Northeast Town Council Notes

Council reviews municipal strategic plan

The Northeast Town council reviewed and approved the municipality’s 2014-2018 strategic plan last Tuesday.

Prior to the Christmas holidays, council had a brainstorming session, laying out its ideas for the plan.

Staff presented the finished plan for council’s review and approval at its first meeting back in the New Year.

“Kudos goes to Kristin (Luoma, Northeast Town economic development officer) who captured the goals of council and worked to develop this document,” said Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson. “From this strategic plan, staff with take council’s goals and try to put the specific dollars towards them throughout the budget process.”

“I think this is well done,” commented Councillor Bill Koehler on the plan. “This will help us over the next four years.”

“It’s important to remember as we review this plan, it is the general direction we want to take as a council,” explained Mayor Al MacNevin. “The reality is, some of the items may not come to fruition during the budget process.”

Councillor Melissa Peters commented that overall she felt the document was good, but she had some issues with wording.

“I think there should be another special meeting for the strategic plan, we should clean it up,” said Councillor Peters. “I can’t support this document the way it is.”

Councillor Peters went on to state that the cover page of the strategic plan should read ‘Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands’ in the graphic, not simply Little Current.

Council was unanimously in agreement with this suggestion and staff made a note to change the cover page graphic to reflect the will of council.

Councillor Peters went on to list more specific issues with the wording of the document, however Mayor MacNevin reminded Councillor Peters that the document was a general guideline for council and that the specific details would be determined during the budget process and as they came to the council table.

Mayor MacNevin asked council if it wished to hold a second special meeting to discuss the strategic plan further. The general consensus of council is that it did not.

A motion was moved by Councillor Koehler and seconded by Councillor Marcel Gauthier to approve the 2014-2018 Northeast Town Strategic Plan as amended.

In a recorded vote, the motion was carried by Mayor MacNevin, Councillor Laurie Cook, Councillor Michael Erskine, Councillor Paul Skippen and Councillor Bruce Wood. Councillor Peters voted against the motion.

Council approves interim tax levy and borrowing bylaws

The Northeast Town council carried a motion moved by Councillor Gauthier and seconded by Councillor Skippen passing bylaw No 2015-02, “being a bylaw to provide for an interim tax levy to provide for the payment of taxes and to provide for penalty and interest of 1.25 percent per month.”

Council also carried a motion to approve bylaw No 2015-03, “being a bylaw for the borrowing from TD Canada Trust until taxes are collected.”

In addition, council approved bylaw No 2015-04, “being a bylaw for the borrowing from TD Canada Trust for the purposes or refinancing the cost of closure related to the two former landfill sites.”

Little Current Public Library upgrades computer systems

Council approved a request from the Little Current Public Library board to withdraw $1,857.44 from the library’s reserve account to go towards the purchase of seven computers, monitors, Microsoft programs and a printmaster program.

In a letter to council from the board, it explains that the board originally budgeted $9,500 for the new computers, however an additional $1,857.44 was needed to cover the actual costs that came in at $11,357.44.

“I will support this,” said Councillor Gauthier.

“The computers at the library are very well used and it’s great that we can provide this service to the community,” added Councillor Erskine.

A motion to approve the request was moved by Councillor Erskine and seconded by Councillor Cook.

MHC requests council’s support with new physician recruitment program

Council reviewed a letter from Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) CEO Derek Graham requesting council’s support with a new physician recruitment program.

Council had a number of questions and requested that staff contact Mr. Graham to attend a future council meeting to discuss the program and the Northeast Town’s role in it.

Administration and finance

committee reviews municipal

operating summary and financial reports

Town treasurer Sheryl Wilkin reviewed the Northeast Town’s operating summary with committee as of December 31.

Ms. Wilkin reminded council that the summary was pre audit and that there are still more payments and adjustments prior to the final year end.

Ms. Wilkin also reviewed the accounts receivable for water/sewer for December 2014. She noted that there had been $24,760.37 in payments in December. She also told the committee that there were 12 accounts over $500, of which eight accounts had been disconnected and four of the accounts overdue due to penalty applied to their bills for October.

As for accounts receivable for taxes, Ms. Wilkin said that there had been $254,507.60 made in payments for December.

New social media policy

The administration and finance committee approved a recommendation to council for a new social media policy for the municipality.

Mr. Williamson explained that the policy would regulate the municipality’s use of social media.

“We want to utilize Facebook as a bulletin board to inform and keep the community up-to-date on things happening in the municipality,” Mr. Williamson further explained. “We don’t want to engage with people on social media in debates or offer options, simply offer facts about issues or events occurring in municipality.”

Mr. Williamson also assured the committee that town staff would have tight controls over what was posted, with himself approving all posts.

A motion to recommend the policy to council was moved by Councillor Skippen, seconded by Councillor Cook, before being carried by the committee.