Tehkummah council received its audited financial statements for 2018 from Angele Charbonneau, partner at accounting firm MNP LLP which has been contracted by the township. These statements were issued as unqualified, that is, there are no conditions on the report. 2017 figures had been adjusted because past accounting practices had included the balances of the Manitoulin Planning Board and Manitoulin Centennial Manor, which the township does not control, so these were removed.
The township’s net financial assets at the end of 2018 totalled $18,759, down from $120,816 at the end of 2017. Collected taxes came in at $1,141,013, roughly 5.4 percent above their expected amount. However, expenses also were much higher than expected, particularly the general government services category ($626,431 versus the budgeted $420,523) and environmental services ($460,320 versus the budgeted $220,477).
Tehkummah ended 2018 at a $346,290 deficit, as opposed to the budgeted $67,559 surplus. Its accumulated surplus dropped from $2,948,417 to $2,602,127. The deficit includes an asset depreciation amount of $309,192 (depreciation in 2017 was $306,042).
The township spent $9,371 on its landfill site closure and post-closure liability in 2017, but the cash flow sheet shows it was provided $9,092 by the same activity in 2018. These figures are based on the estimate given by the township’s contracted engineering firm.
The auditors provided recommendations, which will be assessed and presented in a follow-up report to council. The financial statements are available on the township’s website, tehkummah.ca.
Water and Sewer
Council adopted its water and sewer bylaw which effects a previously-approved rate increase of 2.5 percent each year in 2019, 2010 and 2021, not including any additional or emergency funding that may be required.
Councillor Rick Gordon said the water and sewer rate of $1,941 might as well have been a ‘double tax’ and said switching to a metered system would teach water conservation. Reeve David Jaggard said that ultimately, the township would need the same amount of money to maintain the system even if using meters, including the operation and monitoring of the water plant every day of the year. Acting Clerk-Administrator Roy Hardy said if the township really wanted to reduce these costs, it should look at fostering residential development in South Baymouth.
Sale/disposition of municipal land
Council passed its bylaw providing for the things to consider when someone requests to purchase a piece of municipal land, such as a road allowance. Councillor Michael McKenzie was very concerned about the prospect of the township selling its road allowances and did not support the bylaw. Reeve Jaggard said these were only policies to follow and that any future councils would give very careful consideration of any possible sales. The motion to enact the bylaw carried.
Fire chief’s report
Jeff Wilson said the newly acquired truck from the Township of Tiny has been working well and was just waiting on an emissions test before the ownership could transfer. The old 1987 pumper has been stripped and sold.
The newly purchased 1999 Freightliner has faced a much higher repair bill than originally anticipated. Mr. Wilson said this was because the company bringing it up to full operating condition strongly encouraged a new pump to extend the vehicle’s future lifespan, which came at double the cost of a used pump. An oil leak was also discovered on the truck which could be in the range of $3,000 to correct.
Mr. Hardy also noted that the east wall of the municipal garage requires “serious attention” and will need to be looked at in the 2020 capital budget.
BMO Re-advanceable ‘Masterline’
Council approved a Bank of Montreal Re-advanceable ‘Masterline’ line of credit worth $250,000. This product pre-approves the township to borrow money within that range in the form of either fixed- or variable-rate loans for equipment purchases.
For instance, Tehkummah will be using this to finance the new 2018 Dodge pickup patrol truck with a five-year fixed rate loan and, if it is within the bounds of the line of credit, possibly the new plow truck.
Re-advanceable means that as the balance on a loan is paid off, that money becomes available for other uses.
The line of credit carries no interest charges except for those associated with any loans within it. The township will have to approve any spending using the line of credit.
Winter roads standards, marina rules
Council passed its winter roads standards and its draft rules and regulations for the South Baymouth Marina.
The winter roads standards include a provision for contractors to clear municipally owned walkways and parking lots. Councillor McKenzie asked why those were included, to which Mr. Hardy replied that in exceptional circumstances it may be better to contract these jobs rather than pay overtime because municipal workers are busy working on keeping roads open.
The marina rules and regulations are a set of “common sense, safety-oriented” rules for boaters and municipal staff to reference. Councillor Lorie Leeson expressed concern with a provision preventing fishing from marina docks during peak season because of the popular fall perch fishing in the marina. Mr. Hardy replied that these provisions are in place to be enforceable if required, such as people getting in the way of the safe operation of the facility. If marina guests do not follow the regulations, the police can be involved.
South Baymouth overnight parking
Overnight parking has become an increasing problem since the Owen Sound Transportation Company has implemented parking charges at is facilities. Council was presented with a motion to install no overnight parking signs at the marina as had been done on Given Rd. and Water St. Councillor Leeson expressed concern about overnight boaters who would need the space and council discussed other possible challenges with putting up signs at this location. They directed staff to bring back a report on how they should deal with the parking issue.
Library board, Triangle Club agreements
Council said they were satisfied with a new draft agreement with the Tehkummah Library board and would be sending it to them for approval. The library is technically a separate entity from the township and so they would need to obtain a separate employer and HST number.
Mr. Hardy brought information to council about its agreement with the Tehkummah Triangle Senior Citizens’ Club and some provisions that the township would be working on, such as that Tehkummah did not wish to be involved with any events that included serving alcohol.
Council approved its draft landfill fees to be forwarded to the Ministry of the Environment. A copy of the fees was not provided in the public information package. Some of the costs that have been added include a cost for brush, scrap metal, bulky household furniture and appliances. Construction material costs have not changed. The township will not be accepting any fridges or freezers with coolant inside.
October office closure
The township office will be closed on Thursday, October 17 for staff to attend the Northern Treasurers Forum in Sudbury. The office will be open on Wednesday of that week instead.
A proposal was put forth in October 2017 through Local Authority Services (LAS), via the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), to estimate on the costs of switching the South Baymouth streetlights to LEDs. At the time, they had quoted the whole job as being around $31,000. The township will be checking whether this quote is still valid.
This project will qualify for Main Streets Funding that Tehkummah has received in the amount of $38,000, so if it can be accomplished within that budget, without taking away from any of the other hoped-for work under Main Streets funding, the township will proceed. If the costs are too high, the township will enter into an agreement for the service to whatever extent possible, if not the whole network.
The application must be submitted as part of the Main Streets funding by the end of the year, with the spending deadline being March 31, 2020.
Judith Jones of the Manitoulin Phragmites Project informed the township that two municipal right of ways contain phragmites. Council approved the use of Roundup Weathermax at the South Baymouth Lagoon outflow ditch and on the municipal road allowance ditch in proximity to Lakeshore Road.