Cen­tral Huron takes a wait-and­see ap­proach to 2017 while Huron pre­pares to tackle high speed in­ter­net

The Goderich Signal-Star - - NEWS - Dar­ryl Coote Ed­i­tor

Fol­low­ing a chal­leng­ing though pos­i­tive year for Cen­tral Huron, its mayor, Jim Ginn, ex­pects 2017 to be used to as­sess what op­tions the town has in the years ahead.

“2017 will be prob­a­bly a stand-pat year,” Ginn said fol­low­ing the reg­u­lar county coun­cil meet­ing held on Jan. 4.

For 2016, fi­nan­cially, Cen­tral Huron met all of its obli­ga­tions, he said, and coun­cil has al­ready dealt with the “worst part of our bud­gets,” specif­i­cally pric­ing in polic­ing costs. He added that last year also saw the end­ing of cuts to On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Part­ner­ship Fund grant s, which of­fer lower- tier gov­ern­ments sta­ble fund­ing.

“I think go­ing for­ward it will be a lit­tle eas­ier,” he said. “Our grants for in­fras­truc­ture are in­creas­ing and will in­crease in the next few years.”

He said that when they fin­ish pay­ing off the debt for the so­lar pan­els that, too, will free up cash.

“I think the tough­est bud­gets are be­hind us. Now, so go­ing for­ward, we hope to be able to ei­ther re­duce taxes or do more paving projects and pro­vide more ser­vices to residents,” he said.

Whether Cen­tral Huron re­duces taxes or paves streets will be a de­ci­sion needed to be made by coun­cil, he said.

This new year, he said, will be an ex­cit­ing one as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is plan­ning a big cel­e­bra­tion to usher in Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary on the week­end fol­low­ing July 1.

Also, there are projects, he said, to re­ju­ve­nate Clin­ton’s down­town park.

“Big plans for the ren­o­va­tion of the park in down­town Clin­ton with a splash pad, skate­board­ing park and pav­il­ion put up. So we look for­ward to do­ing some im­prove­ments to the main street. And, also, we’re hop­ing to get out to the ru­ral ar­eas as well, the ham­lets, and do some im­prove­ments there, too,” he said.

Ginn said he doesn’t ex­pect too many chal­lenges in 2017, though he hopes for a light winter so their snow- re­moval bud­get is kept at a min­i­mum.

As war­den of Huron County, Ginn said he is look­ing to bring high speed in­ter­net to the re­gion, which he stated as one of his ob­jec­tives when he be­came war­den late last year.

“In­ter­net ac­cess is the big one for me. I think it’s ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal that we get high speed in­ter­net to all our residents so we’ ll be work­ing hard on that one. That has got to be my num­ber one hope that we suc­ceed with,” he said.

He “hopes” coun­cil makes the de­ci­sions nec­es­sary in 2017 to put to­gether a con­crete plan for bring­ing in­ter­net ca­bles to Huron.

He added that it will still be years be­fore residents have ac­cess to high speed in­ter­net.

“Get­ting the ca­ble in the ground is an­other story, but we need a plan on how we’re go­ing to move for­ward with it. We need to get the fund­ing in place and then we’ll have to go out and hire com­pa­nies to in­stall [ the ca­bles],” he said.

Sim­i­lar to in­stalling hy­dro or nat­u­ral gas, high speed in­ter­net is a util­ity that is dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, but it needs to be done.

“We need to get it there in a five- year time span and I think it’s es­sen­tially eco­nom­i­cally as well if we’re go­ing to at­tract small busi­nesses. And I said be­fore, we have a won­der­ful life­style here ... that peo­ple could come here and set up home busi­ness if we had those in­ter­net con­nec­tions,” he said.

I think the tough­est bud­gets are be­hind us. Now, so go­ing for­ward, we hope to be able to ei­ther re­duce taxes or do more paving projects and pro­vide more ser­vices to residents. — Jim Ginn, Cen­tral Huron mayor and Huron County war­den

Dar­ryl Coote/Ed­i­tor

Cen­tral Huron mayor and Huron County war­den Jim Ginn.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.