Jeff Green | Oct 29, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - October 29, 2009 Central Frontenac CouncilBy Jeff Green
Central Frontenac to stick with mail-in voting
Central Frontenac Township staff brought a preliminary report to a Committee of the Whole meeting on October 27 concerning the option of internet/telephone voting for next year’s election.
In the 2006 election, neighbouring townships, including Tay Valley, South Frontenac, and Addington Highlands employed an internet/telephone system that was provided by Intellivote of Nova Scotia.
Deputy Clerk Cathy MacMunn compared the cost of the Intellivote service with the postal system that the township has been using, and concluded that there would be a cost savings with the Intellivote system in the range of $3,000 to $5,000.
“There are pros and cons to both systems,” said MacMunn. “With the mail in system we can lose some votes through the mail, or if they are too late, but with the internet/telephone system people can vote up until the last minute. There is also a question of staff time.”
“We have time to consider this,” said Township CAO John Duchene. “We don’t have to decide until 60 days before the election. We can canvas the townships that used it last time to see how it went, about voter turnout, etc. and come back in January. This is just a preliminary report.”
“My gut feeling is that it is sort of a generational issue. We might assume the internet is the way to go, but for seniors that might not be the case,” said Councilor Norm Guntensperger.
“I like the idea of convenience, but I would hate to lose election night,” said Councilor Frances Smith.
Mayor Gutowski said, “I like the idea of eliminating paper. It’s a green option. Add that to the cost savings, the logistics of no spoiled ballots, the ease of the system, I think the telephone/internet is a better option.”
“The mail-in was a great improvement,” said Councilor Bob Harvey, “I think the Internet is more intimidating. I still like mail-in.
Even though Mayor Gutowski wholeheartedly supported changing the voting system to electronic voting, she found herself to be the only one of that opinion. She suggested the matter be closed and the current mail-in system be maintained. “I don't see an appetite for change here. I don't see why we should spend any more staff time on this if that is the case,” Gutowski said.
By a vote of 6-1, the mail-in system was re-instated.
$7,000 for sound system
A wireless sound system, with a capacity to record the proceedings as well as to amplify voices, will be purchased for use at township meetings now that all the meetings are scheduled in the Oso Hall.
More problems at Piccadilly Hall - Building Inspector Ian Trickett presented a report on some of the projects that are underway at halls and parks currently.
The plan to put in new handicapped accessible washrooms at the Piccadilly Hall has revealed a much more serious and potentially expensive set of problems.
Ian Trickett said that the external wall of the addition to the building has quite a bit of rot in it, and it is causing the building to sink. “We are considering whether to attempt a repair or tear down the entire addition and start over again. Once we are putting in all new washrooms it might be an idea to rebuild,” he said.
Work is proceeding at the Oso Hall, and to rewire the lighting at the Arden rink.
The plan to construct change rooms for the Mountain Grove rink has run into a snag, however, because the one tender that has been received for the contract is too high. “We are in negotiations now to see if we can get it down to where we need it to be,” Trickett said of the tender price.
High energy costs – A preliminary energy audit of township buildings has revealed some pretty high numbers. The Hinchinbrooke garage cost $26,459 to heat and light in 2008, including almost $23,000 in propane alone. The Olden Garage was cheap in comparison, at $19,592. Two garages that are not being used anymore are still costing a fair bit of money: the Arden garage – $9,053, the Wagner Road garage $13,570 and the Mountain Grove library building $8,821. Measures to cut or eliminate some the costs are being contemplated.
“There are some very large figures on this list,” said Ian Trickett, “this gives us a baseline set of figures that we can work to improve.”