Council Reports: March 19+26, 2007

March 19, 2007
Special Committee of the Whole Meeting regarding the Budget: 9:17 a.m. – 5:46 p.m.
All members of Council present.

SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN TINY’S POPULATION: At the beginning of the meeting Mayor Peggy Breckenridge drew Council’s attention to recent StatsCan population statistics, which show Tiny as one of the fastest growing municipalities in Simcoe County — 19.4% in the last five years — largely because of cottage conversions. Increased permanent population gives the Township greater power at County Council. When a weighted vote is called, the potential total is 122. Innisfil has 13 votes; Tiny, Wasaga, and New Tecumseth have 10 votes apiece, the remaining 12 municipalities have 9 or less (Midland has 7, Tay 5, and Penetanguishene 4). Her point was that Tiny needed to look farther afield than its immediate neighbours when seeking comparable municipalities for matters like staff and council remuneration. Tiny has the 4th largest assessment in the County.


* NO to Habitat for Humanity’s request for a free vacant lot. Council was sympathetic, but conscious of the fact that a lot in Tiny costs much more than lots donated in Penetanguishene and Port McNicoll. Council decided to ask HfH to suggest other ways the Township might support its efforts.
* YES to the request for $2,000 for the “Caring for our Beaches” conference on July 13. All members of Council and several members of staff are to attend. Information about the Bluewater Dunes Park initiative will be available on one of the tables the Township will have as a sponsor of the event.
* YES to using $10,000 to hire a summer assistant to work on several policy matters for the Clerk.
* YES to Mayor Breckenridge’s request that money be set aside for two community events – 1) a pig or corn roast which would include games (possibly in the Perkinsfield Park) and 2) a Golf tournament.
* YES to continuing to assess households on municipal water systems (including vacant lots) $200 each year for the Water Reserve Fund. This fund should amount to $713,000 by the end of 2007, but the objective is $2 million. This year’s piping upgrades at Georgian Sands will come out of the Fund, as have recent upgrades at all the other systems that exceeded the value of grants from other levels of government. The Province wants the Township to build a fund equivalent to the cost of replacing all of Tiny’s water systems in one year. Staff intends to argue that it is extremely unlikely that all 18 systems would fail simultaneously, so a reserve of $2 million is sufficient.
* YES to installing the remaining six survey monuments that will make it easier to establish the 178 m. line along the entire shore of Tiny.
March 26, 2007
Committee of the Whole Meeting: 9:04 a.m. – 5:27 p.m.
Regular Evening Meeting: 7:17 p.m. – 7:41 p.m.
All members of Council present.

CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: 4:30 p.m. – 5:26 p.m.

BUDGET DISCUSSION: Council has been working toward a 0% increase in the Township’s share of municipal taxes. The cumulative effect of the various decisions that had been taken in the course of budget discussions, including the township’s success in acquiring a $69,000 grant for boardwalks in the Bluewater Dunes Park, was $27,189 above an absolutely flat-line budget. One criticism of the Township’s financial picture hasbeen the lack of a general equipment reserve. Council decided to put $98,738 into this new reserve. (Later in the meeting, Councillor George Cornell asked that the whole matter of reserves be reviewed, and it was decided that this would be part of the Strategic Planning sessions late in May or early June.)

At this point it is expected that there will be an increase in the overall municipal tax of 2.24%.

DISCUSSION OF THE ACCOUNTS FOR MARCH 26: At every meeting, Councillor Nigel Warren has queried the detail of Township spending, as he attempts to understand whether the Township is taking advantage of economies of scale and whether there are anomalies in spending. At this meeting, the treasurer anticipated that he would question the large bill for toner cartridges and checked to see whether or not the price charged by the Township’s usual supplier was competitive. He found that a competitor offered a better price, and so, in future, the Township will check before going to the usual source.

COUNTY WASTE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP: The waste management workshop, which County staff will be conducting for the 32 members of County Council, has been set for May 1. The session is open to the public. The latest information is that there is to be an hour devoted to Site 41, of which 30 minutes have been assigned to the Community Monitoring Committee. According to Deputy Mayor Lawrence, County staff has imposed constraints on the CMC — one speaker, nothing about alternatives to dumpsites, the presentation to be submitted a week in advance. Dispiritingly, without even attending the workshop, the representatives from Penetang have decided to support a dumpsite at Site 41.

OPP REPORT: Inspector Philbin reported that the Midland Detachment has been suffering “man”power shortages because two officers have been away on maternity leave and two more have been seconded to other duties. An additional problem is the time consumed by domestic calls. As a result standard patrols have had to be cut back, though calls for service have been dealt with. As the Township is charged for the actual hours of policing received, there should be a large rebate this year.

Asked about trespass on privately owned beaches, Inspector Philbin said that the police response is similar to that elsewhere in the Township. The OPP will attend, investigate, act if required, and attempt to keep the peace. As all instances are different, he could not say just how the police would act in any particular situation: there is no simple blanket policy.

FIRE DEPARTMENT AND UNASSUMED ROADS: In response to a series of questions from members of Council, Randy Smith, Tiny’s Fire Chief, noted that his fire trucks cannot access many of the Township’s unassumed roads and that property owners on such roads cannot get cheaper insurance rates as a result of his department’s tanker shuttle accreditation. Apparently many unassumed roads that used to be accessible are so no longer, partly because of the increase in fire truck size and partly because trees have gradually put on girth, narrowing the width of roads. Moreover, there is no place for fire trucks to turn around on many unassumed roads. As property owners on unassumed roads are in the minority, the fire department has chosen not to buy smaller trucks, which might make such roads more accessible.