Essex Council Notes for Monday, October 2

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Sylene Argent

Organizational Review

Kelly Linton, a partner with Imaginate Inc., introduced members of Essex staff and Council to the Organization Review the firm conducted. The project highlighted the Town’s strengths and weaknesses.

He noted during the special Council meeting the purpose of the project was to review the current organization and recommend positive changes for long-term organizational excellence. In order to complete the review, input was received from all levels of staff through a combination of group workshops, one-on-one interviews, and a staff questionnaire.

A common theme heard while conducting the project, he said, was that the Town of Essex generally provides good customer service and is accessible to the community.

After hearing the review, Council moved to receive the report and moved forward with a few of the ten recommendations for change presented. There are two phases of recommendations. They included recommendations from the first phase (to be implemented within two years): Semi-annual staff meetings facilitated by the CAO with the active involvement of the Senior Management Team; shift the Manager, Legislative Services/Clerk to report to CAO identify succession planning priorities and establish a Deputy CAO position; and establish Development Services Department with Planning, Building & Bylaws and Economic Development.

Of the eight first phase recommendations presented, it is estimated the cost would be between $105,000-$130,000.

This is because, it was explained at the meeting, there is currently no Town Planner and that position would be redefined.


Blair recognized

Essex Council recognized organ transplant recipient Kaidyn Blair for his recent accomplishments at the 2017 World Transplant Games hosted in Spain. He participated in six sports and walked away with three gold medals in ball throw, long jump, and high jump.

Mayor Ron McDermott gave Blair an Essex jersey emblazoned with his last name in recognition of this recent achievement.

McDermott said Blair is, “One of our truly inspirational athletes.”

Blair was born with Biliary Atresia, and was able to receive a lifesaving liver transplant shortly after his first birthday.

A few years back, the Town moved that every April 27 would be designated as Kaidyn Blair Organ Donation Awareness Day. This is Blair’s transplant anniversary.

All of this recognition is because Blair spends a great amount of time educating the community on organ donation and urges community members to register.


ECHRS lease

Essex Council authorized an agreement and provisionally adopted a bylaw that will allow the Essex & Community Historical Research Society (ECHRS) to continue to maintain the Carnegie Library. Council also received the corresponding report.

The report to Council noted the current lease would expire in November, and members of ECHRS have formally requested the lease be renewed for additional ten years. Through the report, it was recommended the terms and conditions of the lease renewal remain the same as the past lease agreement.

The previous lease required ECHRS to pay the Town $5.00 annually to operate the Carnegie Building on behalf of the Town. ECHRS is responsible for utility and insurance costs. The Town of Essex will cover all property insurance for the building as well as all capital costs to maintain the structure of the Carnegie building.


Harrow development charges

Essex Council received the report, “Development Charges for Single Family Residential Dwellings in Ward 4.”
Currently, Essex is offering a 50 percent reduction in those development fees in Harrow. The report investigated a 100 percent reduction.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he was not in favour. He said the Town has to grab those fees from somewhere if developers are not paying the full costs, which in Harrow is around $9500.

Councillor Larry Snively questioned why developers would build in Harrow at a 50 percent reduction when other areas in the region are offering no development charges. He said Ward 4 is hurting and needs the support. Councillor Sherry Bondy was in favour for a short amount of time as she said the current reduction is not making a big enough wave.

In the report to Council, it notes in June of 2015, Council amended the bylaw that imposes development charges to include a 50 percent reduction in development charges for residential development in Harrow until the end of December of 2016. This was subsequently extended to the end of 2017.

In a recorded vote with all in favour, Council moved to have administration begin the public consultation process to amend the corresponding bylaw for a 100 percent reduction for an 18-month period for single family residential dwellings in Ward 4.

The report notes this would include a background study in the form of a staff report. It would have to be released sixty days prior to considering the amending bylaw. Notice of the public meeting will be required.

According to the report, in 2015-2016, six permits were taken out in Harrow for a total value of the Development Charges at the 50% reduction being $27,434.00. The report continues that to date in 2017, four permits have been taken out for new single family residential dwellings in Harrow. Development charges at the 50% reduction was valued at $18,988.00. The portion not funded by developers because of the reduction is funded through a combination of wastewater revenue from Ward 4 and taxes levied on residents in all wards, the repot notes.

Essex Council Notes for Monday, October 2 will continue in the October 12 edition.