Tehkummah Council Notes

Health and safety discussion

Township health and safety co-ordinator Arthur Moran attended the meeting to allow council to ask any questions they may have. Mr. Moran said there had been a good shift forward in the township regarding health and safety and said he had distributed the draft operating procedures to council and some employees.

Councillor Michael McKenzie asked whether having working at heights policy statements was useful, considering the lack of this kind of work in the township. Mr. Moran admitted that the policies do spill over from the other municipalities he works with, but that these policies are good to have in case the need should ever arise.

Approval of minutes

Council approved the minutes from the June 4 regular meeting held at 7 pm and the June 27 special meeting of council held at 6:30 pm. Notice was not posted online about the June 27 meeting, and no members of the public attended the meeting according to the minutes. Clerk-administrator Roy Hardy told The Expositor that there were unresolvable technical difficulties with the website and that the business at the meeting was time-sensitive. That meeting was called to discuss tenders for winter sand and gravel. 

The winter sand tender was awarded to Mike Varey Excavating in the amount of $17.46 per cubic metre, plus HST, for a total of $31,567.68. Last year’s winter sand purchase was $21.68 per cubic metre, but Tehkummah will be supplying the salt to be mixed in by the successful bidder this year.

The tender for 2,000 cubic metres of three quarter inch  granular A gravel was awarded to Calvin Pearson for $15.54 per cubic metre. The meeting finished at 7:13 pm.

New bylaws

Tehkummah council passed its emergency management plan and its sale and disposition of surplus municipal property bylaws. The latter puts procedures in place to be followed in the event of having surplus assets, including that the disposition is to be overseen by the clerk-administrator and all assets should be offered to other internal departments before being offered externally. It also allows council to permit exceptions to the process. This policy is to be renewed in every term of council.

Councillor McKenzie noted that the township’s policy stipulates 14 days’ notice must be given to change bylaws. Mr. Hardy said they could delay the passing, but the township’s notice bylaw had not been passed yet so it was technically acceptable to pass the surplus assets bylaw on the same date. Council ultimately passed the disposition of surplus municipal property bylaw to take effect August 1.

They then discussed the sale and disposition of municipal lands policy which includes policies for land changes such as the closure and sale of a portion of a closed highway to an immediate neighbour. Councillor McKenzie was concerned about selling old road allowances and could not support the bylaw. Council passed a first reading of the bylaw.

Tehkummah council also passed its provision of public notice bylaw which stipulates how the public is to be notified about certain items and which items require notice.

Fire expenses

Tehkummah fire chief Jeff Wilson said Tehkummah had an opportunity to acquire a 1998 Ford pumper truck from Tiny Township for $5,000, the price they would otherwise set as a minimum bid at auction. This truck would replace the current 1987 Ford pumper truck (4301) which was slated for repairs this year, costs that could otherwise be saved. Mr. Wilson said he did not foresee the Tiny truck needing any work to be put into service.

South Shore Volunteer Firefighters Association has committed to bidding on truck 4301 and a second truck—one that will be surplus once the township’s new 1999 Freightliner truck arrives after its servicing at Dependable Truck and Tank.

Councillor McKenzie asked if the fire department could afford the estimated costs of either a used pump (~$5,000) or a new pump (~$10,000) within its budget. Mr. Wilson said that within the $60,000 purchase limit and the money in his 2019 budget, it would be doable. He recommended a used pump.

Council approved a used pump for the Freightliner, with the additional money coming from the 2019 repair budget, which would make the 1987 Ford pumper truck and the 1992 E-One fire vehicle as surplus and up for tender by public bid. The South Shore Volunteer Firefighters Association’s offer of $5,000 is to be considered as the reserve bid for both vehicles. Upon receiving the bid in writing, the township would approve the purchase of the Tiny truck.

At a council meeting held on July 22, Mr. Wilson told council that the total repair costs on the new truck totaled $22,522.50. Deputy clerk-administrator Barbara Grigg said this amount was either under budget or right on the total allotment.

Council approved a tender for a 22-kilowatt propane generator, including transfer switch and related accessories, for the fire hall and municipal building. It was worth $11,186.94 including HST and was awarded to Terry Addison Electric of Gore Bay. The installation quote of $5,876 went to Henderson Electric. Councillor McKenzie had expressed concerns with the recommended quote of $7,657.16 from McAnsh Electric because it would require higher wiring gauges, based on a conversation between McAnsh and the electrical safety inspector. The Henderson Electric quote did not require such sizes. Councillor McKenzie noted that the quotes agreed to be installed to electrical safety requirements and that the installations would have to be brought to code regardless. Mr. Wilson noted that Henderson Electric had done the wiring in the fire hall and is familiar with the building, to which Councillor McKenzie added, “he knows his job, too.” Council saved $1,800 by choosing the Henderson Electric quote.

Roads superintendent update

Roads superintendent Kevin Dunlop said he had provided specs to Mr. Hardy for a new tandem snow plow, which will be tendered to three major suppliers. The hope is to have the new truck by the coming winter season.

Billings Township was getting rid of an old compactor truck for $2,000. Mr. Dunlop requested purchasing it for use at the landfill to prevent people from having to go to the top and allowing the township to better manage the site. He suggested placing it on the old plow truck frame and leaving at the landfill so it would not require licencing. Council approved the purchase.

Mr. Dunlop said a considerable amount of the township’s vehicles use clear, road-taxed fuel when they could be using road-tax-free red fuel. Over the span of six to eight weeks this year, the township spent an extra $600 by not using red fuel. He might need a second tank at the garage to implement this.

Municipal policies 

Council approved the staffing process policy which reflected its wish to be directly involved with the hiring process. It also allows staff to appoint an interim employee during that time.

The access to municipal assets policy pertains to when someone wants to put something on municipal property or improve or donate a municipal asset. It puts a process in place so that decisions must pass through council. It also addresses who would be responsible for its maintenance. Councillor Russell asked whether Reeve Jaggard had heard from Marcel McKenzie about a donation to the township. Reeve Jaggard said the question did not relate to the discussion but assured the councillor that he would look into it and declined to comment further because he was on the record.

The procurement policy outlines who can make certain acquisition decisions and what those limits are. It outlines what must be tendered and when council must be consulted.

The council-staff relations policy ties together the procedure bylaw and council code of conduct. It identifies how staff and councillors can act on municipal business, what limits township officials have and entrenches the chain of command.

The accountability and transparency policy identifies what practices are in place in terms of the notice bylaw, such as what reports will be made available to public in a reasonable way, and ensuring meetings are as open as they can be.

Council adopted all the policies.

Water and sewer

Council approved a suggested 2.5 percent water and sewer rate increase each year in 2019, 2020 and 2021, with any emergency repairs to be billed to water system users the year after they occur. The number was chosen because the system’s operational expenditures would be covered with a 2.5 percent increase rather than the planned five percent increase. There is currently a reserve of $40,000 in the water system and annual maintenance costs are about $24,000.

The OCWA contract is soon up for renewal. If new terms are not in place by the end of the year, the old contract may be extended for one year with a three percent increase.

Councillor Russell asked if the Owen Sound Transportation Company was paying its fair share. Mr. Hardy informed him that they had not been following the agreement between Tehkummah and OSTC, which the ferry company brought up, and the agreement is now being followed. Obeying the agreement has brought a higher cost to the township.

Councillor McKenzie implored the council to approve a higher water rate to build the reserves, which could possibly go into water meters (at $3,500 per unit) or covering future repairs. Mr. Hardy agreed that building reserves could make sense, though he was wary of building them too large and having them possibly never used. He added that keeping costs at operating levels may incentivize people to treat the system with respect to avoid future costs.

Energy management plan

Council adopted its asset management plan which outlines how the township will manage its energy consumption, a document that will be required to obtain certain streams of future funding. Council adopted the plan and it is posted on the township website.

Beach cleanup

Councillor Lorie Leeson requested that the maintenance and beautification of the beach in South Baymouth be taken on as a recreation committee initiative. The township already cuts the grass in this area and the recreation committee had formerly painted the fence and maintained the playground. Her goal was to bring the community together and get the property back the way it once was. Council authorized volunteer teams to conduct work to clean up the beach area.

Municipal 

maintenance items

Tehkummah will be maintaining the grounds of the cemetery at Fairview United Church as it falls within the township’s responsibilities for an abandoned cemetery.

The waterfront light standards need to be inspected for health and safety reasons. Councillor Leeson said crews were unwilling to put hanging flower baskets and flags on the poles because it may have been unsafe in their current state. The township is to assess these structures.