Community

‘Strong mayor powers’ now in effect

The ‘strong mayor powers’ granted to Stouffville this past summer are now in effect, putting the town on the path to build more houses.

Stouffville was granted the additional powers along with 20 other municipalities across Ontario in keeping with the provincial government’s pledge to boost housing availability by 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

To obtain strong mayor powers, Stouffville adopted the Province’s Housing Pledge in September and was assigned a housing target of 6,500 new residential dwellings to be constructed by 2031. Municipalities that pledge to achieve their targets have access to the Building Faster Fund, which will reward municipalities on track to meet their targets.

Under the recently revised Municipal Act, mayors and other council leaders now have the authority to propose the municipality’s budget and can veto bylaws if they’re seen as potential obstacles to provincial housing objectives.

Using their enhanced powers, mayors can issue official orders known as ‘mayoral decisions and directives’ to set policies and make decisions that affect various aspects of municipal governance. When a directive is given, the mayor must provide a written record of it to the Clerk and CAO by the next business day as well as a written record to each member of Council.

In Stouffville, all mayoral decisions and directives will be made available to the public at townofws.ca/mayoral-decisions. During the October 18 Council meeting, Mayor Iain Lovatt declared he would delegate several powers back to Council and staff.

However, one critical aspect of ‘strong mayor powers’ cannot be delegated: the proposal of the Town’s annual budget, Stouffville reports. Under the new framework, the Mayor must direct staff to create the budget on Council’s behalf, allowing for Council feedback. Following a series of reviews, the Mayor will finalize the operating and capital budgets for the following year.

Fifty municipalities in Ontario now have assigned municipal housing targets.

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