Council Preview: Feb 20, 2019

This is being shared much, much later than normal. I’m sorry about that. It has been a very busy past few days and I just haven’t had a chance to put my thoughts down as of yet.

Here is the full agenda for this week’s meeting, for those wanting to play along at home.

Court of Revision

Three members of Council will sit as Court of Revision to hear if there are any disputes over the cost assessments recommended for the Martin Road Development Drain. I’m not on the CoR this time, but can expect to be in the future.

Delegations, Presentations & Petitions

Mark Peacock, CAO, and Bonnie Carrey, Community Relations Coordinator for the Lower Thames Conservation Authority Presentation will be speaking before Council.

Consent Agenda

  • As of March 1, any disclosures of pecuniary interest declared by a Council or Board member must be recorded in a registry by the Clerk, and the disclosure must be issued in writing at the meeting, or at the next meeting if you missed the meeting where the pecuniary interest existed.
    • Thank goodness I’m not involved in any development-related businesses! I doubt you will see me have to disclose any pecuniary interest in the near future.
  • The Middlesex Centre YMCA had a surplus of over $59,000 last year which is being provided to the municipality. Just like last year, and as per our agreement, MXC donates 10% of this back to the YMCA Strong Kids program if the surplus is over $20,000.
  • An Integrity Commissioner report that is the result of several complaints against Deputy Mayor Brennan prior to the last election. I was not aware an investigation had started until very late last week. I don’t think it’s appropriate to say much here, but I imagine there will be a lively discussion this evening.
  • The annual water and wastewater reports collect a lot of information we have already seen. It’s good to see our new Water/Wastewater Operations Manager getting his feet under him and ensuring our normal processes continue without any disruption. Overall, things all appear to be well within normal, acceptable operating parameters for all systems.

Staff Reports

  • Staff are recommending that the pay range for the CAO position be reviewed to ensure it’s competitive. I’m not entirely sure this is needed at this time, but I know there are municipalities that offer higher salaries than Middlesex Centre does, and those that offer less as well.
  • The Council Grants program is back again, with several requests from in and near Ward 4 recommended for approval including:
    • $2,000 for the Del-Ko-Brydge Canada Day (being hosted in Komoka this year!)
    • $2,000 for the Komoka Railway Museum
    • $1,000 for Trees Middlesex
    • $1,500 for the Middlesex Centre Archives (I adore this organization!)
  • Staff and Council Relationship Policy
    • For the most part this is both legally required now, as per legislation passed by the provincial government, and codified what’s already happening. A larger concern is that the Council Code of Conduct is potentially unnecessarily restricting, or at least unclear, about how much access Council can have one-on-one to senior management. I expect there will be a discussion around that topic tonight, but that’s not explicitly contained in the policy before us this evening.
  • Approval to examine two drains in the municipality for improvement are before us.
  • A recommendation to approve VanBree Drainage & Bulldozing’s bid on the Squires Municipal Drain is before us, which is well under the estimate and budget available.

Public Meetings

  • Staff are recommending approving the lot severance of 15 Elmhurst St (Kilworth), creating two new lots that are roughly equal in size to the existing, adjacent lot to the south.
    • I have received correspondence from the neighbour to the north, along Glendon Drive, expressing concern over the trees that provide separation. As far as I can tell based on the County’s map, all (or at least most) of those trees are on the neighbour’s property, so Drewlo should not have any ability to cut those down without permission. I will get this clarified tonight.
    • Drewlo, through their lawyer, is unsatisfied with two of the conditions put forth by staff. Again, I imagine a discussion will be had about those this evening.
    • There is also a comment from another individual expressing concern over re-zoning to allow for higher density and protecting the character of the neighbourhood. Long-time readers will remember that the municipality’s official plan has to conform to the county’s official plan, which has to conform with the provincial policy statement. The PPS calls for infill and higher density where possible.

And that’s that for tonight’s meeting! Sorry for the tardiness, and I will work to get back on the schedule and expectations I set out starting immediately.