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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex Town Council notes - Monday, March 16, 2020 -

by Sylene Argent

Council on Coronavirus

As a measure to socially distance themselves, members of Essex Council and senior administration spread out in the Council Chambers while the meeting was hosted on Monday evening.

  Mayor Larry Snively hoped the Town would stay on top of the situation.

  Chris Nepszy, CAO, said staff continues to monitor the situation and considers what is in the best interest of the community and staff when making decisions. He urged everyone to practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and limit travel.   

  Staff members, he said, are still delivering the services residents need, and are available, including over the phone. Some services are also available online at The Town continues to provide updates on its website.

  Previously, the Town of Essex closed recreation facilities and cancelled all upcoming programs and rental bookings, effective at midnight on Sunday, March 15. The closures and cancellations are tentatively scheduled to be in effect until Monday, April 6. 

ERCA’s 2019 Annual Report and 2020 Executive Budget Summary

Richard Wyma, General Manager/Executive Director for the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) approached Essex Council to present the Essex Region Conservation Authority’s 2019 Annual Report and the 2020 Executive Budget Summary.

  Wyma said ERCA is facing new and unprecedented challenges, including climate change, flood watches, and shifting agricultural patterns as a result of a wet spring, and algal blooms in Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.  

  The 2019 report, he said, highlights some of the successes in response to some of the challenges faced last year. It also noted that last year, ERCA collected over 2500 water samples and planted nearly 60,000 trees, which was lower than desired due to weather. Wyma said ERCA plans to plant 80,000 trees this year.

  He said in 2020, ERCA will target high priority restoration sights to continue to reach the goal of 12 percent natural coverage in the area. It will also extend the water quality monitoring program.

  Wyma explained ERCA’s 2020 Budget totals $10,576,317, which includes a total levy contribution of $3,386,667. This is an increase of $148,000, or $0.49 per person. The actual cost per household (for an average $250,000 home) has decreased by $0.12 to $19.57.

  As ERCA continues to work towards building the Heritage Centre at the John R. Park Homestead, Wyma said $900,000 has been committed from various community groups and individuals of the $1.2M needed.

  Council received the presentation.

Essex welcomes new Drainage Superintendent

Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure for the Town of Essex, welcomed Lindsay Dean as the new Drainage Superintendent.

  Dean, Girard said, is the last missing piece to the Infrastructure Department. She has over ten-years of municipal experience in drainage, has a Bachelors of Science, her Honours in Biological Sciences, and a Bachelor of Education. She has also served as the Chapter 1 and Board Executive Secretary for the Drainage Superintendent Association of Ontario for a number of years.

  The Drainage Superintendent inspects every drainage works for which the municipality is responsible and reports periodically to Council on the condition of those drainage works. This individual also initiates and supervises the maintenance and repair of the drainage works, assists in the construction or improvement of the drainage works, and reports to Council on these activities.

  Later in the meeting, Council passed a bylaw to appoint Dean as the Drainage Superintendent for The Corporation of the Town of Essex.

Notices of Motions deferred

All five Notices of Motion, that were brought up at past meetings for discussion on Monday evening, were deferred to the April 6 meeting of Council. Rob Auger, Clerk, said the movers requested their Notices of Motion be deferred.

They include:

• Councillor Sherry Bondy’s want for a discussion on the tendering of cold roll recycled material and pulverized tar and chip material.

• Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche’s want for a discussion on the town’s policy on special needs street signs and warning signs of deer or turtle crossings.

• Councillor Kim Verbeek’s want for a discussion on the consideration to install Surveillance Cameras at CoAn Park as soon as possible.

• Councillor Sherry Bondy wants a discussion on an open mic night for the spring and fall.

• Councillor Bjorkman would like a discussion on ways the Town could donate $100,000.00 to the John R. Park Homestead Education Centre in return for a designated Tourist Information Centre named for the Town of Essex.

Statement of Remuneration

Council received the Statement of Remuneration for 2019.

•  Mayor Larry Snively made $41,810, or $46,608 with remuneration and expenses.

• Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche made $25,368, or $25,498 with remuneration and expenses.

• Councillor Steve Bjorkman made $21,288, or $22,313 with remuneration and expenses.

• Councillor Sherry Bondy made $21,288, or $22,937 with remuneration and expenses.

• Councillor Morley Bowman made $20,468, or $25,253 with remuneration and expenses.

• Councillor Joe Garon made $21,288, or $22,132 with remuneration and expenses.

• Councillor Chris Vander Doelen made $21,288, or $26,731 with remuneration and expenses.

• Councillor Kim Verbeek made $21,288, or $27,186 with remuneration and expenses.

  Including committee work and phones with the aforementioned remuneration and expenses, Snively’s summary was $52,748; Meloche’s summary was $29,483; Bjorkman’s summary was $24,109; Bondy’s summary was $26,922; Bowman’s summary was $30,232; Garon’s summary was $26,061, Vander Doelen’s summary was $29,060; and Verbeek’s summary was $31,787.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said, on her wage alone, from 2015 to 2019, there was an increase of $2500. But, there was a one-third tax free component that was incorporated a few years ago.

  Jeff Morrison, Director of Corporate Service/Treasurer, said Council wages are tied to the increase to what union/non-union workers would get.

  Bondy also spoke about pay for Councillors who sit on certain committees, and how pay is some times still issued if someone is unable to attend. Morrison said he will get back to Bondy on the issue.

  Meloche said he looked over this T4s for 2019 and 2018, he said he made $2,000 less in 2018 for the same role.


Engineering Services for Harrow Streetscaping   

Council received the report “Engineering Services for Harrow Streetscaping Project” and appointed Stantec Consulting Ltd. to provide engineering services to design, assist in procurement, and administer the Harrow Streetscaping.

  The report to Council notes, this study is intended to address hydraulic capacity issues related to climate change, while also addressing development pressures and community growth.

  It adds that Stantec’s estimate of fees for engineering services for the Harrow Streetscaping is $506,764.80 (including non-refundable HST).  The engineering costs are within the budgeted amount.

  Council also voted to wave the requirement for proposals, tenders, and quotations for consulting under Section 22.02 of the procurement and disposal of goods and services policy.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said at the recent roundtable event Council held to discuss infrastructure, there was discussion about possibly aligning the parking on the southside of King Street to the northside. At the time, Bondy said, CAO Chris Nepszy said it would not align through town, but she said there could be potential to align the parking.

  Council notes for Monday, March 16 will continue in the March 26 edition of the Essex Free Press.


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