March 24, 2020 County Council Highlights

County Council members dial-in!

With the passage of provincial legislation allowing the measure, Elgin County Council held their first electronic Council meeting on March 24, 2020.  Municipalities and Councillors from across the province had been requesting this change, noting the need to adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions as well as conduct necessary business.  The Municipal Emergency Act, 2020 allows for this new format of meeting and Council approved amendments to its Procedural By-law.  Members of the public were permitted to attend, following pre-screening measures and minutes and an audio recording will be posted to the County’s website soon. 

Warden and CAO Opening Remarks

The Warden welcomed everyone to the County’s first ever Council Meeting conducted by teleconference and expressed his support of the actions taken by the provincial government and the local and provincial public health authorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Warden assured residents and businesses that the County is committed to responding cooperatively, responsibly, and with the full strength of their resources to this community health crisis. 

The Warden presented an update on the County’s Covid-19 response to date. Most Elgin County services continue to operate, although often in a different format. Residents are encouraged to visit the County’s website or to call County Administration for more information. Senior staff and the Emergency Management Coordinator have been working proactively for weeks and are making informed and important decisions to protect citizens and workers. On behalf of Council, the Warden expressed Council’s commitment to supporting staff and the community.

The Chief Administrative Officer expressed staff’s commitment to doing their part to support the directives of Council, public health experts and the Government of Ontario in helping to slow the spread of the virus in this community and commended staff from across the organization for their leadership, flexibility and support.

Delegation of Council’s Authority

Council passed a By-law which will ensure critical decisions can still be made in the event Council is unable to meet for issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Council approved a By-Law which will allow Council to delegate temporarily its authority and powers to make decisions by elected Council to a body comprised of specified members of Council and the Chief Administrative Officer/Clerk of the Corporation.

Recognizing Councillor Linda Stevenson, City of St. Thomas

County Council observed a Moment of Silence to honour and remember Councillor Linda Stevenson, City of St. Thomas.

COVID-19 Economic Hardships

The Director of Financial Services presented a report regarding the economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the County’s Local Municipal Partners have implemented or are considering tax penalty relief to their residents. As residents delay payments to the County’s municipal partners, the municipal partners will begin to experience cashflow issues, which will make it difficult for them to meet the March 31 deadline for the levy payment to the County. Council authorized that a 30-day levy penalty relief be provided to the municipal partners for the March 31, 2020 tax instalment in recognition of the economic hardships the COVID-19 pandemic is creating.

The complete March 24, 2020 County Council Agenda Package for Special Meeting #1 can be found here.

The complete March 24, 2020 County Council Agenda Package for Special Meeting #2 can be found here.

The audio recording for the March 24, 2020 County Council Special Meetings can be found here: