Bayham councillors discussed the following during a Thursday, May 19 meeting:
Auditor Rob Foster of Graham Scott Enns chartered accountants gave Bayham a passing grade during the annual audit of the municipality’s finances.
The municipality saw an increase in its financial assets to $2.79 million in 2021, as compared to $1.25 million in 2020. The biggest driver of this was an increase in the cash position, which Mr. Foster said was good for a municipality the size of Bayham.
Mayor Ed Ketchabaw said a surplus cash position could raise some ire amongst ratepayers, but it is good for future growth and planned infrastructure projects.
On the expense side, Foster said the municipality generally did a good job of staying on or under budget.
Speaking to the Ojibwa debt (the municipality was paying off a $6-million dollar loan following Elgin Military Museum’s 2015 default on a loan guaranteed by Bayham), Mr. Foster said Bayham was brought back to a positive position over a relatively short time after taking on the debt for the submarine. The accumulated debt associated with the Ojibwa is $4.7 million. There is approximately a $400,000 commitment each year for repayment.
As part of the planning process, a public meeting will be held on June 2 to discuss the application by 11:28 Properties Inc. for a draft plan of subdivision. The proposal is to create a 22-lot subdivision on the east side of Plank Line.
The schedule for council meetings was changed due to this fall’s municipal election.
The Oct. 20 meeting is on one of the advanced polling dates for the election. The Nov. 17 meeting will be in the new term of council, but is before the inaugural meeting so it was removed.
“This would not preclude council from hosting a special meeting if we had to deal with business,” said CAO Thomas Thayer.
Bayham will be hosting a court of revision on June 2 to assign cost apportionment for the Hampton Drain.
Council discussed improvements that are needed to the drain as it is causing flooding due to back-ups. The application for the improvements came from Thomas Eisenhauer of Bonnefield Farms.
The meeting was to discuss the construction, not cost apportionment. The reconstruction will start on Bonnefield lands, crossing Mitchell Line to Jackson, with new road crossings on Mitchell Line.
Bob Gregson, who has property on the drain, said the last couple of years water has been coming out of the catch basin instead of going in. He said it has caused the flooding of his rye field, resulting in crop loss.
Council approved the design and will discuss costs on June 2.
Bayham renewed its writ of seizure and sale registered against the Elgin Military Museum.
This was due to the municipality’s loan guarantee to the Elgin Military Museum for Project Ojibwa. In 2019, the municipality approved the writ be registered on title indefinitely as a legal measure, even though it was recognized there was little chance of seeing any money from it.
“I believe it’s prudent to keep that there,” Mayor Ed Ketchabaw said. “It may never be exercised but it should be kept there if the time comes.”
Jeff Helsdon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express