Essex Council Notes for Monday, May 7

Updated: May 10, 2018

Essex’s Director of Corporate Services, Jeffrey Morrison, Manager of Finance and Business Services, Kate Bailey, and Mayor Ron McDermott congratulate Town staff member Shelley Brown (second from the right) for her achievement as this year’s recipient of AMCTO’s Award for Excellence in Municipal Law.

by Sylene Argent and Adam Gault

Town employee wins Award for Excellence in Municipal Law

Essex Council learned Town employee Shelley Brown achieved the highest cumulative grade for this past year upon her completion of the Municipal Law Program. As a result, she is this year’s recipient of AMCTO’s Award for Excellence in Municipal Law.

  Brown will receive the award on June 11 at the 2018 AMCTO Conference, held at the Blue Mountain Resort.

  The letter to Council from AMCTO President Yvonne L. Robert states, “We believe that this is a tremendous accomplishment and should be observed with pride by your municipality.

  AMCTO is the largest municipal professional association in Ontario, and the leading provider of education and accreditation for local government professionals.

  Jeffrey Morrison, Director of Corporate Services, congratulated Brown on her achievement. He said Brown has been instrumental to may municipal projects, including the Asset Management Plan and in the evolution of the Operating Budget. 

  “She’s my right hand. I appreciate all her work. She has a desire to grow and achieve,” Morrison said. “I look forward to watching you flourish.”

  Councillor Randy Voakes said Brown has been an outstanding employee. “There’s not a municipality that wouldn’t want to have her. My hat’s so off to you in your endeavours. Congratulations.”

New business introduced

Council received an introduction for the new business, Wood Craft Pizza, in a presentation from one of its proprietors, Ryan Casier.

  Casier described Wood Craft Pizza, located at 47 Talbot Street North, as a “small, cozy, pizza place.”

  Casier added that in opening the new business, “We’re just really looking forward to helping the town grow.”


 Name ‘Colchester Park’ to remain the same

At the April 16 Essex Council meeting, the report “Public Feedback on Colchester Park Renaming” was received for information.

  As no direction was given on the matter, it was brought back to the table Monday evening. In doing so, Council rescinded the previous motion and a majority Council vote will have Colchester Park’s name remain the same, based on the results from community input.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said the area has a wealth of history. Councillor Ron Rogers thanked everyone who supported the potential name change. The process brought to light a lot of conversation and focus on local black history.

  Rogers had hoped to name the park after Colchester-born inventor, Elijah McCoy.

  At the Regular Council Meeting on February 20, it was noted that after two months, if no suitable names were submitted to the Town for the name of Colchester Park, that the Town name the park after McCoy.

  Administration created an online form to receive submissions from the public. The online form received 42 individual responses. Four written submissions were received in paper or electronic format, the Report to Council notes.

  Of those 46 total responses, 28 were in support of maintaining the current name of Colchester Park, 12 were in support of the McCoy Park name, and six suggested other names.


Rezoning for 214 Maidstone Ave. W.

Council received the report “214 Maidstone Avenue West Rezoning” and further provisionally adopted Bylaw 1701 to amend Bylaw 1037, the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw.

  The Report to Council notes that James and Theresa Renaud made the application for the rezoning. It was requested that a site-specific rezoning be granted for the 966-plus square metre property to permit the construction of one single-detached dwelling and accessory structures.

  Essex Council and administration hosted a special meeting regarding this issue on April 23, where it was noted the property was zoned Manufacturing District 2.1 (M2.1) for general

industrial uses.

  The applicants purchased the property in 2009 with plans to construct a single-detached dwelling in the future. At the time of purchase, a dwelling existed on the property. It was, however, later demolished.

  The applicants wish to construct a replacement dwelling, but could not obtain a building permit because the M2.1 zoning does not permit a single-detached residence to be added. All buildings and permitted uses, the report notes, would conform to the Residential District 1.1 (R1.1) zoning category.


Update on power outages in Harrow

CAO Donna Hunter provided Council with an update on momentary power outages in the Harrow service area.

  She received correspondence from ELK CEO Mike Audet on April 26, indicating that Hydro One would initiate upgrades to infrastructure, just east of Harrow, from May 14 to 18. Originally, this was to be done in the fall.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy urged residents to report any power outages to their service providers. What she has come to realize, sometimes momentary outages, when power flickers, may not get registered on the system. So, the utility service providers could go a long time without knowing this was happening.


Changes to credit card transactions

Council received the report “Credit Card Transaction Processing Changes,” and approved that effective June 30, the Town will no longer accept credit card payments for property taxes owing over the phone at the Essex Municipal building and that a cap for in-person credit card transactions have a maximum of $1000 per transaction per day at the Essex Municipal Building and at the Gesto office.

  In the Report to Council, it notes that the Town, has accepted credit card payments for all transactions of any dollar value. The Town pays a credit card transaction processing fees.

  In 2010, the Town had around $26,981 in fees compared to fees of $67,281 in 2017. This represents a cost increase of nearly 60 percent over a seven-year period, the report notes.

  Director of Corporate Services Jeffrey Morrison said the $1000 cap was decided based on that amount being an average transaction.

  “It would be irresponsible not to do something here,” Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said.


Landfill compensation reserve update

Council received the report, “Landfill Compensation Reserve Update and Forecast,” which provided the 2016/2017 actual and 2018-2022 forecast of cash position.


Changes to Planning Act under Bill 139

Council received a report submitted by the Director of Infrastructure and Development, Chris Nepszy, about changes to the Planning Act from the adoption of the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act.

  The highlights of Bill 139 include the introduction of two new acts that pertain to how land use decisions can be appealed at the provincial level and the introduction of a local planning appeal tribunal. It will also enact a local planning appeal support centre.

  It is hoped the changes will address the issues of excessive appeals in regards to municipal issues, the costly nature of a hearing that surrounds those issues, and public and community groups that felt they didn’t have the resources to have meaningful participation in the appeals process.

With this new act, municipalities will have the opportunity to create their own local appeals board to alleviate the need to take appeals to Toronto, as was done in the past.

  Deputy Mayor Meloche suggested it might be an idea to go back to the province to make it so that appeals boards would be county-wide, rather than just the municipality.

  The motion carried.

2018 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Grant Application

Council received a report prepared by the Assistant Manager of Operations and Drainage, Norman Nussio, regarding a grant application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to receive funding for a road needs assessment. It also authorized the submission of the application.

  If the application is successful, the Town of Essex would be eligible to receive assistance from the Municipal Asset Management Program, a $50 million project designed to support municipalities in their decisions, based on strong management data.


Non-residential Development Charges bylaw passed

Council adopted an amendment to Bylaw 1344 that imposes Development Charges. The amendment will reduce commercial development charges by 100% in areas that fall outside of the existing Community Improvement Plan boundaries.

  The change will be in effect until August 25, 2019.

Tax rate bylaw

Council passed a bylaw to establish tax rates and additional charges for Municipal, County, and Education purposes for the year 2018.


Notices of Motion

The following Notices of Motion were presented on Monday evening and will be considered at the May 22 Essex Council meeting.

• Councillor Sherry Bondy would like Council to ask administration to bring forward a draft bylaw to limit vehicle idling in Town.

• Councillor Sherry Bondy would like discussions to resume on the potential installation of a traffic signal at the corner of Erie Street and King Street in Harrow. In an email, Bondy explained residents in her Ward have brought the issue forward as part of a door-to-door survey completed last fall. The issue arose again recently on social media.

She understands that this is a county road, but would like to know if a traffic study, along with any other additional steps that would be required to have a traffic light installed, could be considered as part of future budgets.

• Councillor Randy Voakes would like Council to discuss opportunities to put outdoor cafés at existing restaurants.

• Councillor Randy Voakes would like a bylaw drafted that would stop residents from putting grass clippings on the road after the streets have been swept.

• Councillor Randy Voakes would like to receive the cost for the full Fire Department review.