Briefs coming from the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) council meeting held February 23.
Approval of Comfort Centre MOU
After more than a year of meetings and consultations between the fire departments, council and Emergency Management Office (EMO) staff, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Respecting the Use of Community Facilities as a Municipal Comfort Centre or Municipal Shelter during an Emergency has passed through council, with some amendments.
Incorporating amendments requested by fire chiefs, the MOU will be reviewed on an annual basis by the council. A further amendment stipulates that in cases where a reasonable cost of providing the services exceeds the daily rate, a facility owner may submit original receipts for consideration of reimbursement by the municipality.
Hurricane Dorian in 2019 sparked demand for a new MOU to be drafted to set guidelines for a fire department or other community group that may wish to host a comfort centre or municipal shelter during an emergency.
The MOU also specified what the municipality will cover for expenses for these groups, when called upon to open by the emergency management coordinator, Brian Hatt, and his committee.
RQM staff are now tasked with amending RQM Bylaw 7, Pertaining to Certain Noises, a document passed in 1997.
Among several updates suggested was to designate 11 a.m. until 7 a.m. as quiet time, instead of the 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. time currently in place. Another suggestion was to give the bylaw officer the ability to begin taking decibel readings of the noise levels.
RQM Mayor Darlene Norman said that noise complaints had not been an issue until a couple of years ago and a few people started calling in with complaints from one area of the municipality.
No deadline was given RQM staff to come back with an amended document.
Council hires consultants
RQM council approved the hiring of Catalyst Consulting Engineers of Halifax to design a new council chamber audio-video layout, request for proposals and oversee the implementation of the project. Cost for this part of the project will be $10,000 including expenses, plus HST. Money will come from the unfunded liability category in the 2020-21 operating budget.
Qualifying income for tax exemption
The qualifying income to receive a property tax exemption was increased to $24,624 for 2021-22, up from the previous year’s level of $24,576.
During the 2020-21 fiscal year, 254 people applied and received the exemption, which will remain at $250.
A total of $75,000 has been put aside for the 2021-22 tax year, enough to help 300 qualified applicants.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin