by Cecilia Naismith
County council prepares for lame-duck status
A fall election means looming lame-duck status for municipal councillors everywhere, and those at Northumberland County council are no exception.
The specifics this status entails were set out for councillors at their March meeting in a report from manager of legislative services Nancy MacDonald.
MacDonald recommended a bylaw to confirm the details, which include calling upon the chief administrative officer Jennifer Moore and director of finance Glenn Dees to take authority in certain situations that might otherwise fall to council.
These include appointing or removing from office any officer of the municipality, executing any contracts, disposing of any real or personal property of the municipality valued at more than $50,000 at the time of disposal, executing any contract, and making an expenditure or incurring any other liability that exceeds $50,000.
Should Moore or Dees be called upon to take any such actions, MacDonald asked that they make a report to county council during its first quarter in 2019.
This delegation of authority will be in effect from July 27 (the deadline for nominations in the upcoming election) to the end of this council's term.
The only exception would be if the county clerk ascertained with certainty that no less than 75% of the current membership of county council would be returning for the next term following the close of nominations (cases, for example, where enough mayors might be running uncontested.
County council salaries and expenditures are under budget
A report from financial officer Tracey Ellis at Northumberland County council's March meeting has set out the specific remunerations and expenses paid to each of the seven county councillors for 2017.
Ellis's report noted that councillors are paid both an annual salary and expenses related to attending meetings and conferences within set budget frameworks, as well as a per diem amount to attend committee and staff meetings outside of the regular council schedule.
The Municipal Act requires such an itemized accounting each year.
Warden Marc Walas of the Municipality of Brighton received a total of $56,224.85 (consisting of $36,726.91 in salary, $7,300 in per diem expenses, $1,780.29 in benefits and $10,417.65 to cover mileage and conferences).
Past warden Gil Brocanier of the Town of Cobourg received a total of $15,499.89 (consisting of $10,657.50 in salary, $4,600 in per diem expenses, $115.28 in benefits and $127.11 to cover mileage and conferences).
Marc Coombs of the Townsip of Cramahe received a total of $15,918.46 (consisting of $9,678 in salary, $2,100 in per diem expenses, $341.22 in benefits and $3,799.24 to cover mileage and conferences).
Robert Crate, who has been representing the Municipality of Trent Hills since the death of Hector MacMillan last fall, received a total of $762.01 (consisting of $403.25 in salary, $200 in per diem expenses and $158.76 to cover mileage and conferences).
Prior to his passing, MacMillan received a total of $14,057.53 (consisting of $8,306.95 in salary, $1,500 in per diem expenses, $292.47 in benefits and $3,958.11 to cover mileage and conferences).
John Logel of the Township of Alnwick-Haldimand received a total of $19,694.71 (consisting of $9,678 in salary, $6,655.08 in per diem expenses, $492.41 in benefits and $2,869.22 to cover mileage and conferences).
Mark Lovshin of the Township of Hamilton received a total of $13,465.47 (consisting of $9,678 in salary, $3,200 in per diem expenses, $377.52 in benefits and $209.95 to cover mileage and conferences).
Bob Sanderson of the Municipality of Port Hope received a total of $12,679.94 (consisting of $9.678 in salary, $1,800 in per diem expenses, $215.34 in benefits and $986.60 to cover mileage and conferences).
Ellis's figures also gave totals. Cumulatively, councillors were paid $94,806.61 in salary, $27,355.08 for per diem expenses, $3,614.53 in benefits and $22,526.64 to cover mileage and conferences, for an over-all total of $148,302.86.
This worked out to less than the $164,992 that had been budgeted, she noted. The $16,689 difference will be transferred to the general operating reserve to be used at some future date.
County students will be represented at KPR board by four trustees
Northumberland County council heard at its March meeting about the Trustee Determination Model due to be approved by the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board in advance of this fall's elections.
Northumberland's seven member municipalities will have four trustees in total representing students in the county.
The Municipality of Trent Hills is represented, along with the Township of Asphodel-Norwood and the Township of Havelock Belmont Methuen, by one trustee.
The Municipality of Brighton and the Township of Cramahe, along with the City of Quinte West-Murray Ward, are represented by one trustee.
The remaining four municipalities – the Town of Cobourg, the Municipality of Port Hope and the townships of Hamilton and Alnwick-Haldimand – are represented by two trustees.
A letter presented to council from director of education Jennifer Leclerc said that the number of school-board trustees will total 10, in addition to one First Nations-appointed trustee and two student trustees.
The approved Trustee Determination Model will take effect at the end of the current electoral term on Nov. 30, 2018.
Councillors call for more provincial support for board of health
While municipalities have continued to increase their support of provincial boards of health, the province's support has remained frozen at 2014 levels.
This was brought to the attention of Northumberland County council at its March meeting in a letter from local Board of Health chair Mark Lovshin, the mayor of Hamilton Township, who reported that municipal support now accounts for 29% of the total, with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care kicking in 71%.
“We understand that the majority of Ontario's Boards of Health are in a similar position,” Lovshin's letter said.
Add to this the responsibilities imposed on local boards by new and amended Ontario Public Health Standards, he added, and the cause for concern is clear.
“Doing more with less is causing strain on staff, and the Board is concerned about the psychological and physical well-being of Health Unit employees in light of ever-increasing requirements and our ability to deliver programs and services.”
In a bid to cope with the situation since 2014, the letter reported the closure of branch offices, lease negotiations and utilizing technical solutions wherever possible. Should the freeze continue, however, this may not be enough to address the shortfall.
County council voted a motion of support for the health unit, calling on the ministry to address the situation and sending a copy of the motion to the health unit, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi, the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus and the Central East Local Integrated Health Network.