By Kevin Woodhouse
The council room chambers in Kirkland were full Monday night as citizens came out to the first council meeting in years where John Meaney was not at the helm after losing the municipal election to longtime district one councilor Michel Gibson who held that post for 22 years.
After a minute of silence to honour our Canadian veterans who served in foreign wars, Gibson thanked Meaney for his 38 years of service to the community as councilor and mayor. Gibson also welcomed new councilor Mike Brown who won the Timberlea district council seat that was held by the new mayor. All the other council seats are the incumbent councilors from the previous mandate.
Gibson told the assembled that he accepted the mandate as mayor with “humility and will serve with loyalty and transparency. With the help of the new council, we will move ahead for a strong future for all Kirklanders.
“During our door to door visits, many citizens offered us quality ideas and those ideas will be reviewed by council. Also, in January, we will begin our Saturday morning Open House where citizens can come to the town hall to talk about their issues and concerns,” said Gibson.
The next step for the new council will be to prepare the 2014 budget and a special meeting on the subject will take place Monday, December 16th at 7 p.m. Gibson noted the highlights from last year’s budget that included $29 million of the city’s $56 million total yearly allotment going towards the city of Montreal’s agglomeration council.
The city is sitting on an almost $2.5 million surplus that was the result of business tax payments, transfer taxes and government subsidies. $ 3 million had been set aside for infrastructure repairs such as the reconstruction of the city’s sports complex parking lot, electronic billboards and a new curbside composting system.
The mayor’s and council salaries for 2012 were also released: $36,000 for the mayor’s salary, $21,000 from the agglo, $15,000 in expenses and about $3,000 for automobile expenses. Councilors made $12,900 in salary and $6,000 for expenses.
During Question Period, several citizens congratulated Gibson and the council on their victory. One citizen re-thanked Meaney for this years of service that received very moderate applause.
Mayoral candidate Daniel La Tour, who came in a distant third with less than six percent of the total votes cast, offered to start a Neighbourhood Watch program to augment security in the city. Gibson noted that council “will be discussing this in the very near future.”
La Tour also brought up the longstanding cross connected pipe issue suggesting that the city does something to help clean up Meadowbrook Creek and Centennial Park in Beaconsfield to “make amends for years of neglect that contributed to the pollution of the beach area in Beaconsfield.”
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