Mulmur Mayor Mills elected as DC’s 2018 Warden

December 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Mulmur Mayor Paul Mills has been elected by fellow county councillors as Dufferin’s 2018 Warden, and will oversee the county’s economic development plan and tackle the province’s intent for a greenbelt expansion in the county.

The county’s 141st warden received eight of the possible 12 votes, Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver receiving the other four votes. Shelburne Mayor Ken Bennington was absent for the vote.

After being sworn in by Justice of the Peace John Creelman, himself a former warden, Mr. Mills, who’s been a county councillor for eight years, gave his first speech to councillors, staff, and others in attendance, including other past wardens.

He said that 2018 would present defining challenges, particularly the roll-out of an economic development plan. “This plan presents us with an opportunity to leverage our collective strength.”

He reminded council that, “an economic win for any of our municipalities, is a win for all of us.”

Another pressing issue Mr. Mills discussed is finding a solution regarding the provincial offences administration (POA) office at the Orangeville courthouse.

“I’m committed to working with this council and our partners to find a resolution that meets the needs of Dufferin County first.”

He also touched on how council will “get up to speed” on the proposed Greenbelt expansion, the need for high-speed Internet infrastructure, a review in service delivery, planning, and technology. “I look forward to working with staff to make sure that we are prepared for the future.”

Mr. Mills added that while he doesn’t have all the answers and solutions, he can offer “my humble service, my cooperation, and my spirit of the community,” while the county would face any challenge with “the same determination and resolve as those who have come before us.”

Asked by the Citizen about his vision for next year, Mr. Mills simply said, “We’re going to grow and prosper, and try to bring some more work and jobs.”

Councillor Ken McGhee, who nominated Mr. Mills for the position of warden, noted he has worked with him as both a councillor and a member on the public works committee.

“I just find him an honest, caring person, interested in the community,” said the Mono deputy mayor. “He’s got the interests that are facing the county as hand, he works well with staff, and he works well with councilors.” 

He said it was an honor to nominate Mr. Mills, but 2018 will “be an interesting year,” when dealing with the provincial and municipal elections.

Outgoing Warden Darren White also spoke to those in attendance, and said it was an honor to have served as warden. “One year is not enough, and one year sometimes seems like too much.”

The Melancthon mayor described his time being warden as “interesting, captivating, challenging, sometimes overwhelming, but most of all, fulfilling.”

He said he is proud that council passed “another fiscally responsible budget that doesn’t cut services.”

He also discussed taking “a stand on poverty” through partnerships and adding social housing. “We have a housing crisis in this town, we have a poverty problem here as well.”

He said council would need to keep the momentum going with their economic development plan. “It’s a work in progress, and though we’ve only taken a few baby steps, we’re miles ahead of where we were.”

Mr. White offered some advice for the next warden. “Build bridges, not borders, listen to those around you before speaking, and lastly, have fun, it’s a great job.”

Councillor McGhee was re-elected as the chair of General Government Services, while Councillor Laura Ryan, Mono’s mayor, was appointed chair of Community Services Dufferin Oaks committee, and Councillor Jane Aultman, Amaranth’s deputy mayor, will head the public works committee.

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