SDG – County council voted to award the contract for an education consultant to Ottawa-based Horizon Educational Consulting during its March 15th regular meeting.
Council approved hiring an education consultant to draft a plan for rural education in SDG in February with a budget of $60,000. Horizon’s bid of $45,000 was the only proposal received.
County CAO Tim Simpson called the education report that the consultant will deliver in July a “social capital project” for SDG.
Councillor Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) told council that even though only one proposal was received, she was very optimistic that the consultant being hired will move rural education forward in the county.
“Our confidence level grew exponentially just having conversations with her and talking about plans of what to do after the study is completed,” she explained. “[The consultant] is very familiar with launching this type of plan and discussion with the province.”
Gardner, South Stormont councillor Jennifer MacIsaac, South Glengarry councillor Stephanie Jaworski, and Simpson formed the review committee for the RFP.
Councillor Jamie MacDonald (North Glengarry) told councillors that local member of provincial Parliament Jim McDonell should be involved in the discussions with the consultant and that he had already contacted the MPP about this.
Gardner agreed that McDonell should be involved. “The consultant highlighted this as well to have our local member of provincial Parliament work with us on this and have ‘skin in the game’,” she said. Gardner added that moving forward on drafting a rural education plan was exciting.
“While there’s a lot of work to do, I think that we’re in the right place and the right direction.”
Council approved the proposed policy for dedicating surpluses in the transportation department to a reserve to fix roads in urgent need of repair that are not covered by the four year roads plan.
The policy was put forth in February by Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) during the county’s budget deliberations, and will set aside unused surpluses in the transportation department to the reserve fund.
“It will give us a great tool and a great ability to fund our ‘now needs’ roads,” he told council adding that funding those projects has been a challenge for every council.
He said that the policy will give the county the ability to put money aside and bring some of the roads that are in need of major repair into focus.
“Hopefully down the road, councils will look at this and see that this was the right move to do at the time,” Byvelds said.
Through this policy, council can still assign surpluses to other projects if there is a need. Any left over surplus from the transportation department will go into this fund.
2021 tax rates approved
County councillors completed the 2021 budget process approving the tax rates, and tax ratios for the 2021 fiscal year. This included $1,171,940 in donation requests that had been agreed to in the budget deliberations in February. The final payments for the Dundas Manor and Maxville Manor capital projects make up a combined $1 million of those donations.
New to the donation list is the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network, which will receive $25,000 from SDG Counties. Councillor Carma Williams (North Glengarry) was appointed to the EOAF board for the duration of this council term as County Council representative. The City of Cornwall and United Counties of Prescott-Russell already contribute to EOAF, which is run by Tom Manley.
Most roads contracts awarded
SDG Counties council approved all but one of the contracts for the transportation department that are part of the 2021 budget. R.W. Tomlinson was awarded a $6,996,400 contract for hot mix paving this year. The contract was a joint tender between the county, South Glengarry, and South Stormont.
SDG and South Glengarry also teamed up on a cold-in-place road recycling contract. That contract was awarded to Roto Mill for $3,681,883.88.
One contract that was not approved was the micro resurfacing tender. Both bids from the tender process were rejected as being over budget. The RFP included resurfacing two SDG patrol yards. deHaan explained that the price for the two yards was more than double what the county had budgeted for. The micro resurfacing contract will be re-tendered by the county without the patrol yards.
Other contracts approved included a $34,020 contract with Green Stream Lawn and Vegetation Management for weed spraying; a $55,660 contract with Keystone Bridge Management for biennial bridge inspections; a $53,882.75 contract with Anchor Concrete Products for a concrete box culvert for County Road 43 east of Chesterville; and $238,073.50 to Peninsula Construction for guardrail replacement along county roads.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader