Council Reports: April 23, 2004

April 23, 2004
Special Meeting of Committee of the Whole: 9:00 a.m. – 6:40 p.m.

DISCUSSION OF BUDGET: This was another day of Council learning what each department does and what consequences cuts to the budgets proposed by each department would have, but final decisions are still to be made.
Airport: Many questions were raised about the Huronia Airport, among them whether ANY tax money ought to be spent on it. Funding for the Airport is shared by Midland (50%), Penetanguishene (28%), and Tiny (22%). Council would like to see data about use of the airport by residents of Tiny. Council wants to know why the airport is not self-funding. The Airport’s Manager is to be asked to come and answer questions about the airport’s capital budget. In the short term, Council decided to okay only the operating budget, which is virtually the same as last year. Council decided to consider the issue of the airport in depth in the course of the next year, with an eye to getting out of the current arrangement.
Ontario Provincial Police: The OPP budget has increased by 15%, to $1,481,074. Council asked that Inspector Greg Skinner come and explain the huge increase.
Library Fees: Each family in Tiny Township may use one of the area libraries in Midland, Penetanguishene or Springwater. The libraries differ in the amounts they charge the Township per participating family.
South Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce: As with the Airport, there were lots of questions about the value of Tiny’s involvement, and the question of the Township membership is to be revisited in the course of the next year. Only 13 businesses have joined the Chamber from Tiny, yet the amount we’ve been asked to pay has moved from $17,200 to $20,100. More data is needed.
Leased Parks: The Parkland Reserve Fund supports these activities, not tax dollars. The Perkinsfield Parks and Rec Association is replacing its tennis courts; its share of the $92,000 cost is $46,000, the balance coming from the Parkland Reserve Fund. All aspects of this improvement have been handled within the established rules in consultation with the Public Works Department.
In spite of warnings, the Lafontaine Association went ahead and bought and installed equipment without going through the appropriate tendering process, without consulting with the Public Works Department, and without inspections. There is a serious problem here.
Tiny Trail Bridges: Some 10 bridges on 1.4 kilometres of the north end of the trail are in question. A maximum of $250,000 seems to have been set for removal of old bridges (3 of which, for safety reasons, must be taken down this year) and for their replacement with modest structures. Approvals have not yet been received from the Federal and Provincial governments for grant money. Councillor Rob Panasiuk questioned the wisdom of keeping the l.4 kilometre stretch open at all. It is pretty, but it is possible to detour around that part.
Boat Launches: Jackson Park: It was agreed that there should be no extension of the ramp and no dredging. Discussion bogged down over the issue of buoys and liability; a legal opinion is to be sought. Balm: This ramp (which is closed) will be left as is for the time being. Woodland: This ramp will be removed, as it is a danger to bathers.
Councillor Ray Millar said that he felt the Township should be moving towards zero-based budgeting.