Municipality of the District of Clare
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm
PRESENT: Council: Warden Ronnie LeBlanc, Councillors, Danny Hill, Hector Thibault, Brian Comeau, Eric Pothier and Yvon LeBlanc.
Staff: CAO, Stéphane Cyr, Director of Finance, Ginette Cheff, and Receptionist/Administrative Assistant, Ashley Hanks
Presenters: Chad Comeau, Projet PG and Natalie Robichaud, Executive Director – Société acadienne de Clare
ABSENT: Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and Councillor Carl Deveau
1) Call to order
Warden Ronnie LeBlanc called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm
2) (a) Approval of the agenda
The CAO asked that the following item be added to the Agenda:
- Evaluation of IT infrastructure
MOVED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the proposed agenda be approved with the above noted addition.
(b) Declaration of conflict of interest
Warden Ronnie LeBlanc asked for any declarations of conflict of interest.
3.1 Project Update - “Projet PG” – Chad Comeau
Chad Comeau presented an update of the video game he is creating about Clare and the region’s folklore. Council previously awarded a grant to Mr. Comeau to help in the creation of this game. Mr. Comeau presented a demo of his game to Council, showed them how it is going to work and announced that he had received the balance of project funding from Canadian Heritage.
3.2 Project Update - “Engageons nos citoyens” - Natalie Robichaud, Société acadienne de Clare
Natalie Robichaud of la Société acadienne de Clare presented an update to Council on la Société’s project entitled “Engageons nos citoyens”. This is a project to get the residents of Clare, young and old alike, interested in community engagement and the workings of municipal government. The project will start in the next two weeks and will include workshops, a youth component and a toolkit to promote community engagement. The Municipality of Clare has previously approved $3,000 towards this project, subject to confirmation of project funding. The balance of project funding has since been received from Canadian Heritage.
4) Staff reports
4.1 Financial Report – Ginette Cheff, Director of Finance
The Director of Finance provided an overview of the Municipality’s financial position.
5) Business arising from previous meetings
5.1 Capital Debt Refinancing – Clare Health Centre
The construction of the Clare Health Centre was financed in part by the Municipal Finance Corporation (MFC), in the form of a $2,500,000 debenture amortized over 20 years. Now at the mid-way point, the terms of the debenture call for the Municipality to either refinance the remaining $1,250,000 balance or pay it off entirely via a lump sum payment by October 24, 2018. Council has previously passed a motion to refinance the balance over the remaining 10 years. However, in recent discussions with the MFC, staff was advised that the funds from the refinance would only be available November 9, 2018 or later. To address this funding gap, the Municipality may either secure bridge financing in the amount of $1,250,000 from a chartered bank or credit union or use its own funds from its capital reserve. Staff has reviewed both options. Whereas the Municipality could use internal funds without negatively impacting current debt servicing obligations and in an effort to avoid costly loan administration / set-up fees, the recommendation to Council is to proceed with the provision of $1,250,000 in bridge financing from the Municipality’s capital reserve until such time as the funds from the debenture are received.
PROPOSED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend providing $1,250,000 in bridge financing from its capital reserve to refinance the outstanding capital debt on the Clare Health Centre, until such time as new capital funding in the amount of $1,250,000 is received from the Municipal Finance Corporation as part of the Fall 2018 debenture process.
5.2 “Défis Communautaire Clare” – CDÉNÉ
Following feedback received from members of Council, the three themes being put forward as part of the CDÉNÉ’s “Défis Communautaire Clare” project are:
1. Green Technology / Economy
2. The Sharing Economy
3. Social Infrastructure (including Housing)
5.3 Lobster Cars – Site for Repair and Maintenance
The CAO has been in discussion with the Meteghan Harbour Authority regarding the possibility of storing and repairing lobster cars on the same parcel of land currently housing the Meteghan Waste Water Treatment Plant. In speaking with the Public Works Supervisor, there is enough space on the land for these lobster cars as long as they are not too close to the aforementioned treatment plant, are not directly on the outfall pipe and do not prevent access to the manhole. In-filling would also be required (at the fishermen’s expense) prior to the lobster cars being brought to the site. Councillor Pothier has already spoken with the group of fishermen in question and they have assured him that all cost relating to site improvements to accommodate these lobster cars will be covered by the fishermen. The CAO will continue to move this file forward, in discussion with the Harbour Authority.
6) New business
6.1 Funding Application – Lakeside Cemetery Fund
This item has been deferred to a future meeting to allow for a closed session discussion on a related topic.
6.2 Upcoming CRA Changes to Council Honorariums
Currently, 1/3 of Council honorariums are non-taxable. Effective January 1st, 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency will be implementing changes which will see these honorariums become fully taxable, thus lowering the net pay collected by Council. At present, the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM) is leading the discussion on this subject with more opportunity for dialogue between now and the end of the 2018 calendar year. This notwithstanding, the CRA imposed change is moving forward and as such, individual municipal units must decide prior to January 2019 if they wish to maintain current salary levels or increase said honorariums to compensate for the increase in taxation. Council chose to defer its decision to a later date to allow for further discussion with the NSFM.
6.3 Audit Committee
The Municipal Audit Committee currently meets once or twice a year. The CAO is proposing more frequent meetings and a more active role for the audit committee to include training, auditing of project files and a review of internal controls. Council is fully supportive of this recommendation.
6.4 Resident Concerns – Chemin de la Montagne
Council received a letter from Yvon Comeau and Guy Monbouquette, both residents on Chemin de la Montagne, concerning noise levels, excessive ATV use, and disruptive behaviour. The residents have contacted the RCMP on several occasions only to be told to contact their Councillor. The residents are now reaching out to Council for help. Council has decided to write a letter to the RCMP asking them to patrol Chemin de la Montagne on a more regular basis, as they believe an increased police presence will help control noise levels and discourage disruptive behavior.
6.5 Evaluation of IT infrastructure
The CAO, in discussion with the Director of Finance, is recommending and evaluation of the Municipality’s current IT infrastructure to ensure effective backup systems are in place and that these systems are properly configured and secure. Discussions to this effect were held with the Municipality’s auditors earlier in the year, as part of their audit engagement. Although not a budgeted exercise, the CAO is requesting Council permission to issue and RFP to audit the Municipality current IT infrastructure to address possible shortcomings and more effectively plan for necessary IT investments in the short-term. Council agreed.
7) Questions and comments from the public
8) Closed Session
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to closed session.
8.1 Dangerous and Unsightly
8.3 Transport de Clare
8.4 Endowment Fund
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to the Regular Council Meeting.
9) Date and time of the next Council-in-Committee Meeting
The next Council-in-Committee Meeting will be held on November 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm
PROPOSED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 pm