April 28, 2020 County Council Highlights

Thank you to all the healthcare workers at our Long-Term Care Homes!

Warden’s COVID-19 Update

The Warden provided an update on the COVID-19 situation in Elgin County, and he acknowledged the tremendous work that is underway at Elgin’s three (3) Long-Term Care Homes. The Warden also highlighted the work of the Economic Development Department in reaching out to businesses to gather data on the economic impact of the crisis and emphasized the need for the community’s continued vigilance and adherence to physical distancing guidelines.

Job Site Challenge Submission

The General Manager of Economic Development provided an update on the Province of Ontario’s Job Site Challenge. The Ford Motor Company submitted an application that met the original deadline of March 31, and another landowner is currently showing interest in applying to the Challenge. The Province has indicated that submissions received after the original deadline will be accepted, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant Program in Support of Local Businesses

Local businesses are facing great challenges as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation and the County’s Economic Development Department have assisted the Elgin St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) in developing a grant program.  County Council consented to transferring $15,000 from the Economic Development Department’s 2020 operating budget to the SBEC for the COVID-19 Business Development Fund.

County Library

The Library Coordinator presented Elgin County Library’s 2019 annual usage trends within the context of a five-year analysis from 2015 to 2019, both for the system as a whole and for the ten branches.  Elgin’s libraries have performed very well when compared to similar sized library systems.  The library team’s proactive planning over the past several years has ensured that virtual offerings are available to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the closure of all library branches.

Contract Award – Hot Mix Asphalt Paving and Microsurfacing/Surface Treatment

Walmsley Bros. submitted the lowest compliant bid for the Hot Mix Asphalt Paving tender in the amount of $2,974,838 (inclusive of a contingency allowance and exclusive of HST), and Duncor Enterprises Inc. submitted the lowest compliant bid for the Microsurfacing and Surface Treatment tender in the amount of $691,820 (inclusive of a contingency allowance and exclusive of HST). The low tenders submitted are within the approved budget amounts and no capital surplus is anticipated at this time.

Wonderland Road / Highway 3 Environmental Assessment Study and Preliminary Design Services

Work to address the long-term transportation needs in the vicinity of Highway 3 and Ron McNeil Line to provide an improved connection to Wonderland Road, within the Township of Southwold is ongoing.  The provision of engineering services for the project has been awarded to GHD Limited in the amount of $250,805.00 (excluding HST).  Agreements will be executed following the Ministry of Transportation’s approval of the consultant.

COVID-19 Cash Flow Analysis

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be significant.  A financial forecast and cash flow plan for 2020 was reviewed by County Council.  As experience is gained in this new situation, refinements will be made to the forecast model. This iterative process will improve the financial preparedness of the County, and it will ensure that Council is well situated to address any challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increase in Billing Rate for the County Prosecutor

County Council authorized an increase in the billing rate for the County Prosecutor to $140.00 per hour, a standard bi-annual increase in fees paid for this service by partner municipalities.

County’s Service Delivery Review – Project Schedule Adjustments

The timeline originally established for the Service Delivery Review (SDR) has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. County staff and StrategyCorp Inc. continue to hold weekly strategy meetings, and adjustments to the project schedule are made weekly to ensure the SDR continues.  The targeted timeline of June 2020 for completion of the SDR has been extended to September 2020.  Additional details and schedule changes will be presented to County Council once they are available.

Annual Reports and Financial Statements

County Council reviewed Southwestern Public Health’s audited Financial Statements for the period ending December 31, 2019 as well as the 2019 Year End Report submitted by Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

2020 International Plowing Match Scholarship

Residents of Elgin County or St. Thomas who are studying in a discipline related to agriculture are encouraged to apply for the 2020 International Plowing Match Legacy Agricultural Scholarship.  Additional information is available on the County’s website: www.elgincounty.ca or by calling 519-631-1460 x. 138.

The complete April 28, 2020 County Council Agenda package can be found here.