Frontenac Islands may be the smallest township in Ontario but attending Island council meetings brings home the fact that size and a small population does not mean fewer problems to solve or areas of concern to deal with, transportation, roads, development, waste management, safety, water, policing , health, recreation, land use, policy, sustainability, tourism and more …
Within minutes of the start of Frontenac Islands May meeting , Deputy Mayor Jones (Howe Island) once again declared that the Township “procedures by law” is flawed and expressed frustration with the lack of reference to any council debate contained in April minutes council was about to approve. Jones said that a reference to comments made by staff and members of the public had been recorded but his comments had not. He added that unless one attended meetings or read the paper residents would know little from the minutes, referring again to a township insurance payment. “The payment was not approved , was not brought back and we did not receive a 2nd tender. I believe council was circumvented on this issue,” Jones declared. He proposed a resolution to review the township’s procedural by law to consider a more detailed format for minutes including a summation of debate, (as at county meetings).
Following the Municipal Act and Robert’s Rules, not everything that is said is recorded but resolutions must be, according to the Mayor, deferring Jones’ request to other business . However problems came up again when Jones questioned the township’s accounts payable policy regarding the payment voucher and bills already paid without council approval . The possibility of policy reviews had come up before, this time resulting in resolutions commissioning thorough reviews of the Townships Procurement and Accounts Payable Policies and Procedures, as well as a review of the Procedural bylaw to consider a more detailed format including debate summaries
WI’s Maureen Lollar and members of the WI Women’s Institute were in attendance to encourage the township to upgrade the electrical and heating system at the WI community Hall to make it usable all year. “It has been a vital part of the community for many years,” Lollar said. “Even with unreliable services, organisations have persevered. We are sure that the financial investment in the building will reap dividends .” Mayor Doyle indicated a quote for services will be considered during budget deliberations.
WI Community Medical Clinic Board President Kathy Gilbert, and Treasurer Walter Knott, presented a Clinic update and Financial Report. “Last year we ran the clinic. We didn’t build it,” Gilbert said acknowledging the financial support to rebuild from the community through money, donations and insurance. “It took time to make this substantial community building operational and then the rules for a doctor changed,” Knott added. The report includes the strategic plan for the clinic and outlines activities to date since opening its doors. “Most recently a regular monthly foot clinic through a liaison with Kingston’s Seniors Centre with further healthcare initiatives being considered,” Gilbert said. Councillor Springgay noted the importance of getting the report out, so the community sees what is being achieved and once again rally round. “The dilemma is that if you have a good doctor in the city, it is difficult to say I’ll go here.” “Perhaps as doctors retire that will change,” Mayor Doyle added. The report was (received as information), and is available at the Town Hall.
In other business: Council discussed the destruction of 17 trees including heritage trees (as described in a letter from Bruce Horne) cut down by Hydro One on Rd.95 toward Horne’s Ferry, some on township property. Horne is presently dealing with Hydro One. Council members resented the implication that the Township had approved the tree cutting which is not the case (confirmed) and will indicate same in a letter to Hydro One Networks Inc. The Township also want a clean up on Thunder Rd. where tree trimming also occurred.
Council approved the temporary closure Rd 96, Friday Aug 5th for the WI Music Festival; two tenting nights Aug. 5 & 6; a Vendor’s Village Aug. 6th at the Community Centre, site of the festival. Policing arrangements are underway.
A joint WI Business & Tourism Association / WI Women’s Institute Garage & Bake Sale will be held along the the east side of the WI Town Hall on Saturday May 21st
Council approved a request made by Kathy Rothermel and Hank Connell representing WI food producers “Taste of Wolfe Island”(TWI) to use the WI Town Hall’s East side parking area to host a Public Market Saturday’s June 18th to Sept 18th inclusive (8am-1pm).
In further business Councillor Norris questioned why an undersized culvert has not yet been replaced and the lack of action on the sign bylaw. He wants the littering bylaw be posted.
Councillor Springgay is concerned that the WI Demand Management team’s “transportation report “ presented to council was released to the press before a public meeting was held. She also raised concerns about ground mounted solar panels over which the township has no control. (Roof mounted panels require a building permit.)
WI resident Ed Kenney attended the meeting to ask the same questions of council he asked in April related to his assessment appeal and requested they be included in council minutes along with the answers. His written statement noted a published statement that the township has no responsibility for property assessment for tax purposes. His questions related to: Who hired the law firm to represent the township at a hearing regarding a residential property assessment appeal? Why? Was it a council decision? (NO) Ever done before? (NO) Is any portion of my municipal taxes paying for this law firm to oppose my appeal to MPAC? (NO) Costs of hiring this law firm to date? (were made available) Is this township being reimbursed by Trans Alta for any of the costs? (NO) Kenney noted that the hearing has been moved to Kingston because of inadequate facilities on the island and will be arranged by Cunningham and Swan. at the township’s expense. Frontenac Islands minutes are published on the township’s web site. Frontenac Islands Council meets next on Howe Island Mon. June 13th, 6:30 pm.
Around Town: A WI entry posted to Kraft Celebration Tour promoting Victoria Park baseball diamonds and riding ring requires your comments. Please Read entry & Post a comment at www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca or facebook/ tweet http://www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca/nominations/share/36/ Your support is needed once again.
-What great news to anticipate that as a result of a reduction in the levy to be paid to Frontenac County, municipal taxes on Frontenac Islands could go down. But that may well be the case, according to Mayor Denis Doyle.
“Recently we talked about approximate numbers, ” Doyle said. “But now it is official. The Frontenac County levy this year (2011) is $821,595 compared to the 2010 levy of $843,291, representing a 2.6% reduction, which is very good compared to a near 8% increase last year.” The county budget was passed in April and has been received by the township as it continues its own budget discussions. And there is more good news according to Doyle referring to the Federal Gas Tax money received by the County and how it will be dispersed this year.
“Deputy Mayor David Jones and I are very pleased that an agreement was reached to transfer a good portion of the Federal Gas Tax money down to the townships for roads and bridges (as stipulated in the program). “This year we have negotiated a much better deal ,”Doyle said. “Of the approximately $850,000 the County receives annually, $510,000 will be distributed among the 4 townships still leaving Frontenac County with $340,000 to spend. (last year the County transferred only $110K of the $850K gas tax money to the townships.)
“This year the new County Council has decide to transfer an additional 400K of the gas tax money to the townships which means an additional $40K to Frontenac Islands for a total of about $51K. In addition we get about $80K of Gas Tax money directly which must be used for infrastructure items, primarily roads,”
“While David Jones and I made it clear that the rate of 7 to 8 % County budgets increases over the past few years was just not sustainable for our Frontenac Islands tax payers, Doyle said,”It is important for people to know that the entire County council along with very competent staff worked hard to lower expenses. Our deliberations included a detailed analysis by staff to determine just where we could cut without negatively affecting the very important services Frontenac County provides. Our decisions regarding gas taxes however does means cuts in certain County initiatives.”
The passage of the County budget allows Frontenac Islands council to move forward with a clearer picture of what Frontenac Islands municipal taxes will look like. “Our plan is to have one more working budget meeting (May 12), another in late May and to have it finalized at a public meeting.” According to Mayor Doyle, Frontenac Islands pays about 10% of the overall County expenses, and the same figure is used to transfer the Gas Tax money. “Now with the finalized County figures we can move on knowing that as a result of the changes our net payment to the county will be reduced .”
It is interesting to note that the new county structure initiated last year provides greater opportunity for review by the townships with 2 representatives (mayor and one other) from each of North, Central and Frontenac Islands, and 3 representatives from South Frontenac. Formerly County Council consisted only of the four mayors. Now both Mayor Doyle who lives on Wolfe Island and Deputy Mayor David Jones from Howe Island represent Frontenac Islands at the County. The change while presumably creating longer meetings no doubt allows for more intense deliberation and discussion.
In other business of interest to Wolfe Islanders and the public at large, was a recent meeting of OPP members Judy King and Sandra Barr with WI Community Centre Board representative Paul Hogan along with Kingston's Virginia Clarke, organizer of WI's annual Music Festival, and Rick Lindgren representing the Wolfe Island residents in the village of Marysville to talk about a number of island issues. Also attending the committee meeting was Mayor Doyle, Councillor Wayne Grant and CAO Terry O'Shea.
Clarke was looking to have camping permitted at this year's Music Festival both Friday and Saturday nights. Since this was not a council meeting, no official decision could be taken with regard to this issue until the May council meeting.
Lindgren was there to express the concerns regarding the unacceptable behaviour in the past of some Music Festival attendees. Hopefully details will be worked out with respect to OPP coverage at the Music festival in August and how to better control those who wander through the village.
It was determined that The OPP will be invited back to an open public meeting where they will present their recommendations on how the community can to deal with further issues of concern on the island, including break-ins, as well as loitering and trespass particularly at the west end of the village by the Cruickshank's property during the summer months. Issues at Big Sandy Bay also came to light including the boaters who trespass and others who do not clear customs, that also require a solution. The May meeting of Frontenac Islands Council will be held on May 9th at 6:30 pm. at the WI Town Hall. FYI The Council of the Township of Frontenac Islands will also have a Special Meeting of Council on Thursday May 12, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in the WI Town Hall, Its purpose to continue budget discussions.
- With the return to service (May-Oct) of the Horne's Ferry, WI becomes an International link. Interesting thought. * WI has been registered in the Kraft CelebrationTour with TSN Sports. The required first letter has been posted to www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca. Now it is your turn to send letters extolling: community spirit, passion for sports and Healthy active life style. The closing for letters midnight June 10th. To see submissions: http://www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca/nominations/detail/36/ Not as complex as Kraft Hockeyville. Ten communities across Canada win $25,000. The top 20 is by letter selection only. Post a letter. Finalists announced on July 1st. * Community Euchre 7pm Thursday's UC Hall.