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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Town of Essex Council meeting notes - Monday, March 1

by Sylene Argent

Schoolhouse no longer declared as surplus property

Town Clerk, Robert Auger, noted Council met for a closed meeting on February 22, where Council gave direction to remove 195 Bagot Street, otherwise known as the Colchester Schoolhouse, from the surplus property list.    

Council supports the Hour for Hour Challenge

Kelsey Santarossa, of the Youth Council Coalition of Canada, approached Council regarding the organization’s Hour for Hour Challenge, which was designed to provide additional volunteer opportunities for youth in Essex.

  The “Hour for Hour Challenge” has been issued to Canadian municipalities, encouraging them to provide volunteer hour compensation for students, who engage in civic activities.

  Santarossa said high school students are having difficulty finding volunteer hours right now, not necessarily because school is being held online, but because organizations may not have the capacity to offer those opportunities.

  Through the Hour for Hour program, municipalities are being asked to offer stable and ongoing engagement opportunities for youth to gain their community service hours.

  If Council chose to have the Town of Essex become a member of the Youth Council Coalition of Canada, for a fee of $1200 per year (would be discounted by 30 percent for the inaugural year), it offers administrative support to staff. Council could take on the Hour four Hour Challenge without being a member of the Youth Council Coalition of Canada, but would not get the administrative support.

    Council moved to joined the Youth Council Coalition of Canada, with the funds coming out of the Community Partnership Fund.

  Essex was the first to adopt the Hour for Four Challenge in Windsor-Essex and Southwestern Ontario.

  Mayor Larry Snively said it would be nice to get more youth involved. Councillor Kim Verbeek said it would be silly to turn away the opportunity.

New Youth Council Rep joins in on first meeting

Mayor Larry Snively welcomed new Youth Council rep, Edua Marczinko, to her first Council meeting. She was appointed to the role recently, after former position holder, Cameron Soucie, resigned.

  She is a grade 11 Essex District High School student, who is looking forward to adding a young person’s perspective to local municipal matters as the newest Youth Council Rep appointee. She plays various sports, is a member of the EDHS Rotary Interact Club, and volunteers with the Hungarian Centre.

  The Town of Essex has two Youth Council Rep positions, with the other one being filled by Ehva Hoffmann since October of 2016.

  “We are glad you want to be part of the team and we welcome you here tonight,” Mayor Larry Snively said. “It is a joy to have you.”

Development Overview shows over $5M in construction for January

Essex Council received the Development Overview for January 2021, which noted there was $5,778,700 in total construction value. This included all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit. This is down 36.4 percent from January 2020.

  The Report to Council also highlights the average sale price in January for a home was $381,078 in Wards 1 and 2, which was higher than the reported $322,450 in January of last year. In addition, the average sale price in January for a home in Wards 3 and 4 was $392,748, which was substantially higher than the $272,200 reported for January of 2020.

  Total Single-Family Dwellings sold in January of 2021 was 33, which was nearly double that of January 2020, which was reported at 17.

  In addition, the Report to Council notes there was a total of eight single-dwelling permits taken out in January of 2021; six for Essex Centre and two in Colchester North. 

Council approves funding for new watermain to cross Highway # 3

Council received the Report “Ward 1 Water Supply West of Highway 3” and approved the sole sourcing to Dillon Consulting and Coco Paving Inc., acting as the Design-Build Team for the Ministry of Transportation’s Highway # 3 Widening Project, to design and construct a new watermain crossing Highway # 3 at the 14th Concession.

  Council also authorized the expenditure of $148,569.60 from the Town’s Water Reserves for the project. This was because the project was not identified in the 2021 Budget. Administrations will research potential cost-recovery strategies for the full cost to install this watermain.

  In the Report to Council, it notes the completed previously received Transportation Environmental Study Report in November of 2016 that the Ministry of Transportation completed includes the framework established for the widening of Highway # 3, from 0.8km west of Ellis Side Road easterly to 2.2 km east of Essex County Road 23. The Report continues administration for the Town of Essex wanted to take advantage of the widening project to install a new watermain crossing to service the industrial lands.

  Installation of this watermain is a direct initiative from the Town’s Strategic Plan to develop an industrial and commercial development plan for the Highway # 3 Corridor, the Report to Council notes.

Council approves RFT for three pick-up trucks

Council award the Request for Tender of the supply of three pick-up trucks 2021 to Ken Knapp Ford in Essex in the amount of $144,619.28, including trade in value and non-refundable harmonized sales tax.

In the Report to Council, it notes the Town of Essex is updating and adding to its vehicle fleet. As a result, the Town has to purchase three different pick-up trucks to for the Community Services, Operations, and Drainage departments.

  There was only one tender was received, which came from Ken Knapp Ford.

  The Report to Council notes $144,619.28 is the total tender price for the pick-ups, and $144,000 was approved in the 2021 Budget. This results $619.28 over what was budgeted.

  The trade-in value of $8,750.00 will be transferred back to the Lifecycle Asset Management Reserve. Overages in replacement vehicles will be funded by the Asset Management Lifecycle Reserve, the Report to Council notes.

 Water/ wastewater rates approved with increases

Council approve By-Law Number 1992, which established water and wastewater rates and charges, and further adopted the 2021 Water Financial Plan that Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. presented at the Special Meeting of Council on February 16.

  In the Report to Council, it notes during the special meeting, Council received a presentation for the completion of a rate study from Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. that determined that rates required for 2021 to 2030.

  The proposed 2021 rates include a two-percent adjustment to the base rate for all wards for water and wastewater. It will be $20.08 for the water base rate in all wards.

  In addition, the volume rate for water in Wards 1 and 2 are proposed to be increased by 0.7 percent ($1.46). Wards 3 and 4 are proposed to be increased by 1.2 percent ($1.65).

  The wastewater base rate will be $21.09 in Ward 1, $22.14 in Ward 3, and $21.09 in Ward 4.

  The proposed volume rate for wastewater also have increase of 2.1 percent for Ward 1 ($1.47), 3.2 percent in Ward 3 ($2.27), and 3.1 percent in Ward 4 ($1.99). Ward 2 wastewater services and rates are provided through the Town of Amherstburg.

  Councillor Sherry Bondy said no one likes to raise rates, and this can be a contentious issue. She noted the increases were needed to maintain a healthy and sustainable system, which is detailed in the report Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. prepared.

Reduction and Release of Securities for Phase 3C of the Jakana Subdivision

Essex Council reduced the performance securities for Phase 3C of the Jakana Subdivision Development by $197,082.47, and moved the performance securities, and any interest earned on the deposit up to the day of release for the completion of the installation of services for Phase 3C, be returned to the developer, and further put the underground utilities, curbs, and base asphalt on the one-year maintenance schedule.

  The Report to Council notes the Jakana Subdivision Development is located in Essex Centre. It continues the Town received performance securities in the amount of $394,164.94 on May 10, 2019, prior to the installation of services for Phase 3C on the project. The deposit is held for assurance the owner fulfills all conditions identified in the executed Subdivision Agreement.

  A request was received in November, on behalf of the owner of the Jakana subdivision development, 1552906 Ontario Limited, for a release of fifty percent of the performance securities. The Report Continues the remaining maintenance securities are only released after the one-year maintenance period has expired and deficiencies have been rectified.

  For more Council news, read the article “Council endorses plan for the Ward 1 Southwest Area Stormwater Improvements” in this week’s edition of the Essex Free Press. 

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