Oil Springs wants to know what residents think

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Heather Wright/The Independent

Oil Springs’ new clerk wants to know what the people of the village think is important.
Lynda Thorton recently became the clerk of Lambton County’s smallest municipality. One of the goals she and council set was to complete the budget talks earlier than before.
In 2019, it was the late spring before the document was officially adopted. Thorton says part of the reason was due to the restrictions around meetings during the early stages of the pandemic.
But this year, Thorton and council hope to have the budget for 2021 complete before the new year rings in.
Thorton has already launched an online survey to see what is important to the 648 people who live in the community.
The survey asks 10 basic questions including if people are satisfied with services like snow removal and waste disposal.
Thorton says she is “trying to get a sense of where people want to see changes and what they’re most concerned about” with the survey.
By law, municipalities must hold a budget input meeting, but the online survey is another way of getting some ideas about where the community does well and where things could change.
Thorton hopes to take those concerns to council when it has its first budget meeting Dec. 7.
She’s not expecting a lot of changes to the current budget. Thorton would like to see the municipality start saving money in the reserves so by 2025, the community could start working on important projects like replacing some of the equipment from the roads department, renovating the community centre and laying more sidewalks.
Thorton adds there will likely be an opportunity to start improving sidewalks in Oil Springs this year. The village, and every other municipality in Ontario, will be receiving COVID-19 Infrastructure cash. It’s one way the province hopes to kick start the economy.
Thorton says Oil Springs will be getting $100,000 and she will propose to council to replace the sidewalk on Oil Springs Line from Oil Heritage Road to Victoria Street.
Thorton hopes to have the details of the construction and the new budget completed at council’s Dec. 17th meeting.