's talk about a regional dog pounds. Let's talk about more regional transportation but not giving $200,000 to a third party to tell us how to run our town," she says.

Bondy feels Essex County Council could be leading a discussion on regional opportunities.

"Why can't our county council get together and say 'hey, let's take some leadership on some regional ideas.' That's where I think this has to come from, not from a third party consultant," she says.

Under the Municipal Modernization Program, the province has made $125-million available to help small municipalities conduct service delivery reviews.

Bondy adds that we know our communities best and we need to roll up our sleeves and talk.

"This shows how much we're not talking, when the province says 'hey, let's get a consultant.' No, no province. We want to do this. We want to do this work ourselves, because we're working councillors, not just figure heads," she adds.

When it comes to exploring opportunities for regional cooperation, Bondy believes policing, regional transportation and animal welfare should at least be discussed.

Essex town council will discuss the issue at its meeting Monday night.

In late November, Amherstburg town council voted to apply for $200,000 from the province to conduct a review.

If Amherstburg secures funding, the review must be completed by June 30, 2020.