| Mar 31, 2016

Waste management measures deferred

The waste management committee of the township met recently and discussed two potential changes. One would decrease the amount of waste going into the sites and the other would increase revenue.

The first measure is to stop allowing all construction waste at dumps. Instead, the committee contemplated allowing only a single truck or trailer load, and to have that material tossed into a bin and hauled away rather than filling up the waste site itself.

“That would result in people dumping in their backyards; at least that's my opinion,” said Reeve Henry Hogg.

The second idea was to eliminate the practice of allowing a free bag of dumping for every box of recycling that people bring to the dump. Recycling would still be free, but it would cost $2 per bag of waste.

“I don't think there are too many places where you don't have to pay something to dump garbage,” said Councilor Bill Cox.

“We already have the free bag in place, and it's hard to change something that people like and are used to. If we do, I would like at least one of you to come with me to each cottage association meeting,” said Reeve Hogg.

“People are paying extra in taxes because of the free bag, but the cost is hidden so they don't mind,” said Cox.

Council decided just to receive the waste management report, and Councilor Fritsch indicated he would bring the issues back to the table through a notice of motion at a future meeting.

Organisational review

Craig Davidson from Hybla Consulting brought a preliminary draft of an organisational review. He recommended establishing a chief administrative officer/clerk treasurer position as a new senior staff position, who would supervise a public works manager, the fire chief, and a chief building official/bylaw officer/facilities manager, as well as a deputy clerk/office manager.

“My concern is that once we have a CAO and a bunch of managers, we will end up with names on the Sunshine List in a few years, and that is something we cannot afford,” said Reeve Hogg.

(The Sunshine List contains names and salaries of public servants in Ontario who earn over $100,000 per year)

Bill Cox pointed out that change is needed in some of the township's operations. “We have council members managing buildings, ordering repairs, such as the Denbigh Community Centre and the Family Health Team in Northbrook, and that is not what Council should be doing,” he said.

Davidson said he would consult with Council and staff and will bring back a further draft proposal.

Budget yikes

The preliminary draft budget that was presented at a special meeting before the regular council meeting by Clerk/Treasurer Christine Reed, included a 5.5% increase in operating costs, due in part to increases of $107,000 (a 17% increase) in OPP billing, and a new budget line of $80,000 to go towards loan payments for the Northbrook fire hall.

However, it was the capital budget that caused the most concern. That budget includes a rolloff truck ($250,000), a backhoe ($150,0000), a cardlock fuel monitoring system ($120,000), and other items, for a total cost of $550,000.

Those expenditures led to a total budget increase of $430,000, almost 18%. Reed said when contacted the day after the meeting that the number did not go over well with Council. She said she received instructions to change the equipment purchase portion of the budget. As she had noted in the budget document, at least one item, the rolloff truck, could be struck from the budget and the amount put in reserves for a purchase at a later date. That, in itself, would cut the increase to under 10%. Further budget meetings are set for April, with adoption scheduled for May 2.

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