MV Council Clips from Sept. 4 meeting

MV staff at meeting: Gwen Dombroski (L) and Amanda Hudder

Madawaska Valley Council’s meeting on September 4 covered a wide range of topics from car washing to cannabis, tax arrears and more. The Current reports on selected items.

Cannabis conundrum

Mayor Kim Love gave a verbal report of a panel discussion she attended at the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference. She encouraged members of Council to view the online video of that discussion, saying it left delegates in “shock and awe.” She said municipalities will have a very narrow window during December to opt out of permitting pot shops within their boundaries and therefore the first order of business of the new Council will be to make that decision. Members of Council expressed concern at potential costs to the municipality of by-law enforcement, policing costs and various other regulatory issues because of the new laws.

AMO reports

Love also discussed her comprehensive briefs to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on public library funding and to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services regarding volunteer firefighter certification. Both were attached to the Sept. 4 agenda. They were presented to the relevant Ministry officials at the AMO conference. She credited Mayor Michael Donohue, Township of Admaston/Bromley, who worked with her on the firefighters report and said the Minister’s aides were surprised to learn the potential negative impact of the new firefighter certification requirements on small rural municipalities. Love said she hopes they will listen.

Tax arrears

CAO Klatt presented a report identifying the municipality’s arrears of taxes. Prior to the tax billing August 29 2018, these amount to $623,235.60  Klatt said that the last such report to Council was provided in June 2017. Councillor Maika pointed out that the municipality’s Financial Information Return (FIR) had showed “very clearly that we went from a low risk of receivables to a moderate risk and that was the one thing that was identified in our FIR reporting from the Province stating this is an area of concern.” Klatt said that no collection attempts had been made because of staff changes but that this would now be improved as department staffing has stabilized.

Monthly finance reports

Deputy Treasurer Amanda Hudder presented a year-to-date summary of the municipality’s finances. She and Klatt are working to develop a template for monthly reports to the Finance & Administration Committee that would be accessible to the public and would give a clear picture of the municipality’s performance against budget. Hudder said that her summary showed that while there may be some overages on budget lines they were offset by other budget lines within each department. She said these were the result of changes in posting methods and that the bottom line for each department showed spending was on target.

Township staffing

MV Council confirmed the following staff appointments: Gwen Dombroski as Deputy Clerk, Amanda Hudder as Acting Treasurer and Janice Brisson Zelney as Acting Deputy Treasurer. CAO Suzanne Klatt congratulated staff and explained to Council that some roles still awaited scoring on the pay grid by County. Klatt also introduced Madawaska Valley Township’s new Recreation & Economic Development Coordinator, Stephanie Plebon, who had started work that day. In her address, Mayor Kim Love expressed condolences to the family of Sam (Stanley) Dombroskie, long-time municipal employee who recently passed away.

Car wash plans

Mark Stamplecoskie from the Shell station in Barry’s Bay was present to answer questions about the proposed car wash. He explained the plans included three bays: a fully-automated drive-through car wash and two self-serve bays, one of them bus-sized. Members of Council and staff discussed the materials noting Stamplecoskie had been proactive about addressing potential issues such as not affecting water supply to neighbouring properties and thanked him.

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