Clerk and treasurer Tisdale and staff working on 2022 Limerick budget

·7 min read

During their Dec. 20 meeting, Limerick Township council heard from Victoria Tisdale, the clerk and treasurer, who gave them her clerk’s, CEMC and treasurer’s report. In addition to having begun work on the 2022 budget with deputy clerk and treasurer Nicole Ilcio, she told them about a break in at the township waste site, an issue with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities membership for one councillor, a new form to access the MPAC Assessment Roll Book, her CEMC report which noted the recent wind storm and subsequent power outages, and the rise of the Omicron variant with regard to the ongoing pandemic, and an update on the township’s financials heading into 2022. After some questions and discussion, council accepted Tisdale’s reports.

Tisdale and Ilcio had started working on the township’s 2022 budget, according to Tisdale’s clerk’s report, and have also been working on year end preparations for the office. She said that as the annual memberships and final bills are still coming in, they would have a better picture of where they stand in January, 2022. Overall, she says they were able to stay within budget in virtually every department in 2021.

Tisdale revealed that the waste site was broken into on the evening of Dec. 6 and some items were stolen out of the attendant’s shop. When staff noticed the break-in on Tuesday, the OPP were informed and a report was filed. For insurance purposes, they have not filed a claim, as the amount they’d receive isn’t worth the increase that would likely result from the claim.

During his Mayor’s Update, Mayor Carl Stefanski suggested a motion to replace the stolen items from the waste site as soon as possible, which came to about $3,500 as they would be needed by staff.

Tisdale replied that the invertor had already been replaced because it is the power source up there, but that they were holding off on the generator because it wasn’t needed until next summer.

“On that note, we thought about trying to set up some kind of system where we keep the expensive pieces here at the garage and then [Les Rowley] brings them up [to the waste site],” she says.

With regard to the FCM membership, Tisdale sent an email to Councillor Kim Carson about it, and the membership is up to date, which is paid for by Hastings County.

A new form was attached to the report that the office will be using for anyone wanting to view the MPAC Assessment Roll Book. Tisdale says that traditionally it is supposed to be used for tax comparison purposes for residents, for transparency regarding tax rates.

“Since the large land purchase this summer [the Land’escapes property], there has been a significant increase in non-residents requesting information out of the roll book. This book contains personal information protected by Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and should only be utilized with persons with a specific purpose,” she says.

Tisdale also gave council the status of the union negotiations for her and Les Rowley and two of the township’s operators Norm and Dan plus the union representative. She said that legal council will review it after the fact. The talks began on Dec. 21 and she said they’d bring it back to council in January for review. The current contract ends at the end of 2021, so this new contract would be for 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Next, Tisdale gave council her CEMC report, in which she told them that she had attended the required CEMC course in Ottawa at the end of November. She passed the course and now has all the required courses.

Widespread power outages occurred throughout the township over the weekend of Dec. 18 and Dec. 19, and they were unable to open the Limerick Community Centre as a warming station as they had no power to the building. She said that Les Rowley, the public works supervisor, had been in contact with representatives from Generac for a propane generator at the community centre. Estimates for a generator for the LCC would be $14,000 to $16,000 to have it installed to run the whole building on propane. She also noted that there were deficiencies in the generator at the municipal garage, and to replace that would be $16,000 to $18,000. It would be more expensive because it has to run the garage. She also suggested that council consider getting a clean water station available for the public at the community centre. She said that when a working generator is in place at LCC it would be a good spot as the water is drinkable there.

“The most important thing is the community centre so that if this ever happens [a massive power outage], we can offer people a place to get drinking water and a place to stay if they can’t be at home. So, we have to get on that right away,” she says.

Council agreed, and Stefanski put forth a motion to spend the required amount to get the generator in place at the LCC, which was passed unanimously by council.

Tisdale told council that the COVID-19 Omicron variant is now spreading throughout Ontario. She says that Hastings County is seeing the highest numbers since the start of the pandemic, and that gathering restrictions had been reimplemented in Kingston and Windsor as they’d had significant outbreaks. She said they will be monitoring daily and responding accordingly.

Tisdale also noted that the community centre is supposed to be opening back up in January, 2022, but this will be dependent on HPEPH recommendations and the limits set out by them going into the new year.

For her treasurer’s report, Tisdale reported that from June 9 to Dec. 15, a total of $949,392.47 in taxes was collected, leaving $170,271.38 in outstanding taxes to be collected by the township as of the middle of December.

“We have done well with tax collections. We’ve gotten around $40,000 in back taxes through sales of properties, and tax sales should be completed by the first quarter of 2022. This will eliminate the 2016, 2017 and 2018 uncollected taxes,” she says.

Stefanski had a couple of queries about the budgetary control items, with regard to the salt delivery destination and a confirmation that the sale of equipment proceeds will go toward brushing, which Tisdale answered to his satisfaction.

Councillor Jan MacKillican had a question about legal fees for a shoreline purchase and how it was divided up between the township and the residents in question. Tisdale replied that the bill was split up.

“They do pay the majority of the legal fees and then they represent part of the township’s fees as well. So, we have a small amount to pay, and they have a large amount,” she says.

MacKillican had another question about computer expenses and could more of them be covered by COVID-19 funding due to the restrictions needing more Zoom meetings and enhanced anti-virus software. Tisdale said they could and that she’d look into doing that.

Councillor Kim Carson noted that they were looking at numbers as of the end of October, so she assumed they’d be meeting and perhaps exceeding the budget goals. Tisdale told her that was pretty much the case, as they’d met their budget goals mostly, although they’d been exceeded in a couple of sections.

“The big one in Roads was the equipment purchase for $290,000 which will put us back a bit, and for Administration, we were over mostly due to benefits,” she says.

Carson thanked Tisdale and her team on a job well done with the budget so far. Stefanski called for a motion to accept Tisdale’s reports and the other staff reports which was passed, and then council moved on to other business.

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times

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