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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex County Council Notes for March 2, 2022

by Sylene Argent

Remuneration for Councillors approved

-Warden’s base-rate is $87K-

Essex County Council approved the 2021 Statement of Councillor’s Remuneration.

  The Report to County Council notes the Municipal Act requires the Treasurer to provide an itemized statement of the remuneration and expenses paid to each elected member in respect of his or her services as a member of Council each year.

  The chart noted each of the decision-makers on County Council – comprised of mayors and deputy mayors of the seven local neighbouring municipalities – received a base rate of $12,482.52; excluding Warden, and Tecumseh Mayor, Gary McNamara, who earned $87,891.72.

  When adding the base rate to indemnities, and mileage, and conference expenses and per diem: McNamara received $102,813.09; Deputy Warden and Mayor of Kingsville Nelson Santos received $19,167.86; Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Tracey Bailey received $16,436.53; Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain received $16,103.15; Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald received $15,393.53; LaSalle Mayor Marc Bondy received $15,107.76; Tecumseh Deputy Mayor Giuseppe Bachetti received $15,099.91; Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen received $15,067.75; Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche received $14,572.31; Mayor of Amherstburg Aldo DiCarlo received $14,460.00; Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche received $14,343.49; Leamington Deputy Mayor Larry Verbeke received $14,314.33; Essex Mayor Larry Snively received $13,690.98; and LaSalle Deputy Mayor Crystal Meloche received $12,482.52.

  The Report to County Council adds due to the pandemic, and the use of virtual platforms for meetings and conferences, the 2021 expenditures for mileage, indemnities, and conference expenses were lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Support provided for advocacy strategy

for the 2022 Provincial election

Essex County Council supported the “Essex County Counts” advocacy strategy for the 2022 Provincial election campaign.

  Mike Galloway, Chief Administrative Officer, explained he was looking for County Council support to launch an information campaign regarding six priority issues, so that residents can take into account the positions of the provincial candidates before voting.

  The six priorities identified, in consultation with the local municipalities, are the Windsor-Essex hospitals system, infrastructure, affordable housing, broadband, climate change, municipal liability, and insurance costs, recognizing the County’s 2022 insurance program renewal came in with an increase of $128,420, or 13.47 percent, in insurance premiums.

  Galloway said these six items are consistently talked about in the County Council chambers.

The “Essex County Counts” campaign is aimed to elevate the importance of local issues in the upcoming provincial campaign because Essex County residents are not just electing a party or Premier, they are electing an MPP to represent the interests of the region, he noted.

  “The message to our residents and the candidates vying to represent them at Queen’s Park is simple: Essex County counts,” Galloway stated in the Report to Council he prepared on the matter. “We have issues that are specific to our unique and diverse region and it is vital these issues are understood by local candidates and championed at Queen’s Park, where representatives from other regions will no doubt be advocating for their constituents.”

2022 Tax Policy Discussion and Recommendations

County Council adopted the tax ratios as set out in Bylaw 2022-06, for the 2022 taxation year, and moved the reductions for sub-classes for excess commercial, excess industrial, and vacant industrial land be set at 30 percent, 35 percent, and 35 percent respectively.

  It also approved that the Essex County Tax Assistance Program for low-income seniors and low-income persons with disabilities and the Essex County Charity Tax Rebate Program continue with no amendments.

  Sandra Zwiers, Director of Financial Services/Treasurer, said under the Municipal Act, the County of Essex is required to set tax policy for itself and the seven local municipalities.

  She said through the recommendations, there was only one change to the tax policy. In 2020, she said, the County approved in principle a four-year planned-phased reduction of the multi-residential tax ratio, down to the level of the new multi-tax class tax ratio. In the 2022 by-law, the County is adhering to the one-quarter reduction.  

  In her Report to County Council, it notes reductions will continue until parity with the new multi-residential tax class is reached in 2024.

CIREM tender awarded to Coco Paving Inc.

The tender for the 2022 Rehabilitation – Hot Mix over CIREAM (Hot Mix Asphalt over the Cold In Place Recycling) was awarded to Coco Paving Inc. for $3,875,831, plus HST.

  Upon approval of the 2022 Rehabilitation Program at the Wednesday, February 16 meeting, where the CIREAM work was awarded to Coco Paving Inc. for $1,827,235, tenders were published for the annual Expanded Asphalt Mix component for the CIREAM work as a part two of the work to be completed.

  Work includes: County Road 9, from County Road 20 to South Side Road; County Road 11, from County Road 8 to Highway 3; County Road 11, from County Road 18 to County Road 12; County Road 20, from 100m East of Sunset to Ferriss Road; County Road 29, from South Talbot to County Road 34; County Road 46, from Rochester Townline to County Road 31; County Road 50 from, from 7th Concession to Collison Side Road; County Road 50, from Dunn Road to Dahinda Drive; and County Road 23, Gosfield Townline to County Road 8.

  The two County Road 50 works include work on existing paved shoulders.

  In support of regional cooperation, the tender documents include items for asphalt rehabilitation for the Town of Essex on North Malden Road in the amount of $395,000. Upon completion the cost of work on Malden Road will be invoiced to the Town of Essex, the Report to County Council notes.

 Tender for 2022 Rehabilitation – Hot Mix Overlay and Mill and Pave work awarded

The County of Essex awarded the 2022 Rehabilitation, Hot Mix Overlay and Mill and Pave work contract to Mill-Am Corporation, for a total tender amount of $7,627,310, plus HST.

  This includes 16 road projects, and the paving of the Sun Parlour Home parking lot.

Admin to review and report back on improving safety at County Road 20/23 intersection

County Council directed its administration to review the request from the Town of Kingsville, seeking a controlled intersection at the County Road 20 and County Road 23 (Arner Townline) intersection, and to report back to County Council with recommendations.

The intersection borders Essex and Kingsville.

  At the February 16 regular County Council meeting, Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen, put forward a Notice of Motion that at the March 2 meeting, County Council consider the best options moving forward for this particular intersection, including the option of a controlled intersection or other best possibilities.

  He said at the February 14 Kingsville Council meeting, he and Mayor Nelson Santos were directed to approach County Council to request a controlled intersection at this area.

  The request follows a recent fatal accident that took place at the intersection on January 11.

  Leamington Deputy Mayor Larry Verbeke asked if a roundabout would be a solution for the intersection.

  Allan Botham, Director of Infrastructure and Planning Services, said he would like to look at a variety of alternatives, including a roundabout, traffic signals, or all-way stops; and perhaps other measures, like flashing red lights. He will then bring a report back to County Council to consider.

  Essex Mayor Richard Meloche noted at its February 22 meeting, Essex Council also moved to ask to County to look at options to make the County Road 23/20 intersection safer.

  He said the conversation at the meeting brought forward concerns that the larger measures, such as signals or a roundabout, would take six-months to two-years to come to fruition.

  “That’s a long period from now until then, to have what we would consider a dangerous intersection left without some kind of remediation,” Meloche said.

  He asked if there are options that can be done in the interim to make improvements, such as perhaps a lower speed limit on County Road 23, from the Greenway to the County Road 20 intersection.

  Botham said his team will look at all the options and bring back a comprehensive report and recommendation for County Council to consider, including interim measures. 

He is hoping to be able to raise the conversation at the end of April or beginning of May.

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