Councillors get tutored

Conmee Township, Ont. — It was time to bone up on council procedures for the Conmee Township council on Tuesday.

With three new councillors and a relatively new mayor, the five-member council of Conmee went through a 35-page orientation presented by Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing municipal advisor Ellen Beaudry during a deputation at the beginning of the regular council meeting.

The 20-minute address — aptly named the Ontario Municipal Councillor’s Guide — touched on the role of council, the role of administration, codes of conduct, bylaw procedure, when a meeting may be closed, fiscal content, budget preparation, operating versus capital budget, setting property tax rates as well as tax billing and collections.

Council went down to business after that, receiving reports from clerk Shara Lavallee, public works manager Leonard Arps, fire chief Jason Fleck, Conmee Mayor Sheila Maxwell (who has been in the mayor’s seat for less than a year) as well as incumbent Coun. Grant Arnold and new councillors Dave Maxwell, Chris Kresack and David Halvorsen.

Topics discussed included having the Rural Cupboard Food Bank receive new keys with the Conmee Community Centre rekeyed, volunteer firefighters’ applications for courses, and seeking new tires for the snowplow truck.

The snowplow tires, which saw two split down the middle after not a lot of use by the community’s standard, prompted much discussion on how the township would tackle the issue.

A quote for six new tires installed with two spares came in at approximately $5,500, but Halvorsen suggested to look up if the tires could be recalled.

“Why don’t we check and see if there was a recall on those tires,” Halvorsen said. “You’ve got the name and the manufacturer and just do an online search and see if there was a recall.”

Said Arps on the subject, “We got (the truck) on Jan. 1 of last year and we’ve had this for a year and (three) weeks. You take those months and the summer months and the winter months and that plow hasn’t been on there that long. If it’s not going to snow, we take the plow off . . . though we got that truck a year ago, that doesn’t mean the plow has been on for a year.”

Council decided to have Arps’ crew find out more information on the tires and have the used tires inspected for why they deteriorated so quickly.

Council also worked on appointing delegates for the upcoming Thunder Bay District Municipal League meetings March 23-24 and also wanted to see the agenda for the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association annual general meeting April 26-28 before deciding to attend.

Conmee council will host a deputation from the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority at their next meeting on Feb. 14 as well as give the floor to the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy body at their regular council meeting on March 28.

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal