Jeff Green | Sep 24, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - September 24, 2009 South Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green
South Frontenac answers questions on county governance
At a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday night, September 22, South Frontenac Council considered a seven-point questionnaire on county governance that was sent to them by Frontenac County Warden Janet Gutowski.
Each of the Frontenac townships is being asked to consider the questionnaire in advance of the October county council meeting, when the governance issue will ultimately be moved forward or put to bed for another four years.
There are currently four members on county council, the mayors of the four townships. The first question on the list concerns the number of members on county council, and asks if eight is an acceptable number - two representatives from each council.
A strong majority on council said no to eight members.
Council also rejected a proposal to give the South Frontenac mayor a weighted vote in recognition of the fact that 58% of county residents live in South Frontenac.
Instead, they all wanted to see South Frontenac have an extra member on county council.
Councilors David Hahn and Alan MacPhail both said they would favour a nine-member Council, with three members from South Frontenac and two from each of the other townships, but everyone else agreed with Councilor Ron Vandewal, who said a five-member Council is the best option, the mayors from all of the townships and an extra member, the deputy mayor, from South Frontenac.
“The other townships are not going to support this,” said Hahn, “so I think we should consider our fallback position. Can we live with nine?”
“Let’s not worry about a fallback position. They asked us what we thought and we are saying five. If they say something else, we will consider that when the time comes,” said Vandewal.
There was a strong consensus on council that any new county members could be chosen by the township council, rather than through a township-wide vote, and that the new person should sit at the county table for the entire term of four years, as the mayors do now. They also agreed that the current practice of the warden position rotating through the four mayors over the four-year term of county council should remain in place, rejecting a proposal that the warden be elected for a four-year term.
If county council agrees on a proposal for a change in county council composition it will come back to the townships for ratification. Three out of the four townships, representing the majority of the population, must ratify any proposal before it can come into effect.
With a majority of the county population, South Frontenac will effectively be able to veto any proposed change if they so choose. If they support a proposal, any two other townships must agree as well.
A decision on changing the composition must be reached by the end of 2009 to come into effect for the municipal election in November of 2010.
GAS TAX MONEY - Mayor Davison brought news that after years of debate “and a bit of horse trading” the township will receive $69,000 from the Frontenac County gas tax money this year. The money will be used on repairs to Road 38.
AGENDA ON THE WEB – Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Orr is trying to streamline the council agenda package and make it easier for members of council and the public to keep informed about township matters. In addition to changes in the way members of council receive information, the council agenda and much of the background reports and documentation will soon be posted on the township website (township.southfrontenac.on.ca) in .pdf format on the Monday preceding council meetings.