March 9, 2021 - County Council Highlights
Council Observes Moment of Silence for Former Warden Mathew Schafer
County Council observed a moment of silence at its meeting on March 9, 2021 for Mathew Schafer who passed away on March 1st. Mathew was elected Warden of the County of Elgin in 1976 at the age of 34, making him one of the youngest to ever serve as Warden. He served on Elgin County Council as Reeve and Deputy Reeve of the Township of Bayham from 1973 to 1976. He served many community organizations in Bayham over the years and was always proud to attend the Warden’s annual banquet and other County events. On behalf of Elgin County Council, the Warden expressed his condolences to Mathew’s family and to the Municipality of Bayham. His service will not be forgotten.
Photograph used in St. Thomas Times-Journal article published January 17, 1975 with caption: “From left, Roger DeClerq, president of the Straffordville Lions Club; John Sebok, treasurer of the Lions Club, Blake Wolfe, chairman of the Bayham Township Community Centre Board; and Mathew Schafer, reeve of the Township of Bayham, met on Jan. 9 to complete the payment for the Bayham Township Community Centre, home of the Lions Club of Straffordville. Mr. Schafer accepted a cheque for $1,590.08 from the Lions which brought the total of their contributions to the project to $102,616.91. The Lions raised about 90 per cent of the money for the building.”
Council Appoints Members to 2021 SCOR Board of Directors
In November 2020, Elgin County Council decided to join the South-Central Ontario Region (SCOR EDC) Economic Development Corporation for one-year (2021). SCOR EDC requested that Elgin County Council appoint two (2) members of Council to serve on the Board of Directors for this period as well as one (1) staff member and an alternate to serve as part of the Resource Advisory Group. Council appointed Warden Marks and Councillor French to serve on the SCOR EDC Board of Directors in 2021 and appointed the Economic Development Coordinator to participate in the Resource Advisory Group and the Tourism Services Coordinator to serve as Alternate.
Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Presentation
The Director of Homes and Seniors Services provided Council with an update regarding the Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Project. The presentation included layouts of resident home areas, dining areas, kitchen areas, activity areas, court yard spaces and more. The presentation also discussed the three (3) phase approach to construction which will be implemented over the course of the project. Council were also presented with a digital walk-through of the new facility.
Council expressed their excitement that the construction process has begun and reminded the public that the Terrace Lodge Fundraising Campaign is underway. This campaign will ensure that this new state of the art facility truly becomes a home for its 100 residents. For more information about the Terrace Lodge Fundraising Campaign, visit www.donatetoterracelodge.ca.
County Council Approves Non-Union Economic Increase
County Council approved a 1.75% wage increase for non-union staff and Council in 2021. Each year Human Resources staff recommends to County Council a non-union economic increase which is based upon consideration of a number of factors including, but not limited to: negotiation mandates and outcomes, inflationary trends, attrition data, market factors, and potential for expanding unionization. The purpose of this annual action is to ensure the County of Elgin remains a desired employer; that the County is attracting and retaining skills and talent in the organization by remaining competitive in its compensation practices; and that the County avoid any spikes or gaps in its compensation practices from one year to the next.
Full details about the 2021 non-union economic increase are included in the March 9, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
County Receives Annual Repayment Limit from Province
Each year the Province of Ontario issues an Annual Repayment Limit (ARL) which places a limit on how much debt obligations Elgin can undertake. The 2021 ten-year plan included $44 million of debt between 2020 and 2025. The $44 million planned borrowing is well within the ARL limit.
More information about the Annual Repayment Limit is available in the March 9, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
Council Approves Tender for Meeks Bridge Replacement
Council selected Clearwater Structures Inc. for the Meeks Bridge Replacement Project, at a total price of $1,735,862.00 inclusive of a $220,000 contingency allowance. A total of five (5) contractors submitted bids for this project with Clearwater Structures Inc. being the lowest compliant bid.
This construction project involves removal and disposition of the existing Meeks bridge structure that was constructed in 1900 and the salvaged removal and repurposing of the former Port Bruce temporary bridge at the Meeks bridge site. The project also involves the removal and restoration of the Port Bruce temporary boat launch and former temporary bridge locations.
Council Approves Connectivity Committee Recommendation for RFP
County Council approved a recommendation from the Connectivity Committee to develop an RFP for a Technical Consultant to support the Committee’s work in identifying community specific solutions with respect to enhancing connectivity across Elgin County.
For the past six (6) months, the Connectivity Committee has been meeting twice monthly to gather connectivity information from industry professionals, municipal counterparts and members of the public. The Committee has engaged the public through a survey, held an internet forum and developed preliminary connectivity maps. The Committee identified next steps as:
- A technical assessment/needs assessment of served/unserved/underserved areas; and,
- An unbiased, objective technical assessment of which technology solutions are most cost effective and might work best in underserved/unserved areas of Elgin’s municipalities; and,
- An investigation of possible funding models.
The Committee determined that these next steps would be most appropriately handled by a technical expert.
The Committee will review a draft RFP at its next meeting and any contract award will be subject to Council consideration.
More details are included in the March 9, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
Council Receives Strategic Plan Staff Action Plan Update
As part of Council’s 2020-2022 Strategic Plan, an associated Staff Action Plan was developed as a means of advancing Council’s strategic goals through staff action items. Progress on this Plan is presented to County Council for review on a quarterly basis. The previous update was presented on November 10, 2020.
The complete updated Staff Action Plan is included as part of the March 9, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
The complete March 9, 2021 County Council Agenda package can be found here.