| Jan 12, 2006


Feature Article - January 12, 2006

Feature Article

January 12, 2006

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A break with tradition:Central Frontenac Council, January 9, 2006

by JeffGreen

In a break with tradition, Central Frontenac Council has named a new Deputy Mayor for the final year of its mandate. Councillor Frances Smith, who represents Oso district, had her name put forward by Councillor Bob Harvey, and Council accepted it. Faye Putnam, who represents Olden District, served as Deputy Mayor in 2004 and 2005.

Previously a bylaw was in place that prohibited representatives from the District where the Mayor resides from having the role of Deputy Mayor, but that stipulation was removed last summer, paving the way for Smith to become Deputy Mayor even though Bill MacDonald resides in Oso District.

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There have been three terms of Council since Central Frontenac was established in 1998. In the first term, 1998-2000, Lloyd Lee, representing Hinchinbrooke District, was the Deputy Mayor for the entire life of the Council, and in the second, 2001-2003, the post was held for three years by Jack Nicolson, representing Kennebec District.

Councillor Faye Putnam told the News that she had no problem with Frances Smith taking on the Deputy Mayor role, and supported the resolution.

The Deputy Mayor stands in for the Mayor when necessary, but as Faye Putnam pointed out, “Bill MacDonald doesn’t miss many meetings.”

Rideau Valley asks for an increase The Rideau Valley Conservation Association (RVCA) wrote to inform Central Frontenac of their plans for 2006, and included a budget summary. Even though RVCA plans to dramatically increase expenditures in 2006, and will be constructing new offices, an increase in funding from the Province and a deal with the City of Ottawa to finance the new office construction has enabled them to avoid any large increase in their municipal levy.

Municipal funding for the RVCA is split among the 18 jurisdictions that have territory within the watershed, but it is divided on the basis of property assessment. The City of Ottawa will pay over $3 million to RVCA this year, while Central Frontenac has a levy of $6,291, up from $5,976 in 2005, an increase of 5.2%.

South Frontenac has a levy of $12,157.39 in 2006, up from $11,365.01 in 2005.

Council received the report from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, and deferred the matter to budget deliberations in March.

“At least the increase is lower than it was for the past two years,” said Councillor Bill Guigue, who is the Central Frontenac representative to the RVCA.

Gas Tax Agreement Council passed a bylaw that puts in place an agreement with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), enabling money to flow from the Federal gas tax transfer initiative. In order to be forwarded, the money must be allocated to a project that fits the criteria of the gas tax rebate program. Township CAO Heather Fox recommended that the monies be allocated to the township’s ongoing road repaving program, which seems to fit the criteria.

“Since our repaving program is already budgeted for, we can apply the gas tax monies to it, and free up money to put towards whatever other initiatives Council identifies in the future,” Fox told Council.

Central Frontenac will receive $44,429 for 2005, and is slated to receive an identical amount in 2006. In 2007 the program is slated to be worth $59,352 to Central Frontenac; in 2008 $74,035; and in 2009 $148,071.

Insurance costs jump sharply In 2005 Central Frontenac Township paid $82,869 for Insurance. In 2006 costs will jump to $108,923, an increase of 32%. The major factor for the increase is an 84% increase in the cost of liability insurance, from $19,028 to $35,012.

More road maintenance complaints Councillor Logan Murray told council that he has received 50 complaints from ratepayers about icy road conditions over the Christmas season.

“I told each person to phone the township’s roads hotline, but then one of the people phoned back and said the hotline wasn’t working because the mailbox was full.”

Mayor Bill MacDonald responded by noting that, “It rained for 24 hours straight on the day you are referring to. We have 650 kilometres of road in this township, and 13 pieces of equipment, 2 of which were broken down. I think our roads department is doing as good a job as they can under the circumstances. There is no point putting sand on a road while the rain is coming down because the sand washes out in ten minutes and the road is as slick as before.

“Don’t forget that our roads crew has been dealing with horrendous weather right through the Christmas season, and have been working 24 hour shifts”

One of the people who complained to Logan Murray and Bill MacDonald about the ice storm on December 28 and 29 was Rod Drapeau who lives about 3 kilometres in on the Tryon Road south of Sharbot Lake. Drapeau, who runs a fire protection business on Road 38, was upset that the Tryon Road was not sanded in time for him to drive to work on Thursday morning and said that several of his employees were iced in on back roads and this cost his business dearly on that day. The road was sanded at around noon on Thursday and again in the early evening.

Rod Drapeau told the News that he has never called the township with road complaints before but that he is fed up with what he calls the “minimum standard service” in Central Frontenac. “I need to get to work in the morning,” he said. “I lived in Plevna for years, and I never missed a day’s work because of the roads.”

Drapeau said he is considering moving his business and home to South Frontenac where the road service is superior, in his view.

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