Tehkummah Council Notes

August 30

Council held a closed session “to deal with personal matters about an identifiable individual.” Councillors Michael McKenzie and Paul Bowerman were present, in addition to Reeve Eric Russell and acting clerk-treasurer Barbara Grigg. All present council members voted to “act on the confidential direction of councillors given in the closed session.”

August 21

Water and sewer rates

Council approved the 2018 water and sewer rates, following a debate over the amount charged to the Owen Sound Transportation Company.

Councillor McKenzie raised a concern that their rates were too low in the context of their usage and compared to rates for other consumers. Upon discussion of the Owen Sound Transportation Company’s rates, Councillor Bowerman declared a conflict of interest and left the discussion.

Councillor Ron Hierons added the rates were too high for the museum, South Baymouth Marina and John Budd Park.

Councillor McKenzie called for an increased rate of three dollars per cubic metre of water.

Loretta Mucha raised a concern before the bylaw was passed, saying she was part of a water and sewer committee that was not invited to participate in the new rate discussions. Councillor Bowerman agreed that they should be included wherever possible.

The new rates passed unanimously.

Accounts payable

Council approved accounts for payment totalling $153,115.87 after some deliberation.

Draft health and safety policy

Councillor Bowerman took some time to make sure that everyone on council would have an understanding of the policy so it could be followed properly.

Councillor McKenzie said he was reluctant to pass the policy as presented because he wanted to make sure all of the items requiring health and safety training were appropriate. A motion was passed to defer the policy vote, and first schedule a working meeting of council with the health and safety coordinator.

Councillor Bowerman’s concerns

Councillor Bowerman presented a number of issues he wanted to address. He started with the accounting firm MNP’s review of the town’s finances, alleging there are public discussions of the review taking place that allege he interfered with the review or manipulated the report. He insisted that MNP did not follow the motion passed by council in terms of what to study, however Councillor McKenzie contended MNP was under no obligation to follow the motion. Councillor Bowerman requested that copies of all relevant documents from MNP be provided to prove his name was not part of any proceedings. Reeve Russell said MNP was already contacted and they had deleted the files, however they would try to reach out again.

Councillor Bowerman also raised concerns about a blog spreading misinformation about his involvement in health and safety issues, stemming from an Ontario Clean Water session in Espanola about water safety. Councillor Hierons had previously shared some concerns about that session.

Councillor Bowerman also shared concerns about council not following the procurement policy and implored council to refer to it in all cases.

Storage of township records

Council voted to convert a washroom in the township building into temporary records storage.

Councillor Hierons asked for clarification as to how long “temporary” would be.

Councillor McKenzie said, in his opinion, an addition to the building would eventually be required in the future, which could be used for records storage.

Councillor Hierons voted no to the motion, but the rest of the council voted yes and passed it.

OCIF top-up funding

Council voted to reapply for Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) funding for 2018 for the maximum amount possible to help with the costs of roadwork, the same sections of road previously applied for.

Fire chief’s report on trucks

Councillor McKenzie noted that the budget numbers on the accounts payable and the chief’s report were off by one dollar. To best determine how to allocate their funding, council voted to meet with the fire chief and see what needed work first-hand.

Landfill expansion proposal

Council accepted a letter from DST Consulting that noted an estimated cost of $19,200 to expand landfill capacity. Councillor Bowerman noted that the 2017 budget required the creation of an investment account equal to two percent of operations infrastructure revenues, to be used for planning to invest in infrastructure and assets. That amount was $23,875.32. He suggested using that account to cover the funding.

Concerns were presented from councillors and residents about the equipment available to manage the dump, the training and staffing of the facility and the presence of boats and other hazardous materials, and who should be responsible for making sure those items are kept out of the landfill.

Councillor Hierons said buying an old compacter truck would be a good step. Councillor McKenzie said any initiatives should use funding from the province to pay for them.

Council passed a unanimous motion to conduct a site visit to better understand the needs and operations of the landfill.

MTO resurfacing due to Highway 542 detour

Councillor McKenzie raised concerns that the MTO’s plans to repave two 500-metre sections of 10th Sideroad would not be sufficient to account for all the detour traffic using Tehkummah roads due to the construction closure of Highway 542.

“Five-hundred metres in both spots is not enough. You better plan for more. That’s my personal opinion, that’s nowhere near… the whole road needs to be resurfaced,” he said.

Councillor Bowerman said the road bases and shoulders have been damaged and they need to be fixed first before considering resurfacing.

Councillor McKenzie said the road has sunk, partially because of its use during flood conditions. A motion passed to have council meet with MTO’s Bruce Sedgwick as soon as possible.

Valve repairs at John Budd Park and marina laundromat

Councillor Hierons encouraged council to subcontract the valve repairs, which would come at a higher cost but would save a great deal of time due to concerns like locating utilities and paving. Reeve Russell noted getting municipal staff to do the work would be cheaper, and Councillor McKenzie said the money could get back into the roads department.

Council resolved to approve the project with the option of either municipal staff or a subcontractor completing the work.

Schoolhouse roof repairs

Ms. Mucha informed council of a roof leak at the front and back of the building that left two substantial puddles inside during last week’s heavy rains. Council motioned to contact a previous contractor to complete the work. Councillor McKenzie volunteered to help by going up on the roof if needed, as he has his working at heights training.

Acting clerk-treasurer

Council went into a closed session to discuss the acting clerk-treasurer position. Afterwards, council voted to instate Roy Hardy as acting clerk-treasurer on a contract basis until December 28, 2018, for four days a week, to assist in the workload in the absence of the clerk-treasurer, at an hourly rate as per the wage grid per year with a maximum of 35 hours per week. They then voted to relieve current acting clerk-treasurer Barbara Grigg from her duties, and appoint her as acting deputy clerk-treasurer with signing authority.

Councillor Hierons was the only one to vote against the above motions.