It’s a chance to meet with elected officials and talk about the issues.
That’s what Oxford County warden David Mayberry said about the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference he attended earlier this week.
The conference allows many rural elected officials to meet with different ministries, and Mayberry said there were many learning sessions that he was able to take part of.
One of which involved the extraction of gravel and the new reassessments of gravel pits to lower their property tax values.
“There’s considerable decrease in the property tax value for them,” he said. “That has an impact on Southwest Oxford and certainly has a much bigger impact on the Township of Zorra… Every time you lower the taxes for one category you have to increase them for another to get the money back.”
Mayberry said that he also met with ministers to promote county issues, such as renewable energy and zero waste.
“We spoke to the province around what our directions are going to be in terms of transportation,” Mayberry said. “We’ve been trying to encourage the province to think of all of southwestern Ontario when it’s thinking of its mass transit system… I think those things are important, to continually bring them up to various ministries.”
Mayberry said they also brought and issue to ROMA about bringing back photo radar and what the cost of policing would be to have a photo radar unit to encourage respect for the speed limits.
Mayberry said they also met with the conservative party leader to share their views.
“If they’re formulating policies for the next election, which they all are, you want to make sure that you’re on top of those and encouraging the type of direction that we feel is important,” he said.
The importance of attending a conference like this, Mayberry said, is about bringing back enough information and ideas to share with the other municipal leaders.
“What are some of the potential ideas that we should explore,” he said, “and what are the concerns that maybe haven’t quite got to us yet, but other townships are already starting to experience. I think there’s value in always learning more, and the complexities in life and the reality of life is that it continually evolves and there are new challenges and ideas. So how do you glean the best ideas out there and bring them home and modify them a bit to fit into your own situation or community.”