By Sue Tiffin
Published March 19 2019
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the March 12 meeting of Highlands East council.
Highlands East council approved a 2019 annual budget which comes with a tax rate increase of 3.56 per cent.
“At our inaugural meeting in December an ambitious outline for the next four years that I referred to as ‘the years of change and together we can’ was presented and supported by all of council” said Mayor Dave Burton in a press release issued after the budget approval.
“Council encouraged staff to evaluate and reduce expenses wherever possible without impacting services thus allowing the municipality to accommodate continued increasing financial requirements and include costs to accommodate our objectives for the next four years.”
Capital projects include the rehabilitation of Dyno Road at a cost of $615000 and the second phase of roadwork at the Cardiff town site at a cost of $544207. Other major projects include a facilities review budgeted at $50000 and an organizational review which will cost $28000. In total capital projects will cost $1.9 million compared to $1.4 million in 2018.
Burton praised staff for their work on the budget. The full budget report is available at www.highlandseast.ca.
In his March 12 monthly report to council Stewart Hurd environmental supervisor outlined a number of conclusions and recommendations listed in the 2018 Cardiff Wastewater Treatment System (phase one) Assessment Report from D.M. Wills on Feb. 7.
The nine conclusions and recommendations include: 2013 to 2016 raw flows exceed the design capacity by approximately 50 per cent; per capita flows of approximately 2510L/capita indicate significant inflow and infiltration flows in the collection system; the lagoons have not discharged to Mink Creek in the summer and fall which may indicate they are exfiltrating into the ground during periods of the year when groundwater tables are low such as during the summer periods.
Other recommendations include peak hourly flows should be monitored to confirm if the old sewage pump station could be decommissioned; the existing flow meters should be replaced with new more accurate flow meters and refurbishment of any leaking valve chambers is recommended.
“I’m not sure if that’s good or bad” said Burton after Hurd read his report.
“It’s all preliminary” responded Hurd noting there would be more investigative work done.
According to Hurd’s report further investigative efforts will follow as phases two and three of the Treatment System Assessment are carried out in 2019 and 2020. No “required actions” are necessary after a Ministry of Environment site inspection of Monmouth waste disposal site on Jan. 11 and a 2018/2019 compliance inspection report for the Dyno drinking water system resulted in a rating of 95.5 per cent.
Water and sewer consumers in Ward 1 (Bicroft) will see fees and charges for the services increase from $652.02 to $678.10 for domestic water consumers and from $426.33 to $443.38 for sewer service charge both a four per cent increase from 2018 as per the financial plan completed by the Ontario Clean Water Agency in May 2016. Hurd’s report to council said a four per cent increase on commercial industrial and institutional consumers is also proposed.
Roads superintendent Earl Covert reported the 2018/2019 winter season has been both “harsh and relentless” for his department.
“Between the rain and the freezing cold it has amounted to a massive buildup of ice on our roads system which we are still feeling the effects of” he wrote in his report.
Covert said the department had used about 20 per cent more sand this season than in previous years and reported this had been the worst season for ice buildup “since amalgamation.”
To prepare for the spring thaw snow removal had taken place or was taking place prior to anticipated rainfall March 14 and 15 in Wilberforce Gooderham and specific locations in Cardiff.
According to Covert Highlands East staff are working on putting together a surface treatment tender seeking qualified bidders after talks for a joint surface treatment tender with the County of Haliburton fell through.
“Unfortunately we were unable to agree on the terms of the contract so the municipality is now going to issue our own separate tender” he said. “We have pulled out and we’re going to tender the municipality by ourself.”
Deputy Mayor Cec Ryall asked what was the cause of the breakdown.
“The whole thing is over the pulverization” said Covert. “They wanted an actual date for it to be done and I can’t do that. We’re blasting rock and I don’t know when that’s going to be done. And they figured they were going to end up paying more money.”
In his report Covert said tenders for the crushing of gravel/asphalt and calcium would also be prepared in the near future.
Council expenses which include councillors’ council and committee meeting per diems mileage payments and conference expenses totalled about $102418 in 2018.
Mayor Dave Burton had total remuneration and expenses of just over $25000 while then-deputy mayor Suzanne Partridge’s total came to almost $23000. Councillors Cec Ryall and Cam McKenzie both received more than $18000 while Councillor Joan Barton received $16107. Councillor Ruth Strong who was elected to Barton’s seat after Barton chose not to run for re-election received $1437.
This year’s figure skating carnival takes place on March 23 at the Keith Tallman Memorial Arena with a Rocking ’50s and ’60s theme. According to Jim Alden property supervisor “the carnival always signals the arrival of the end of the arena season.” The arena closes for the season on March 31.