News

Ingersoll mayor Ted Comiskey says town is in good shape

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey explained how all the pieces of the town's operations are coming together and that he is feeling positive about the town's current status. Comiskey addressed about 50 people at the Ingersoll District Chamber of Commerce annual Breakfast with the Mayor Wednesday, April 4 at the Elm Hurst.

Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey explained how all the pieces of the town's operations are coming together and that he is feeling positive about the town's current status. Comiskey addressed about 50 people at the Ingersoll District Chamber of Commerce annual Breakfast with the Mayor Wednesday, April 4 at the Elm Hurst.

INGERSOLL - 

Ingersoll’s finances are in good shape, according to Mayor Ted Comiskey.

At the annual Breakfast with the Mayor, hosted by the Ingersoll District Chamber of Commerce at the Elm Hurst Wednesday, April 4, Comiskey explained how all the pieces of the town’s operations are coming together.

He compared operating the town to operating a business in that business owners have more than one thing to deal with at any given time. For the town, some of those things include infrastructure, recreation, development and finance.

“Our financial house is in order,” Comiskey told the audience of about 50 people, adding that property tax increases have been minimal and the town’s reserves are being restored and increased to exceed the provincial average.

He pointed out that the town has not acquired any new debt over the past three years and none is expected to be added in 2018 – a year when property tax rates are expected to decrease by .8 per cent.

The recreation piece includes lots of work on a multi-use trail project and improving upon existing trails with continued community work on the plans for a new multi-use recreation facility. Comiskey pointed out major investment in the Victoria Park Community Centre will ensure its longevity and a new skate park at Fusion that is expected to open this spring.

Under the engineering umbrella there are plans to replace a 90-year-old sanitary sewer under the Oxford Street municipal parking lot, which will upgrade the infrastructure though disrupt parking behind the businesses on the west side of Thames Street. Comiskey said the town is working with businesses to figure out how to manage the interruption in parking availability.

In the industrial areas, there is almost zero vacancy, and just 5.4 per cent commercial vacancy. Housing development is also near record levels for the number of single family dwellings being built, said Comiskey.

This development is putting even more pressure on the town’s limited amount of land available. Comiskey said the town has less than 20 years worth of development land available, hence ongoing boundary adjustment negotiations with neighbouring municipalities. The mayor hopes to be able to announce an agreement with South West Oxford Township before this fall’s municipal election. He explained that the two rural municipalities that abut the town boundary are concerned about the loss of agricultural land and the tax base that goes with it. In negotiating an agreement, Comiskey said there is consideration for long-term compensation to the rural municipalities to offset the loss of taxable land.

With all the regular business of the town going on, there is also continued action to fight the proposed Southwestern Landfill. Comiskey updated the audience about the current “We Demand the Right” campaign to give a municipality a say in whether a landfill can be located within its boundaries. Ingersoll and Zorra Township are working with MPP Ernie Hardeman on his private members’ bill in this regard, and the town continues to budget significant funding to fight the proposed landfill.

“There are a number of pieces that are coming together (on this),” said Comiskey.

He said making everything happen takes team work, and not only the team of staff at the town hall, but also the community. His presentation indicated community involvement has increased, with residents coming forward to help with such projects as the off-leash dog park, the multi-use recreation project; safe cycling committee and trails.