Dear editor, The recent announcement by regional chairman Joyce Savoline not to seek reelection came as surprise to many for she has provided very competent, even-
handed leadership during her term in office and was facing no serious political contenders. She is to be congratulated for her years of dedicated service and hard work on behalf of the people of Halton. As a result of her decision, after the next municipal election the office of Chair will have a new occupant. That person will be assuming a very powerful position that encompasses the area and population of four federal ridings. Where that individual seeks to lead the Region will have consequences for all Halton residents and for our future taxes. The direction the Region might take can, in part, be determined by where we have been in the past, and where we are today. The creation of regional government in 1974 was, in part, to respond to the forecast growth and the knowledge the old county system would be unable to cope with this growth. For 30 years Halton Region has been responsible for the provision of the essential services of local government including police, social services, water sewage treatment, waste management and others. Is it now time for a major change in how we govern the Halton area? It is
obvious that at some time in the future Halton will become a single tier city structure with one mayor and one governing council. The question is whether our elected officials will consider the very substantial cost savings that are possible with single tier or will they wait until it is imposed by the Province, as happened with the City of Toronto and Hamilton Wentworth Region. When regional government was initiated, it replaced the county system but at the same time substantially increased the cost of municipal government. Let's look at two municipalities with about the same population as Halton: Hamilton: (one mayor, 15 councillors) London: (one mayor, four controllers, 16 councillors) Halton: (Region: one chair, 16 councillors; four separate municipalities totaling four mayors, 38 councillors). Do we really need four times as many elected officials to politically administer about the same population? In addition in Halton we have five chief administrative officers, five treasurers, five engineering departments, five planning departments, five administration buildings, etc.
The proposed city status for Halton would have one mayor and 16 councillors, eliminating 42 elected positions. The potential for major improvement in these areas is very substantial with a single tier administrative structure. We have the major portion of 2006 to encourage our politicians and the public to give serious consideration to the future make-up of our local government and if this letter is a catalyst to that end, then my effort will have been worthwhile. Ric Morrow, former chairman Halton Region