New EDO presentation
Tehkummah’s new economic development officer Shelba Millette (shared between the Township of Assiginack and the Municipality of Killarney) visited the start of the meeting to introduce herself and describe her needs for the municipal council, including their project priorities for the coming years.
One of her asks was for the township to form a strategic planning committee, which council discussed later in the meeting.
Councillor Rick Gordon asked for clarification on which of the two EncompassIT bills was for its regular quarterly expenses and which was for the set of laptops the township purchased for councillor use through its COVID-19 funding allowance. Deputy treasurer Barb Deforge clarified that the $2,872.46 amount was for quarterly IT services and the payment for $13,390.30 was for items such as the laptops and an office server setup.
Councillor Eric Russell asked why the township chose to spend its money on computers when the Township of Billings put their funds toward creating an outdoor skating rink for community families to use. Clerk administrator Silvio Berti replied that the township still has some money in its COVID-19 funding and could choose to do so if they wish.
Mary Hall tendered her resignation from the library board and issued a commitment to support the library’s activities in the future wherever possible. Council voted to send her a thank you note for her dedicated service.
Council approved without comment both an annual membership renewal to Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) and to grant permission to Ward’s General Store to sell alcohol on statutory holidays in 2021, a standard motion that council passes annually.
Strategic planning committee
Council saw a brief slide show presentation from Mr. Berti about setting up a committee to create a strategic action plan for the township. Ms. Millette suggested a 10-year plan but said it could be less than 10 years if necessary.
She suggested that the committee be made up of a maximum of four or five people, three of whom will be herself, Mr. Berti and Reeve David Jaggard. A larger group can face issues in co-ordinating meeting times, especially with their stated desire to hold meetings for this committee during working hours.
Mr. Berti explained that the strategic plan is directly linked to the township’s asset management plan and will help inform the township’s future directions and improvements.
Councillor Lorie Leeson and Councillor Russell both volunteered to be on the committee. The latter asked if the public will be able to attend the meetings and Ms. Millette said they would be internal meetings for development. Mr. Berti added that any decisions would still have to come back to the council table for final assent.
“It’s a fairly fast process we need to do to get this approved and available for funding applications,” Mr. Berti said, highlighting the importance of an efficient working committee. Ms. Millette also emphasized that her three-township contract means she has just 11.5 hours per week of work at each location.
Council resolved to form the committee with Councillor Leeson and Councillor Russell serving as members alongside the three others.
Added flood coverage
Tehkummah’s council discussed an insurance policy addition to cover all municipal assets from damage due to flooding and earthquakes for an extra $456 to its premium. In 2017, council approved insurance coverage on its bridges and culverts for $500,000, but that did not include protection from circumstances such as flooding.
Mr. Berti said he believed the deductible would be the same as other items in the township, $25,000. He also added that he is looking at pricing a couple of bridge replacements, one on the Second Concession and another nearby on the 20th Sideroad.
The clerk-administrator also estimated that the bridges would cost about $250,000 each, so the coverage would make up for the cost of two bridges getting taken out during a flooding event. Any further damage in a single incident would likely only happen during a large-scale emergency situation, he said, which would likely result in assistance from federal and provincial governments.
Councillor Michael McKenzie asked if the coverage would apply to Michael’s Bay Road if it were to wash out due to spring flooding; Mr. Berti said that would fall under the policy.
Councillor Russell asked whether Central Manitoulin had coverage for its bridges, and if flooding destroyed a shared bridge such as on Townline Road, would both townships be able to claim damage and pool them together for a larger claim?
Mr. Berti said both sides would be able to collect whatever it would take to replace the bridge.
Councillor Russell then asked if the township could double its coverage amount up to $1 million.
Mr. Berti said at the previous meeting in January, council had agreed to a $500,000 coverage amount.
Council voted to approve the added flood and earthquake coverage, but Councillor Russell stood against the motion.
After receiving the minutes from the inaugural recreation committee meeting, council voted to approve the forming of a recreation committee in the township when it can submit its final terms of reference. Ginger Mead will be chair and Janice Mitchell will serve as vice-chair, while council representatives will be Councillor McKenzie and Councillor Leeson.
The committee suggested a proposed budget of $20,000 per year.
Council approved an expression of interest to apply to the second intake of Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Program for a review of its service delivery by a third party, concentrating on its IT provider’s records management solution.
Mr. Berti said the township had unsuccessfully applied for the same program previously but the program was now accepting applications again.
The first phase would be for The Managed Municipality to conduct a service review of how Tehkummah serves its ratepayers through the township office, from which it will make recommendations and a report. Then, the township would get some funding to cover 75 percent of implementing any recommended efficiency improvements.