There was a closed session to discuss two matters, as identified in the agenda:
- We received advice subject to solicitor-client privilege on one matter, and
- Received advice subject to solicitor-client privilege related to Fire Inspection Services.
The latter information will likely be made public soon.
Delegations, Presentations & Petitions
- Watson & Associates, Development Charges Study
- I already highlighted some of the biggest changes in my meeting preview.
- There was some good discussion about why barns are so heavily penalized, especially implement (equipment) barns, when they likely don’t add a large burden on fire or road services. I believe Watson & Associates are going to look at that issue before the next meeting related to development charges, as this process likely won’t be over until mid-July.
- There was also a question about why our development charges are much lower than London’s by a factor of roughly $10,000. As Peter Simcisko pointed out, the development charges are calculated based on past experience, the 10 year capital forecast, along with annual increases based on the cost performance index (inflation).
- I look forward to the next iteration on the report!
- Warden Smith and County CAO Rayburn
- First, Warden Smith and CAO Rayburn laid out just how different the County is compared with 20 years ago.
- In 1998 the County’s budget was $18,000,000 and it provided two services.
- In 2019 the County’s budget is roughly $100,000,000 and provides 36 service areas including Middlesex-London EMS, which accounts for $35,000,000 of the budget on its own.
- The assessment growth for 2019 was previously able to handle all of the changes between the 2018 and 2019 budget, however the province’s recent funding changes (a.k.a. downloading of costs) will lead to the County re-opening its 2019 budget.
- The province also wants to download employment services like resume writing, training, and others to the County’s budget. We’re also hearing the province may privatize land ambulances (when has privatization ever gone wrong, right?).
- The County is piloting a Chariot-like service in Dorchester to assess whether this mode of public transit is feasible across the County.
- Sam McFarlane, Accessibility Coordinator
- Sam gave us a high level overview, which was our accessibility training, on the services he provides Middlesex and Elgin Counties which includes advice on accessible buildings, legislation interpretation, and others.
- Budget to Actual April 2019
- No surprises to report here.
- Water and Wastewater Operation In-House
- I think this report from our staff provided some assurances to the newer Council members that bringing water and wastewater operations in-house was the right move, and continues to be the right move going forward. We’re spending several hundred thousands of dollars less than we were when American Water Canada was operating our infrastructure, and we have plenty of experienced staff on-hand capable of doing their jobs properly!
- Ilderton Tim Hortons – Amending Agreement
- The new sign is much smaller, will be turned off between 11pm and 6am, and appears to address all the concerns Ilderton residents and their Councillor had.
All items in the consent agenda were approved.
- Additional Fencing Projects
- The additional baseball diamond fencing projects were approved. We’re still under the budget allotted for the first, major fencing project identified in Delaware for this year.
- Komoka Drainage Works Union Ave Branch Improvement
- This was approved to move forward.
- There was some discussion about prior assurances provided to upstream land owners, who have also performed additional storm water mitigation on their land since the drain was originally installed, that they wouldn’t need to pay for future works. This was noted by staff.
- There were also questions around the design of the original drain, whether it was ever adequate, and what liability may fall on the original engineer. These were also noted for investigation.
- Bear Creek Municipal Drain Branch 4 Improvement
- This was also approved to move forward.
I noted publicly my concerns regarding the provincial governments plans to streamline the development application process and reduce times between application and building. The Agenda with Steve Paikin featured Minister Steve Clark in an interview about this plan and what changes it proposes.