Municipality of the District of Clare
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm
PRESENT: Council: Warden Ronnie LeBlanc; Deputy Warden Nil Doucet; Councillors, Hector Thibault, Carl Deveau, Danny Hill, Brian Comeau, Eric Pothier and Yvon LeBlanc
Staff: CAO Stéphane Cyr, Director of Finance, Ginette Cheff, Executive Assistant, Ashley Hanks, and Communications Officer, Amy Paradis
1) Call to Order
Warden LeBlanc called the Council meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
2) (a) Approval of the Agenda
Warden LeBlanc asked that the following revisions be made to the agenda:
- Addition of 14.1 Rural Internet in closed session
- Move item 9.7 to 9.1 and adjust the remaining numbers in this section accordingly
MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the proposed agenda be approved with the above noted revisions.
(b) Declaration of conflict of interest
4) Adoption of the Minutes from Previous Council Meetings
4.1 March 18, 2020 – Regular Council Meeting
MOVED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the minutes of March 18, 2020 be accepted as circulated.
4.2 April 1, 2020 – Council-In-Committee Meeting
MOVED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the minutes of April 1, 2020 be accepted as circulated.
5) Business Arising from Previous Meetings
6) Warden’s Activity Report – Warden LeBlanc
The Warden provided a summary of the meetings and events the he attended since the last Council meeting.
March 26 – Participated in a conference call of the Board of Governors of Université Sainte-Anne.
April 5 – Participated in an interview with CBC Radio to discuss press release issued by the Municipality regarding the Canoe Trip.
April 6 – Participated in an interview with CJLS to discuss the press release issued by the Municipality regarding the Canoe Trip.
April 6 – Participated in an interview with the Yarmouth County Vanguard to discuss the press release issued by the Municipality regarding the Canoe Trip.
April 6 – Participated in a conference call of the Board of Directors of the CDÉNÉ to adopt the organization’s strategic plan (2020-2023).
April 7 – Participated in an interview with CIFA to discuss the press release issued by the Municipality regarding the Canoe Trip.
April 9 – Participate in a conference call with MLA Gordon Wilson, as well as the Mayors, Wardens and CAOs for Digby County to discuss the impacts of COVID-19.
7) Official Statements from Members of Council
9) Presentation of the 2020-2021 Operational Budget and Corresponding Motions (See attached)
9.1 Motion to Adopt 2020-2021 Municipal Operational Budget
The CAO and Director of Finance presented a balanced budget of $9,570,630 for the 2020-2021 fiscal year with no increase to the current residential and commercial property tax rates of $1.04 and $2.07 per $100 of assessment respectively. Other highlights include:
- $1,146,539 for RCMP costs, including prosecution services and DNA testing.
- $118,475 for Corrections
- $913,501 for Fire Departments including both operational and capital funding as well as debt servicing.
- $1,808,213 for Education
- $282,728 and $204,779 for Tourism and Recreation respectively
- A continued commitment to the provision of municipal services in both official languages
- A renewal of the low-income property tax exemption
- Dedicated funding for the CMA 2024, the Festival acadien de Clare and the Transport de Clare.
Both the CAO and Director of Finance have qualified this budget as fiscally conservative and further complicated by the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Council had previously reviewed the budget in detail at the Council of the Whole Meeting on April 1, 2020 and was pleased with both its content and staff’s efforts to complete this exercise in time for the April 2020 meeting of Council.
MOVED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the 2020-2021 operational budget for the Municipality of the District of Clare be approved as presented on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
9.2 Motion to Adopt Municipal Tax Rates
MOVED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that the municipal tax rates for the Municipality of the District of Clare for 2020-2021 be set as follows:
- $1.04 per $100.00 of assessment as the Residential and Resource Tax Rate (the same rate since 2014), and
- $2.07 per $100.00 of assessment as the Commercial Tax Rate (the same rate since 2010)
- $0.25 per acre (below 50,000 acres) and $0.40 per acre (above 50,000 acres) as the Forest Acreage Rates
9.3 Motion to Adopt Sewer Service Charges
MOVED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the municipal sewer service charges for 2020-2021 be set at $200.00 per unit for the following:
- Meteghan Centre
- Meteghan River
- Church Point
- Belliveau Cove
9.4 Motion to Adopt Streetlight Area Rates
MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the 2020-2021 rates for streetlights be set as follows:
- Highway 1 and Patrice Road – Church Point $50.48
- Highway 1 – Little Brook and Comeauville $31.52
- Highway 1 – Saulnierville $44.88
- Highway 1 – Meteghan River $47.39
- Placide Comeau Road – Meteghan River $59.86
- Highway 1 and Peter Dugas Road – Meteghan $31.07
- John Thibodeau Road – Meteghan Centre $829.51 (1 user)
- Highway 1 – Saint-Bernard and Belliveau Cove $17.15
9.5 Motion to Adopt Fire Department Rates
MOVED BY Councillor Hector Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that the 2020-2021 Fire Department rates be set as follows:
- Fire Protection $0.05 per $100.00 of assessment
- Fire Truck Purchase $0.06 per $100.00 of assessment
9.6 Motion to Adopt the Council Write-Offs
MOVED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Nil Doucet that the Municipality of the District of Clare write-off the following noted tax amounts for the reasons described herein:
Account # Amount Year Reason
04031008 $ 24,700 2020 Fire Damage
04106881 $ 61,600 2020 Fire Damage
02491354 $ 14,000 2020 Fire Damage
9.7 Motion to Adopt Due Date and Interest Commencement Date
Last year, the due date for taxes was June 30, 2019 with interest accruing on arrears as of July 31, 2019. This year, in light of the social and economic impacts to residents and businesses brought about by COVID-19, both Council and staff are proposing a one month extension on the due date for taxes, from June 30th to July 31st, as well as an additional two months of interest relief, from July 31st to September 30th. That being said, those residents and/or businesses who are able to pay their taxes on or before the due date are encouraged to do so. It is this tax revenue which allows the Municipality to continue offering services such as the Clare Health Centre, Public Works and Garbage Collection to its residents. Residents who are unable to pay their taxes by September 30, 2020 are asked to contact the Municipality. Council in no way wishes to add to the financial hardships being experienced as a result of COVID-19 and sincerely hopes the aforementioned extensions will provide the assistance needed to residents and businesses.
MOVED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the due date for payment of the 2020-2021 municipal taxes be July 31, 2020 and the interest rate be 1½% per month, beginning on September 30, 2020.
Warden LeBlanc thanked the CAO and the Director of Finance for their efforts in preparing this budget.
10) Presentation of the 2020-2021 Capital Budget
10.1 Motion to Adopt the 2020-2021 Capital Budget
The CAO presented the Municipality’s proposed capital budget for fiscal 2020-2021. This budget was discussed at length at the Council of the Whole Meeting on April 1, 2020 and represents a total investment of $1,562,355 by the Municipality. Of this amount, $554,855 is being funded from the Municipality’s Capital Reserve while the remainder of $1,007,500 is being funded by Gas Tax. Of note is the Municipality’s continued investment in rural internet, more specifically the roll-out of the 278 km fiber optic network, reaching an estimated 4,600 residences and businesses. The budget also contains investments in municipally-owned facilities such as a generator for the Clare Health Centre, renovations to the Clare Veterans Centre and repairs to the Havelock Community Centre, as well continued support to municipal infrastructure including wastewater treatment plants, sidewalks and municipal parks.
MOVED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the 2020-2021 capital budget for the Municipality of the District of Clare be approved as presented on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Warden LeBlanc thanked the CAO and Director of Finance for all their hard work in preparing the Capital Budget.
11) CAO Report – Chief Administrative Officer - Stéphane Cyr
The CAO presented his report for the month of April 2020. (See attached)
12) Committee Reports
12.1 Building Permits Report – Councillor Danny Hill
Councillor Danny Hill read the building permit report for the month of March.
Year Permits Construction Value Year to Date
2019 11 $ 996,900 $ 1,890,900
2020 12 $ 1,000,480 $ 1,584,360
13) New Business
13.1 Motion to Write a Letter of Support – Meteghan Marina Association
The CAO was approached by Harold Boudreau of the Meteghan Marina Association requesting a letter of support from the Municipality as part of their funding application to ACOA. The project in question entails the construction of new wharves for recreational boating. The association is not asking for funding from the Municipality at this time. Because the request was time sensitive, an email was sent to Council requesting they indicate whether they were prepared to support this request. Support was unanimous and the letter was subsequently issued.
MOVED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Municipality of the District of Clare write a letter to the Meteghan Marina Association in support of its funding application to ACOA for the construction of new wharves for recreational boating.
13.2 Motion to Accept Proposed Amendment – Occupational Health and Safety Policy
The Municipality is participating in a pilot project launched by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and the Workers Compensation Board focusing on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). As part of the project, the Municipality will be revisiting its OHS policy and formalizing its OHS program, in keeping with provincially accepted standards. The Municipality’s current OHS policy is well written and was done in consultation with lawyers, however much of the content would be better suited as part of an OHS program rather than a policy. To this end, the CAO is proposing the policy by amended (See attached).
MOVED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Municipality of the District of Clare accept the proposed amendment to the Municipality’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy as presented.
13.3 Motion to Award Tender – Mowing and Maintenance of Ball Fields, Soccer Fields and Grounds
A tender was issued for the mowing and maintenance of municipal ball fields, soccer fields and grounds. Three bids were received. Following a review by staff, it is recommended the tender be awarded to
M. McCauley Enterprise Limited in the amount of $9,500 plus HST per year for the next three years, for a total of $28,500 plus HST.
MOVED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Municipality of the District of Clare award the Tender for the Mowing and Maintenance of Ball Fields, Soccer Fields and Grounds to M. McCauley Enterprise Limited in the amount of $9,500 plus HST per year for the next three years for a total of $28,500 plus HST.
A second tender will be issued shortly for the mowing of the municipal office as well as the Clare Health Centre, the Clare Veterans Centre and the Cultural Hub.
14) In Camera Session
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to an In-Camera Session.
12.1 Rural Internet
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to the Regular Council Meeting.
15) Date and time of the next Regular Council Meeting
The next Regular Council Meeting will be held on May 20, 2020 at 7:00 pm.
MOVED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 pm.