Jeff Green | Mar 02, 2006
Feature Article - March 2, 2006
Feature ArticleMarch 2, 2006
Province instituting four-year municipal termby Jeff Green
Last week, Premier McGuinty announced that municipal terms of office will be extended to four years. The province intends to make legislative changes in the coming months to institute four-year terms in time for this year’s municipal election.
The announcement came about after a survey of municipal councils on the issue a few months ago. Rural councils favoured maintaining the current three-year terms, but they were overpowered by urban councils and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, who all sought four-year terms.
In debates at local councils, three-year terms were supported in all cases. Four years was seen as too long a commitment for rural council members, who make a considerable time commitment when they serve on council, and receive only minimal pay for their efforts.
Susan Freeman, the Deputy Reeve of Tay Valley Township, said, “I and many of my rural colleagues have not supported this move; Tay Valley, Lanark County and most of Eastern Ontario have not supported four- year terms. We believe it was driven by those on city councils where their councillor and mayoral positions are full time with generous salaries.”
In a letter to municipal politicians, John Gerretson, Minister of Municipal Affairs wrote, “A four year term would provide municipal councils and school boards with more time to plan and implement their agendas, in a similar fashion to the federal and provincial governments.”
“This will make it that much harder to convince people to run for council,” said Central Frontenac Mayor Bill MacDonald.