The Village of Midway opened up their budget planning process to residents last week by hosting a public meeting to gather input on the upcoming municipal budget.
There were 10 people present as Mayor Randy Kappes opened the meeting. “Every year council prepares a list of possible capital projects and ranks them so we want to get input from the public as well,” explained Kappes.
“In past years the budget has been set and the meetings that have been held have been pretty much information meetings,” Councillor Dick Dunsdon further explained. “So this is an opportunity to give people some input. The budget is not set. We are prepared to take some comments and answer some questions if we can.”
Residents were given a quick overview and asked to rank two lists. The first list, printed as prioritized by the 15 responses, is of general areas that residents feel should have council’s attention:
1) Public works (upkeep of village equipment, water and sewer systems) – The meeting was told that the sewer plant was designed to operate to a maximum capacity of 1,600 people. “In the winter a lot of people leave and that plant is not running an efficient level,” said Dunsdon. “So they are talking about putting a roof or some type of cover over it to keep the heat inside.”
2) Economic development/possible property acquisition and development – This generated a lot of discussion. The mayor explained that there is not much land available for development. “It is vitally important we get more industry in here as soon as possible,” said resident Neil Kopp.
3) Removal of airport lands from ALR to allow future growth and development – This is linked to the economic development point above. “We have very little room to maneuver land-wise,” explained Kappes. “About 70 per cent of our community is in the ALR and they are very restrictive of what we can do with that land.”
4) Municipal water conservation.
5) Capital asset maintenance and improvement (village buildings)
6) Environmental stewardship/energy efficiency.
7) Beautification/Communities in Bloom.
8) Health services – “Residents may want to emphasize supporting and maintaining health services,” Councillor Marguerite Rotvold suggested.
In the second list residents ranked various capital projects:
1) Community hall renovations and upgrades – Kappes mentioned the need for handicapped washrooms, heating and air conditioning and kitchen upgrades. He said that unless council was to receive a grant they would need to save money over a number of years for the work.
2) Paving study to determine the best method of maintaining and resurfacing village roads.
3) Riverfront campground expansion/improvement.
4) Medical building upgrades.
5) Municipal Hall upgrades.
6) Public works yard improvements.
7) Lobbying for expansion of Parkview Manor – It was noted that the facility provides housing for local seniors near their families as well as generating employment and helping to sustain health services.
8) Arena side door covers to provide roof over the west side doors so that snow and ice build up does not block emergency doors. Kappes noted later that this would probably be moved up when council did final prioritization of the list.
9) Main welcome sign and rest area to attract tourists and inform people that there is more to Midway than the highway. An earlier proposal had proven to be very expensive. “But there is a possibility to reconsider a smaller version of this project ,” said the mayor.
10) Senior’s buildings upgrades.
11) Museum buildings upgrades.
12) Cemetery beautification and improvement.
13) Old schoolhouse improvement/use – Kappes asked those who ranked this as important to suggest a preferred use for the building.