Council of the Corporation of
The Township of Billings
August 21, 2014
Present: Mayor Austin Hunt, Councillors Sharon Alkenbrack, Sandi Hurcomb, Tom Imrie and Brian Parker.
Staff: Kathy McDonald, Clerk Treasurer
Media: Tom Sasvari
Delegations: Sue Ogrinc, Grandor 1 Subdivision
Members of the General Public
2014-197 Imrie – Parker
BE IT RESOLVED THAT this regular meeting of the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Billings be opened with a quorum present at 7:30 p.m. with Mayor Hunt presiding in the Chair.
2014-198 Parker – Imrie
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the minutes of the August 5, 2014 regular meeting of Council be accepted as presented.
Sue Ogrinc, from Grandor I Subdivision made a presentation to Council regarding the lakeshore road in front of her house.
Councillor Imrie reported on the History Night that the Museum Board hosted on August 14, 2014.
Councillor Imrie reported on a meeting that he had with Mary Nelder, Acting EDO for Lambac regarding the Billings Waterfronts Improvement project.
Mayor Hunt reported on the AMO Conference.
2014-199 Imrie – Parker
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council directs the Clerk Treasurer to engage the services of a brush clearing company, to clear brush from Township roads and remove the brush, cost of said program not to exceed $25,000.
2014-200 Imrie – Parker
WHEREAS in December 2000, the Province of Ontario passed the Continued Protection for Property Taxpayers Act, (Bill 140);
WHEREAS the Continued Protection for Property Taxpayers Act, among other matters exempted certain hydro-electric stations and poles and wires from municipal taxation as of January 1, 2001;
WHEREAS THE Continued Protection for Property Taxpayers Act removed the right and authority of affected municipalities across the Province to levy property tax notice to hydro-electric stations, poles and wires, representing significant taxable property assessment;
WHEREAS the Province of Ontario replaced the above noted rights and authority to tax hydro-electric stations, poles and wires with a compensatory payment, know as the Power Dam Special Payment Program, equivalent to the taxes levied on the subject structures in 2000;
WHEREAS the amount of payments under the Power Dam Special Payment Program were adjusted for the Consumer Price Index in some but not all years, an adjustment which did not keep pace with either changes in municipal taxation rates or costs;
WHEREAS the above noted changes resulted in an unfair shift in taxation to the remaining property assessment base, more specifically to residents and businesses alike;
WHEREAS upon exempting from municipal property taxation, hydro-electric stations, poles and wires that had been subject to such taxation, the Province of Ontario amended the Electricity Act, 1998 requiring the owners of the subject structures to then pay to the Province of Ontario a Gross Revenue Charge (GRC) of three components:
• A property tax component payable to the Minister of Finance
• A property tax component payable to the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation
• A water rental component payable to the Minister of Finance
WHEREAS IN July 2014 the Province introduced Bill 14, Building Opportunity and Securing Our Future Act (Budget Measures) which phases down or decreased the Power Dam Special Payment Program for hydro-electric stations, poles and wires by 23.53% by 2017, starting in 2015.
WHEREAS the reduction in the Power Dam Special Payment Program will result in a reduction of annual revenues for affected municipalities by 2017;
WHEREAS District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSAB’s) that use the proceeds of the Power Dam Special Payment Program as part of their funding formula will also be directly affected, thereby affecting municipalities who do not participate in the Power Dam Special Payment Program;
WHEREAS many municipalities are already struggling as a result of accelerated cuts to the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF), the unknown aspects of a new OPP Billing Model, the elimination of the Connecting Line Program and other cuts;
WHEREAS as a result of reductions in the Power Dam Special Payment Program, affected municipalities may not be able to meet their fiduciary obligations;
WHEREAS the reduction in the Power Dam Special Payment Program is punitive in nature;
WHEREAS the Power Dam Special Payment is very small when compared to the multi-billion dollar annual budget of the Province of Ontario yet the impact of the decreased funding is devastating for affected municipalities;
WHEREAS affected municipalities will have to increase property tax rates to the remaining property assessment base (assessment in some cases which is decreasing) to compensate for the loss of revenue or be forced to significantly compromise municipal services;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Township of Billings request that the Government of the Province of Ontario reverse the decision to decrease funding to the Power Dam Special Payment Program;
FURTHER that the Province of Ontario also be requested to annually increase the amount of funding by the amount of any change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to compensate for the increase in municipal costs;
FURTHER that a copy of the Resolution be sent to the Premier of the Province of Ontario, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, the Minister of Natural Resources, local MPP, the local DSSB, FONOM, NOMA and AMO.
2014-201 Imrie – Parker
WHEREAS Bill 83, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2014, being “An Statutory Powers of Procedure Act in order to protect expression on matters of public interest” (hereinafter “Bill 83”), was introduced into the Provincial Legislature in June 2013;
Whereas Bill 83 was introduced by the government out of concern that Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), being lawsuits brought before the court by one party against another party or individual as a tactic for silencing or intimidating the other party, are having a chilling effect on public participation on contentious matters of public interest in Ontario:
Whereas Bill 83 is intended to protect persons from being subjected to legal proceedings that would stifle their ability to speak out on public issues or promote, in the public interest, action by the public or any level of government;
Whereas the ability to engage in public participation forums is the foundation of a democratic society;
Whereas Council is of the Opinion that public participation in matters of public interest ought to be encouraged and not discouraged through tactics such as strategic lawsuits against public participation;
Whereas provision is made in Bill 83 to amend the Courts of Justice Act for such SLAPP legal proceedings to be dismissed at an early stage and for defendants subjected to such proceedings to be indemnified for incurred costs in such proceedings with the potential for additional damages to be awarded in appropriate circumstances;
Whereas provision is made in Bill 83 to amend the Libel and Slander Act to state that any qualified privilege that applies in respect of an oral or written communication on a matter of public interest between two or more persons who have a direct interest in the matter applies regardless of whether the communication is witnessed or reported by media representatives or other persons;
Whereas provision is made in Bill 83 o amend the Statutory Powers Procedure Act to provide that submissions for a costs order in a proceeding must be made in writing, unless the tribunal determines that to do so is likely to cause a part to the proceedings significant prejudice.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the Township of Billings advises the newly elected premier of the Province of Ontario, the Honorable Kathleen Wynne, Manitoulin MP’s and MPP’s, Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) and The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) of its support for the Protection of Public participation Act, 2014 and request that Bill 83 be re-introduced forthwith in the Legislature.
2014-202 Parker – Imrie
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council appoints, as Council Representative, Councillor Sharon Alkenbrack to the Recreation Committee and Councillor Sharon Alkenbrack to the Park Centre Advisory Committee.
2014-203 Imrie – Alkenbrack
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council supports, in principle, 4elements Fall 2014 project to bring children and adults onto the trails and create designs for two sculptures,
AND FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED that Council supports, in principle, the 4elements new applications to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council.
2014-204 Imrie – Alkenbrack
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Township agrees to pay the registration and expenses for Chris Cyr to attend the Snow School for Mechanics training on September 29, 2014.
2014-205 Imrie – Parker
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council has no objection to the use of Garlon 4 RTU by Hydro One in accordance with manufactures directions and government standards.
2014-206 Imrie – Parker
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council directs the Clerk Treasurer to purchase a Rules for the Dog Park Sign with the wording as per the sample provided, size approximately 36 inches by 24 inches, said sign to be posted in a visible location.
2014-207 Hurcomb – Alkenbrack
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council instruct the Public Works Superintendent to investigate ways to stop the flooding in front of the Public Washrooms.
2014-208 Alkenbrack – Hurcomb
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council authorizes the following accounts for payment:
General Accounts $54,259.78
Water Capital Account $22,104.24
and that the Mayor and Treasurer be authorized to sign cheques number 2403 to 2451 and 0071 as described in the attached register.
2014-209 Hurcomb – Alkenbrack
BE IT RESOLVED THAT in accordance with Section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001 S.O. Chapter 25, this Council proceed to a Closed Session at 9:15 p.m. in order to discuss matters pertaining to labour relations or employee negotiations.
2014-210 Alkenbrack – Hurcomb
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council adjourn from this in camera meeting at 9:35 p.m. and resume our regular meeting.
2014-211 Parker – Imrie
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council approves a pay increase of seventy-five cents per hour for Chris Cyr, effective September 20, 2014.
2014-212 Hurcomb – Alkenbrack
BE IT RESOLVED THAT By-Law 2014-30, being a by-law to confirm the proceedings of Council be given first, second and third reading and enacted.
2014-213 Alkenbrack – Hurcomb
BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council adjourns from this regular meeting of Council at 9:47 p.m. until our next regular meeting of September 2, 2014 or Call of the Chair.
Austin Hunt, Mayor Kathy McDonald, Clerk Treasurer
These minutes have been prepared but are not considered official until approved by Council at a subsequent meeting.