Tehkummah Council Notes

Work quotes

Tehkummah contacted companies to replace water valves at South Baymouth Marina. They received and approved a quote from Cooper and Sons Plumbing which would amount to no more than $4,300 per valve, plus HST. Councillor Paul Bowerman asked where the valve would be relocated because the quote indicated the valve would be moved upstream.

Roland Aeschlimann won the job to make accessibility upgrades to the township office. He submitted the only quote, for $7,100 plus HST. He plans to begin work in the first week of January. Councillor Ron Hierons asked to make sure Mr. Aeschlimann’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and insurance certifications were up-to-date before starting work.

Financial statements

Acting Clerk-Treasurer Roy Hardy presented current financial statements to council, showing the 2018 year-to-date spending contrasted with actual spending in 2017. An updated version that also included 2018 budgeted amounts was prepared just before the meeting and not included in the public agenda package.

Councillor Mike McKenzie presented some questions at an earlier meeting to Mr. Hardy, which Mr. Hardy shared at the meeting. Some of the concerns included why the township had only received about half of last year’s amount in the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund so far (Mr. Hardy said it was partly because they were waiting on financial statements from the township that were to be sent out the next day), why plumbing and heating and hydro bills varied widely compared to last year (the areas were separated from an umbrella ‘utilities’ category and will remain separate in the future), and a large amount of revenue into the Little Schoolhouse and Museum (that money was from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) and was misdirected; the problem will be corrected).

There were also concerns about the high utility bills for street lighting. Mr. Hardy said he would check into the matter. Councillor Bowerman made note of the 2017 cost to replace a gas pump at the marina and wanted to make sure it was covered by the grant that was obtained for the work.

Mr. Hardy offered a prediction that by the end of the year, some revenues will be down overall, but spending will likely be close to the 2018 budgeted amount.

Christmas holiday plans

Due to Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Tuesdays, council resolved to close the office and roads department (excepting work required to keep roads passable) on the Mondays as well. The office will be closed between December 24 and 26 and again from December 31 to January 1, 2019.

Roads superintendent update

Council heard that the snow plow had a minimal amount of damage after leaving a roadway on Friday, November 16 and was back in operation the following Monday. Roads superintendent Adam Bowerman has notified the township that he will be moving on to another work opportunity. Mr. Hardy suggested having an open job posting without a closing date to increase the chances of finding the right candidate for the job.

Manitoulin Streams donation

Council had not yet given a $5,000 donation to Manitoulin Streams that it had approved in November 2017. Councillor McKenzie expressed his displeasure with Manitoulin Streams doing the same work as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and said that organizations like Manitoulin Streams had been created so the province could spend less money on the same work, instead deferring that cost to municipalities who are asked for donations. Council ultimately voted to pay the donation as promised.

Audit invoice

MNP LLP Auditors provided an additional invoice to council regarding this year’s audit, totalling $47,756.62 in addition to the initial $10,000 expense. These costs came as a result of the extra work auditors needed to complete the audit. This involved finding old documents and organizing various amounts of paperwork.

“The circumstances in 2017 has directly had an impact on our ability to get our audited statements done, there is no doubt about that,” said Mr. Hardy. He then told council that MNP included instructions on how to better organize the township’s documentation so that it can avoid these extra charges in future years.

Councillor Bowerman raised a concern that he had not gotten to look at the detailed points within the audit, as was motioned by council, to see the areas that council did not meet targets and ways it could improve in the future. He did not support the motion to pay the extra invoice because he felt it was a waste if council was unable to use the audit as a tool to learn from its past mistakes.

Reeve Eric Russell said MNP was unable to release that information when it was requested.

Letter from Nairn-Hyman

regarding MP Carol Hughes

Council received a letter from Nairn-Hyman township on the North Shore that was sent to all municipalities within Ms. Hughes’ Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing riding. It stated the township’s position against Ms. Hughes’ vote against the Conservatives’ motion to transfer convicted child murderer Terri-Lynn McClintic from a healing lodge back to a prison.

Council voted to pass a similar motion denouncing Ms. Hughes’ vote position.

Labour board settlement update

There is a notice posted on the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) website concerning the settlement between former Clerk-Treasurer Karen Gerrard and the township, as well as Reeve Russell, Deputy Reeve Paul Bowerman, Councillor Lorie Leeson, Councillor McKenzie and Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Barb Deforge. There is a hearing scheduled for December 17 to address a case classified as “failure to comply with settlement.” Neither parties could speak about the case as it is before the board.