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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Continued Essex Council Notes for Monday, May 15

by Sylene Argent

Essex makes top ten in four Lifesaving Society Awards categories

For 2022, the Town of Essex was recognized in the top ten of each of the four categories it qualifies under through the annual Lifesaving Society Affiliate Recognition Awards.

The Town of Essex won the Scarborough Cup, and has earned this award twelve times since 2008. It is awarded to the municipal affiliate with the largest lifesaving/leadership program in a community with a population between 10,000 and 50,000.

The Town of Essex also won the R. Bredin Staples Cup. This is the sixth time the Town of Essex has won this cup since 2009. It is awarded to the municipal affiliate with the largest leadership training program per capita.

In addition, the Town of Essex earned fifth place in the Arnold H. Morphy Cup, which is awarded to the affiliate with a single facility with the largest lifesaving/leadership program. It also earned fifth place in the John E. McCutcheon Bowl, which is awarded to the single-facility affiliate with the largest first aid program. Essex was the only municipal affiliate to appear in the top 10 for this award.

Cynthia Cakebread, Manager of Recreation and Culture, noted The Town of Essex also ended up being a Top 30 affiliate program provider in the Province of Ontario, based on the overall point system.

The Town of Essex Community Services Department is an affiliate of the Lifesaving Society, which is a national organization with a provincial branch that is composed of over 800 individual affiliated municipalities, private businesses, schools, and clubs, the Report to Council notes.

“We are excited to have this back in our hands,” Cakebread said to Council, surrounded by the trophies, noting this means Essex provides a level of service and a number of courses comparable to communities of the same size or even larger.

June proclaimed as Recreation and Parks Month

In recognition of the benefits and values of recreation and parks, Council for the Town of Essex proclaimed June as Recreation and Parks Month.

This is a movement that promotes the benefits of recreation and parks for physical, social, and environmental health. Communities across Ontario have embraced this as a way to promote local programs and events, parks, and facilities that are available for all citizens to enjoy.

The Town of Essex has participated in the province-wide initiative of proclaiming June as Recreation and Parks Month since 2007 and has offered a number of programs in all areas of the community throughout the month.

The Town of Essex Community Services Department will offer a number of free exciting programs and activities in June of 2023 to promote active and healthy participation, the Report to Council notes.

Cynthia Cakebread, Manager of Recreation and Culture, said the Town of Essex provides a lot of programming to try and get people out to try things for the first time.

Town of Essex

Soap Box Derby

Town of Essex Soap Box Derby will take place on Saturday, June 24, with a rain date scheduled for June 25.

Council approved closing King Street, between Erie Street and Queen Street, and between Victoria Street North from King Street to 18 Victoria Street North, from 7:30am and 4:30pm for the event.

Jake Morassut, Director of Community Services, said the Town of Essex is working with the Rotary Club of Harrow to plan the Essex Soap Box Derby to provide for a day of fun with homebuilt cars.

Those interested in learning about regulations are urged to check out the Homebuilt Soapbox Racing Association out of Chatham to learn more.


Market adjustment approved for Council remuneration

A 2023 market adjustment for Council was approved, with a total financial cost of $60,144 to achieve the sixtieth percentile; and it was further approved that Council Remuneration Reviews be included in the scope of the Town’s Non-Union Salary Review.

In the Report to Council, it notes the last review of Council compensation was in the fall of 2018 for the 2019 calendar year, and resulted in a 1.5% increase outside of the adjustment made to offset the impact of the elimination of the one-third tax exemption.

An analysis on the salaries of Council members across the County of Essex was completed to compare Essex’s Council positions to other municipalities.

It adds that in 2021, the Town of Essex Council adopted a pay methodology of meeting the sixtieth percentile for non-union employees, based on the results of a salary review completed in 2020.

While reviewing the compensation of Council members in the neighbouring municipalities, it was discovered the Town of Essex Council compensation is below the sixtieth percentile for

all its Council positions, it notes.

As a result, remuneration for the Mayor will be bumped from $39,217 to $46,989; the Deputy Mayor position will go from $ 23,864 to $34,374; and Councillor positions will go from $20,053 to $27,030.

A $50,000 budgeted increase was approved in 2023. The remaining difference of $10,144 was recommended to come from the savings of $38,204 realized from the vacant Executive Assistant position as it started later in 2023.

The increase to Council’s compensation will be effective January 1, 2023.

CAO Doug Sweet explained the next non-union review is in the fall and takes place every four-years. Council remuneration would then stay with that cycle moving forward.

Development down 133.75% in April

Council received the Economic Development Overview for the month of April, which notes the total construction value - including all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit – was $4,457,000.

This was down 133.75%, compared to April 2022.

The average home sale price in April in Wards 1 and 2 was $488,563. This was significantly lower than the $640,576 recorded in the same month in 2022. The average home sale price in April in Wards 3 and 4 was $646,088. This was higher than the $605,715 recorded in the same month in 2022.

16 additional Letters of Support received re: the Reinstatement of Legislation regarding Tax Sale Proceeds

The Town of Essex received 16 additional letters of support regarding its March 6 resolution, where Mayor Sherry Bondy asked Council to direct Administration to send a letter to all relevant taxation bodies, urging them to reinstate previous legislation that permitted a Municipality to apply for and retain the surplus proceeds from a tax sale in their jurisdiction.

The rationale, Kate Giurissevich, Director of corporate Services/Treasurer, said then is based on the work municipalities have to do in regards to the sale and because the property is physically located within the municipality.

Legislation, she said, has changed, and all proceeds in excess of the cancellation price, which is the overdue taxes for the municipality, are forwarded to the province.

Council passed the motion and also sent the letter to AMO, County Council, the Essex MPP, and all Ontario municipalities.

As part of the agenda for Monday, May 1, 15 communities supported Essex’s resolution. At the April 17 Essex Council meeting, Essex Council received support from ten municipalities on the matter.

Notice of Motion: recognition gateway signs for Greg Horoky

At the May 1 meeting, Councillor Rodney Hammond brought forward a Notice of Motion for Council to consider at the May 15 meeting, to recognize Greg Horoky as a long-time promoter and organizer of the Colchester Walleye Derby by installing a sign stating “The Home of Professional Walleye Tour Event Winner Greg Horoky!” on the gateway signs to Colchester Centre.

Hammond noted Horoky was a Police Officer in the region for 38-years. He was the first Canadian to win the Professional Walleye Tour in 1994, which was held in Wisconsin.

Hammond was hopeful to have a sign recognizing Horoky on the gateway signs going into Colchester, in addition to the sign indicating Colchester as the Walleye Capital of the World.

Cost for the gateway signs would be around $115 per sign. Administration is looking to return to Council with a Gateway Sign Policy at the June 5 meeting, Director of Community Services, Jake Morassut, said. As the Walleye Capital of the World sign was brought up that meeting, staff did not have a costing.

Council moved to hold off on moving forward with the gateway signs until the policy is brought forward. It also moved to purchase a sign recognizing Greg Horoky for the Walleye Capital of the World sign, with a maximum cost of $1000 from the Council Contingency Fund. Staff will also look at replacing the type of fish on the current sign to a walleye.

Notice of Motions to be presented at the June 5 Council Meeting:

• Councillor Jason Matyi will ask Council to direct Administration to have a comprehensive safety audit of Colchester Beach and waterfront by the Lifesaving Society, and further develop a safety plan based on the findings from the consultant.

• Mayor Sherry Bondy will ask Council to Direct Administration to review options to promote businesses in Ward 1 during the Essex Centre Streetscape and Victoria Avenue project.

• Councillor Brad Allard will ask Council, in recognizing that beach roads are growing with development and improvements, direct Administration to review and report on the current level of service for Town-owned, but no assumed roads, and if required provide lost cost options for raising the level of service on the roads with 2023 Council Contingency Funds and future budgets.

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