No surprises at the meeting. Staff and council by the end were looking forward to a three week break until the next meeting of council.
Item 5.1 – a deputation on the upcoming province wide property reassessment was well done. It seems that the process is intent on becoming very friendly in terms of the online user interface. There is a reassessment now ongoing that will impact valuations in 2013 and beyond. Regardless, property taxes will be increasing and a higher assessment will probably mean local politicians won’t need to increase the mill rate as much to capture the same revenue.
Item 9.1.1 – concerned a review of service delivery, possibly with consultant support. A couple of the councillors asked pointed questions regarding the use of outside consultants and were told that it was a possibility but that their involvement would likely be minimal. Hopefully this means it won’t be too expensive.
Item 9.1.2 – concerns water and waste water arrears. The Finance Department’s requests for not pursuing overdue bills prior to January 2012 was approved by council. That seems reasonable and practical. The one question that I probably would have asked, but wasn’t raised, was how much money are we talking about? Regardless, it’s time to cut our losses and move forward. We have limited staff resources that are better spent keeping on top of the deadbeats going forward.
Item 9.2.2 – offered direction that any expense related to rehabilitation of the Ranger Cabin on Tower Hill be included in the 2013 budget discussion was accepted by council. Council also directed staff to apply for funding under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Grant. This is in addition to applying for funding to this same grant for support of a multi-use trail connecting Parry Sound with Kinsman Park. Community volunteers interested in rehabilitating the Ranger Cabin were invited to put forward a proposal.
Item 9.2.3 – concerned the purchase of a Trimble GPS device for the plotting of town assets. A couple of the councillors wondered whether this would be taking opportunity from local businesses, or whether it would be better value to rent the equipment. It was also asked whether it would be possible to lease the device out to other municipalities in hopes of recouping some of the $15,000 cost. This last suggestion brought memories of a TV show that I vaguely remember as a child and the Ballad of Paladin theme song “Have Gun Will Travel” (the link will get you to the original on You Tube). I couldn’t help but think of a modern remake that includes “Have Trimble will travel reads the card of a man”.
Regardless, the purchase was approved. I believe this is a good investment.
Item 9.5.1 – concerns the charitable waste grant. The Salvation army will receive about $3,500 and Habit for Humanity $1,500.
There is nothing on the council end of things until the middle of August. Enjoy the summer and let’s hope we get rain. The Director of Public Works indicated water usage in town is up by about 50% to 1.2 million gallons per day.