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water-regNext Wednesday, January 28, the city's operations committee will be considering whether to recommend making Owen Sound a blue community.

Becoming a blue community means:

1. recognizing water as a human right – following in the steps of the United Nations and the Canadian government

2. promoting publicly financed, owned, and operated water & wastewater services

3. phasing out bottled water in public facilities and events

The community of Owen Sound has shown significant support for these principles, and that support continues to grow.

anne-councilnotes-regBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

Tom Thomson Art Gallery

  • Creativity at the Gallery is not limited to the art on the walls. Its partnership with ROOTS in its Tom Thomson line has been bringing in $3-4000 a month, and consideration is being given to expanding the offerings to include canoe and kayak paddles. The full budget has yet to be approved by the Gallery board, but the city's share of $282, 470 will be slightly less than a third of the operating budget.

Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library

  • The Library's budget too is the responsibility of an independent board which represents its three member communities – Owen Sound, Chatsworth and Georgian Bluffs. Although its staffing levels per open hours are among the lowest in the province, the draft budget does not include staffing increases. Contractual increases follow the city's non-union salary and benefit process.

Ironically, the technology that vastly improves customer service also cuts revenues as patrons are able to renew books on-line and avoid fines!

bishop-regBishop House: Museum, Archives and National Historic Site is very pleased to announce that PortsToronto (formerly known as the Toronto Port Authority), the owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, has come onboard as a Platinum Sponsor of our 2015 Victory Dance Gala.

Dollars raised through the Gala, which serves as Bishop House's major fundraiser for the year, support the important exhibitions, educational programmes and work with local Veterans that Bishop House undertakes as part of our ongoing operational activities. The staff, volunteers and thousands of people who visit Bishop House each year are deeply appreciative of this important contribution by Ports Toronto.

Budget-regBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

Budget – Take One

The 2015 Owen Sound budget marathon has begun.

"I don't want any of you to go away not understanding. Please ask questions,"
Owen Sound City Manager Ruth Coursey encouraged the new mayor, four rookie councillors and two vets at Wednesday's opening meeting.

The draft operating budget of $27.5 million prepared by staff maintains the current level of service, but would require a 5.3% increase in the city's portion of the property tax bill. Any service cuts will be selected by council and Wayne Ritchie, long time Director of Finance, suggested there will not be a single initiative for reducing the budget that will not receive push back from some ratepayers.

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