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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Additional Essex Council notes for Monday, November 6, 2023

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

Essex Council attends annual

E.L.K. shareholder meeting

Members of Essex Council attended the annual E.L.K. Energy inc. shareholder meeting in a closed session on October 23.

  Essex’s Director of Legislative Services/Clerk, Joe Malandruccolo, explained Essex Council came out of the closed meeting and resolved that E.L.K.’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year of 2022 be approved.

  In addition, members of the Board of Directors were appointed, including Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy and Deputy Mayor Rob Shepley as Town of Essex reps, Brandon Chartier as an Essex independent rep, Kingsville Deputy Mayor Kim DeYong as the rep for her municipality, Lakeshore Councillor John Kerr as the rep for his municipality, and Jeff Scott as an independent rep for Essex.

  These individuals have served on the E.L.K. Board of Directors since the beginning of this Term of Council, which began this time last year.

  KPMG was also appointed as the auditors for E.L.K. Energy Inc. for 2023.

  In addition, the Mayor and Clerk were authorized to execute a shareholders resolution of E.L.K., giving effect to the aforementioned, Malandruccolo said.

 Harrow Arena canteen lease awarded

to M&M Concessions

Council approved entering into a lease agreement with M&M Concessions for leased space at the Harrow Arena for food service and concession operations.

  This will be for a one-year term, commencing November 6, 2023, and will be subject to the general terms and conditions outlined in By-Law 2281.

  The Report to Council notes the most current operator notified the Town’s Administration in late August it would no longer operate the Harrow Canteen for the upcoming season. The Town then issued a Request for Proposal, for which there were no applications.

  After the tendering process closed, the proponent notified Administration there was a willingness to operate the Harrow Arena Canteen for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

  The lease will require the Lessee to pay a monthly rate of $20, plus applicable taxes, during operations, the Report to Council adds.

  Jake Morassut, Director of Community Services, noted at the end of this contract the concession at the Essex Centre Sports Complex will expire. Staff will look at consolidation of the agreements to ensure they match up in terms of timelines.

 Total Construction Value down 86%,

comparing September 2023 to 2022

Essex Council received the Development Overview for September of 2023, which noted the total construction value – including all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit – was $6,335,500.

  This was down 86 percent, compared to September 2022.

  The average home sale price in September 2023 for Wards 1 and 2 was $525,918, which was slightly higher than the $506,899 recorded in the same month in 2022. The average home sale price for Wards 3 and 4 was $610,306, which was lower than the $641,167 recorded in the same month in 2022.

 Council extends external audit service

for one-year to KPMG

Council received the report “External Audit Services Extension,” and further awarded the one-year extension to KPMG LLP in the amount of $33,862.68, including non-refundable HST.

  The Report to Council noted that in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001, a municipality shall appoint an auditor licensed under the Public Accounting Act, 2004, who is responsible for annually auditing the accounts and transactions of the municipality and its local boards and expressing an opinion on the financial statements of these bodies based on the audit; and performing duties required by the municipality or local board.

  It adds that in October of 2020, Council approved and awarded the RFP for External Audit Services to KPMG LLP for a three-year period (2020-2022). The RFP also included an option for a three-year extension.

  Administration requested Council’s approval for a one-year extension for the current audit services with KPMG LLP.

By-Law approves submitting an application to infrastructure Ontario for long-term debt

Essex Council approved By-Law 2282, providing authority to the Mayor and the Treasurer with the Town of Essex to submit an application to Infrastructure Ontario to finance long-term debt for the Ward 1 Storm Improvement project.

  The Report to Council notes in 2019, Council approved the Capital Budget projecting the Ward 1 Storm Improvements project of $2,209,578.01 would be financed by long-term debt.

  Through her Report to Council, Ann Marie Unis, Manager of Finance and Business Services, noted staff found the most lucrative debt facility for this project is with Infrastructure Ontario, which offered a term of ten-years at 5.20%.

  The Town’s Debt Management Policy, approved in January, caps the Annual Repayment Limit to be 15% of the Town’s own source revenues net of other long-term debt costs. This is 10% less than the Ministry of Municipal Affairs sets as the Annual Repayment Limit.

  This would mean that through the Town’s policy, Essex’s Annual Repayment Limit for 2023 would be $2,185,959.

  It adds to ensure compliance with both the Ministry and Town’s ARL’s described above, an analysis on any new debt since 2021 is required. New debt was entered into for Harrow Streetscape at the end of 2022 with the annual debt payments totalling $248,528. The annual debt charges related to the new debt for the Ward 1 Storm Improvements based on Infrastructure Ontario’s current rates is approximately $286,161. Combined, the total new debt payment is $534,689 annually, which is significantly under the prescribed annual repayment limits from the Ministry and the Town’s policies.

  The 2023 Annual Repayment Limit, if following the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing recommendation, would be $5,586,102. Kate Giurissevich, Director of Corporate Services/ Treasurer, noted the Town’s Debt Management Policy with a lower limit was implemented to ensure there was wiggle room to fund any infrastructure projects that may come up unexpectedly.

 Over $42K transferred to Dog Pound to fund overage,

interim invoice for cost-sharing

Council approved the transfer of $26,740.22 from the Contingency Reserve – Animal Control to fund the overage for the 2020 and 2021 Lakeshore Dog Pound Cost Sharing.

  It also approved the transfer of $15,950 from the Contingency Reserve – Animal Control to fund the 2022 Interim Invoice for the Lakeshore Dog Pound Cost Sharing.

  The Report to Council notes the Towns of Essex, LaSalle, Tecumseh, and Lakeshore entered into an Operating Agreement in 1996 to jointly use the Lakeshore Dog Pound for the delivery, impounding, and disposal of dogs.

  The agreement outlines the provisions for the operation of the Lakeshore Dog Pound, including how the operating costs are allocated per municipality.

  As of January 1, 2023, there is a balance of $113,323.84 in the Contingency Reserve for Animal Control which is sufficient to fund the total amount of $42,690.22 required to pay the final 2020, final 2021, and the estimated 2022 Lakeshore Dog Pound invoices.

  Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy added a friendly amendment, which Council approved, that Essex sends a letter to the Lakeshore Administration in charge of the Dog Pound, asking for a review on the Dog Days.

  As someone who sat on the Lakeshore Dog Pound Committee for three terms, Bondy said the Dog Days fee is small for owners of pets that end up in the facility, so taxpayers are subsidizing the use of the Dog Pound.

  She said discussion was had on this previously with the Dog Pound Committee, but it was never done.

  The more Dog Days acquired from Essex, the higher percentage will need to be paid, however, the cost of the Pound remains the same, Deputy Clerk, Shelley Brown, explained.  

  She said it would not hurt to look to see if there is a better model that could be used for the participating municipalities.

 Flag to be raised for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Council received and approved the request from the Unifor Local 444 LGBTQ Committee that their flag be flown at Town Hall on November 19, 2023, in support of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

 Essex asks County to complete safety audit for CR 12 /CR 15 intersection

Councillor Kim Verbeek asked Essex Council to direct Administration to send a letter of support to the County of Essex to request a safety audit for the corner of County Road 12 and County Road 15.

  The County will conduct a safety audit for County Road 12 and 18 already, and Verbeek thought it would make sense to look at the second intersection as she believes there are a lot of accidents there.

  She said she has brought forward concerns about this intersection before, and that it would not hurt to ask the County to look at it.

As the matter was both minor and urgent, Mayor Sherry Bondy allowed Council to vote on it that night, instead of raising it only as a Notice of Motion for discussion at the next meeting.

  Council moved her request.

Council adopts Municipal Grant Policy, directs

admin to review the Town’s Write-Off Policy

Members of Essex’s Finance Committee presented two resolutions for Council to support.

  The Finance Committee asked Essex Council to adopt the Municipal Grant Policy, which was presented at its October 24 meeting.

The document – first created in July of 2009 – establishes guidelines for funding to organizations that meet the eligibility requirements and funding categories of the Essex Community Partnership Fund.

  The Essex Community Partnership Fund provides funding on an annual basis through the Operating Budget and allocates such funding to qualifying organizations through an annual application process.

  In the 2023 Budget, Council made $102,500 available in the Essex Community Partnership Fund reserve to distribute to successful applicants, based on their individual requests. When the grants were approved to an array of community partners in March, $7,941.75 remained in this reserve, which allowed the Finance Committee the flexibility to potentially fund any requests that may come up throughout the year.

  At that time, the Finance Committee made the recommendation that Essex Council direct Administration to conduct a full review of the Essex Community Partnership Fund Policy in 2023. Council moved this at the March 20 regular meeting.

  Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, Kate Giurissevich, explained the policy that guides staff and members of the committee in making decisions on how to distribute funding was created in 2009. Its language needed to be updated, in addition to allowance for Town staff to have the ability to audit fund recipients to ensure compliance and review which organizations can qualify.

  The recent revisions included adding a Definitions Section to the policy. In addition, Section 10.0 was added to reflect accountability, highlighting the awarded recipient must certify that the funds were used as described in the grant applicant and the requirement to submit a report to Council that explains the success of their initiative.

  The Finance Committee also asked Council to direct Town Administration to review the Town’s Write-Off Policy.

  Council supported both recommendations.

 NoM to be discussed November 20

Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais’s Notice of Motion, presented at the October 16 meeting, was postponed for discussion to the November 20 meeting.

  She will ask Council to direct Administration to review the paint lines and pedestrian signage at the intersection of Arner Townline and Talbot Street in Essex Centre and complete maintenance as necessary to improve pedestrian safety.


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