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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Continued Town of Essex Council Notes for December 17, 2018

by Sylene Argent

Council members receive raise

Essex Council received the report, “Council Remuneration-2019” and adopted a remuneration increase, effective January 1, 2019. The report notes this increase will compensate for the elimination of the one-third tax exemption previously applicable to remuneration earned by municipal elected officials.

  As a result, the Mayor will earn $39,217, the Deputy Mayor will earn $23,864, and Councillors will earn $20,053. These rates also included an increase of 1.5 percent.

  The Report to Council notes, the purpose of the one-third exemption was to recognize the expenses Council Members incur while carrying out their duties. With its elimination, all of Council’s remuneration are now subject to taxes, which would reduce Council’s remuneration for 2019 by an average of 7.3 percent for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and 5.5 percent for Councillors. The increases were suggested to ensure Council Members do not experience a reduction in remuneration.

  The increase in expenditures for 2019 resulting from the increase in Council remuneration totals of $10,561, which will be noted in the 2019 Operating Budget.

Site specific rezoning for 1466 County Road 13

A majority Essex Council vote will allow the property at 1466 on County Road 13 in Harrow to have a zoning to allow the property be used to develop a medical office, and any use accessory to the main use, through amending Bylaw 1037, the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw for the Town of Essex. Once is goes through a formal appeal process, if there are no issues, the file would then go through Site Plan Control.

  Residents who live adjacent to the property, Brad and Alice Laporte, noted they were against the change. The applicant, Max Abraham, said he received a list of recommendations from neighbours and agreed to them all. He said he wanted to increase access to medical services in Harrow.

  Councillor Bjorkman said he was against the change because those near the site bought their properties assuming they would live adjacent to other residential homes, not a medical building.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said she wanted Essex to send the message Essex was open for business. She said a lot can be controlled through Site Plan control.

  This issue was tabled from the November 19 meeting. 

  In a recorded vote, Councillor Bjorkman and Mayor Larry Snively were the only two opposed. A hot mic picked up Snively telling the Town Clerk he voted against the motion because Brad is a family friend.

Railway Station Lease

Council received Community Services’ Report “Heritage Essex Lease Renewal to Operate the Essex Railway Station,” approved renewing the Heritage Essex lease to operate the Essex Railway Station for an additional five years (commencing January 1, 2019), and further gave three readings to Bylaw 1767.

In the Report to Council, it notes Heritage Essex has operated the Essex Railway Station as a cultural facility on behalf of the Town of Essex since 1993. As Heritage Essex is not able to recover full cost of operations of the facility, the Town of Essex has provided an annual grant of approximately twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars over the past two decades.

Fire Department Radio System

Essex Council received the report, “Fire Department Radio System Update and Lease Agreement Extension,” and approved extending the Fire Department Radio System Update and Lease Agreement Extension with Kelcom Radio Co. Ltd. for an additional two years as per the conditions in the Agreement.

2019 Water and Sanitary Sewer Rates

Council received the report, “2019 Water and Sanitary Sewer Rates” and gave three readings to Bylaw Number 1764, to establish water and sanitary sewer rates and charges.

  In the Report to Council, it noted in October, 2015, Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. completed a water and waste water study that determined the rates for 2016 to 2025. As the bylaw that set the rates for 2018 expires on December 31, 2018, a new bylaw for 2019 was needed.

  The report notes there will be an increase in annual water charges of one percent in all wards in 2019, while increases in annual sanitary sewer charges will vary by ward: two percent for Ward 1, three percent for Ward 3, and two percent for Ward 4. Combined water and sanitary sewer charges will increase one percent in Ward 1, and two percent in Wards 3 and 4. Sanitary sewer charges are not applicable to Ward 2, the report highlights.

 Mailbox Damage Policy

Council received Infrastructure and Development’s Report 2018-019 “Mailbox Damage Policy” and directed Administration to complete a policy for Council to consider for approval.

  The reason for the report, it was noted, was to establish a property owner responsibility for the installation and maintenance of mailboxes within the Municipal Right-of-Way so as to help reduce the chances of damage during winter operations. The policy will also establish criteria regarding mailbox repair and/or replacement due to damage caused by the Town’s winter control operations on roads maintained by the Town.

  Sometimes it is hard to prove who is at fault, Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said. He wondered who the ‘go between” would be if a resident and the Town disagree who was at fault. He believes the Town should pay to have mailboxes and posts installed as well, if the Town is found at fault. There has to be some kind of negotiating method, he noted.

  Chris Nepszy, Deputy CAO, said if the Town is at fault currently, a post and a standard rural mailbox is dropped off, if needed.

Jason McKee rezoning application

Essex Council received Planning report “Jason McKee rezoning application (Colchester-Ward 3),” and approved Bylaw 1765 to permit the development of the property at 230 Jackson Street, on the east side of Jackson Street across from Colchester Park, for tourist accommodations. It also approved Bylaw 1766, to adopt the Site Plan and authorize the execution of a site plan control agreement.

  The Report to Council noted the rezoning application has been submitted for the aforementioned lands to develop the site for six single-detached dwellings for tourist accommodation.

On November 19, 2018, a statutory public meeting was held so Council could to hear public concerns or opinions.

 Notice of Motion

Mayor Larry Snively put a Motion of Notion forward to discuss having administration investigate opportunities to pre-service the industrial lands on Highway # 3 and County Road # 8, and a method of cost-recovery, at the January 14 meeting.

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