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Brian Milne will continue as Grey County warden

Milne returns for second term as warden, nominated to the job by the mayor and deputy mayor of the Town of The Blue Mountains

Brian Milne will continue to serve as Grey County warden.

Milne, the mayor of the Township of Southgate, was acclaimed to the position for a second consecutive one-year term at county council’s inaugural meeting on Dec. 5.

In his inaugural address, Milne thanked county council for the privilege of continuing in the role and looked forward to the coming year.

“It is an honour to be named Warden of Grey County,” he said.

Milne immediately referenced the difficult budget circumstances the county faces for 2024. Over the past month, council has been wrestling with a draft budget that initially showed a double digit tax increase. Milne said it is up to county councillors to work together and arrive at an acceptable budget for the coming year.

“We as community builders, need to seek out what our residents and visitors require and then figure out how to provide those requirements in a fiscal manner that is affordable,” he said.

Milne emphasized that he will continue to focus on working together to meet the challenges the county faces.

“This council understands the importance of working together. Working together includes not just everyone around this table, but includes our community building partners and there are many. Strong relationships with and support of our community partners, including First Nations, is having a real and positive impact on everyone’s success,” he said. “Everyone here is engaged and focused on the task at hand and I truly believe is committed to building our communities to best the best they can be.”

The Blue Mountains Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon nominated Milne for the position of warden.

Matrosovs joined the meeting from Dubai, where she is attending a conference.

“Warden Milne understands we’re stronger together,” said Matrosovs. “He encourages collaboration, trust, understanding and teamwork.”

Bordignon praised Milne for his leadership and his efforts to unite county council and find consensus on major issues.

“With 18 strong and determined people charting the course of our Grey County objections, we do need a leader who understands teamwork and forward thinking,” he said. “Brian does both with not only integrity, but humour and good nature. He always makes it his priority that both staff and council voices are not only heard, but looks for a path forward to find a solution suitable for all.”

Following his acclamation, Milne took the oath of office administered by Clerk Tara Warder and was presented with the chain of office by past warden and Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen.

The gallery for the meeting included five former wardens who have since left county council. Duncan McKinlay (The Blue Mountains), Selwyn Hicks (Hanover), Arlene Wright (Owen Sound), Howard Greig (Chatsworth) and Murray Betts (Grey Highlands) were all in attendance.

It is county tradition for a previous warden to provide words of encouragement to the new warden and McKinlay was selected for the job.

“It is an honour to be selected by county council as their leader, but it is also a great responsibility,” said McKinlay, who served two terms in the warden’s chair. “The current economic climate will require you to challenge and lead council as they seek innovative and effective financial management tools, while providing the services and infrastructure to serve the needs of Grey County residents and to support the Grey County economy.”

After the proceedings, Milne spoke to reporters and said he was thrilled to continue as warden.

“I love the job, I really do,” he said.

He called the current county council “dedicated, engaged and well-motivated” and praised the “incredible” staff at the county for all their hard work.

The warden said the hard work would begin immediately with the setting of a budget for 2024. County council will hold a budget meeting on Friday, Dec. 8 to continue their budget deliberations.

“It’s a difficult one, no question about it,” he said of the budget.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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