Strong Mayor powers enacted to expedite Oshawa budget talks

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Published September 26, 2023 at 10:08 am

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. Photo Yahoo

The evidence has not yet been presented how recently enacted Strong Mayor powers will help build much needed housing but it sure seems to be useful in expediting municipal budgets.

Oshawa is the latest city to exercise the expanded powers after Council agreed to reduce the time period for councillors to decide on amendments for the 2024 budget from 30 days to 21. Oshawa Mayr Dan Carter will then have just five days to consider any vetos as per the legislation.

Carter, along with the mayors of 25 other big cities in Ontario, were given expanded powers as part of a housing pledge to the Province to build 1.5 million homes by 2031, with 23,000 of those future homes slated for Oshawa. The new powers came into effect July 1.

The Strong Mayor powers and duties include responsibility for the budget, the right to veto certain by-laws passed by Council and the power to appoint a CAO, among other new capabilities. The legislation also allows Carter to get certain motions approved with just one-third support, which in Oshawa means four votes instead of six.

Councillors were given three options for budget timelines at a special meeting of Council Monday and chose ‘Option 1,’ which would see Council have 15 days to try to override any Mayor veto at a budget meeting scheduled for December 15.

If there are no vetos or subsequent overrides the budget could be hammered out December 1.

“This is being done to make sure we get the budget passed this (calendar) year,” said Oshawa Deputy Mayor Bob Chapman, who introduced the motion, adding that the extended timeline gives staff more time to prepare the budget and can also give the City better prices for Request For Proposals and other contract bids.

The budget binder is expected to be presented to councillors by November 10, with the budget meeting scheduled for December 1.

No Strong Mayor powers were needed for the vote, with the motion passing 8-1 with just Councillor John Neal in opposition.

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