OPP billing makes big impact on budget, again
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Oct. 26 meeting of Dysart et al council.
By Angelica Ingram
The numbers are in for the impact the new OPP billing model will have on the municipality next year.
For 2016, Dysart is looking at a 31.6 per cent increase over the costs incurred in 2015.
The total cost for 2016 will be $1,889,243, according to municipal treasurer Barbara Swannell. The cost in 2015 was $1,435,050, a difference of $454,193.
“It is a big number but we’ll be looking at another big number next year,” said Swannell.
“For the same service, that’s what hurts,” said Dysart Reeve Murray Fearrey.
The new billing model was changed on Jan. 1 of this year and now charges municipalities a base service level fee and calls for service.
According to Swannell’s report to council, Dysart’s split for 2016 is 70/30.
“All municipalities will pay a base service of $193.08 per property in 2016,” she wrote. “Dysart et al will pay a call for service of $65.23 per property. The estimated calls for service are based on the previous
four year average count (2011 to 2014) vs. the total provincial weighted average. After the 2016 phase-in adjustment, the total OPP cost per property is $237.88. The 2016 property count is 7,942 and based on the 2014 year end property counts for 2015 taxation.”
Next year will mark the second year of the phase-in, with the treasurer expecting Dysart to be fully phased-in by 2018.
Snowmobile association looks for financial support
The Haliburton County Snowmobile Association is looking for funding from area townships. The club’s president Paul Gaudin and communications representative Mark Lester made a delegation to council highlighting the contribution snowmobiling has on local tourism and requesting that financial support, which once existed from municipalities, be revisited.
Lester told councillors the HCSA was one of the oldest snowmobile clubs founded in Ontario, and has now surpassed 2,000 members.
The club grooms all of the area trails, which equals 380 kilometres and totals more than 2,000 paid hours.
The Rail Trail is one of the area’s biggest assets to snowmobiling, said Lester.
“It’s an incomparable asset, when you look at other towns,” he said.
The association would like to work closer with Dysart and has made an appeal to all area municipalities, said Lester.
“Not long ago the HCSA was the recipient of regular, annual support from not only Dysart but other Haliburton County townships as well,” wrote the club in a report to council. “This consistent monetary support was foundational for the HCSA to continue to provide trail improvements annually and helped with the consistent and ongoing need to provide remedial trail work created by a wide variety of motorized users. The HCSA would appreciate Dysart entertaining a reinstatement of annual monetary support of the HCSA and consider it a tangible investment in winter tourism in this township.”
Fearrey said at one time the municipality gave the club $10,000 annually, however that goes back more than a decade.
Public art policy discussed
Dysart is one step closer to adopting a public art policy, following a review of existing policies in other townships.
Presented by cultural resource committee members Jim Blake and Chris Lynd, the in-depth policy produced for Dysart only covers public buildings and places.
The committee members looked at about a dozen communities and took ideas from their policies in place.
“We looked at what would work for here,” said Blake.
The proposed policy states that its purpose is to “provide council, committees of council, staff and the community with a clear, consistent framework for decision making for the management and acquisition of public art. By drawing on the expertise of the cultural resources committee, this policy incorporates a community-based approach that will provide council with advice from knowledgeable professionals.”
The policy looks at decision making for public art in civic spaces, acquiring public art, private art initiatives on public property and managing municipally owned public art collections.
Some councillors thought the document was too restrictive and wanted it to be revisited.
Councillors deferred adopting the policy and will revisit it at the next meeting of council.
Natural gas a no go
After considering a proposal from Northeast Midstream to bring natural gas to the area, council has decided not to enter into a precedent agreement with the company, based on stipulations the company wanted to impose.
Fearrey told councillors he and a representative from Minden Hills had attended a meeting with Enbridge, which does have Haliburton on its radar, he said.
“I think we should wait and see what Enbridge does here,” said the reeve.
Representatives from Northeast Midstream made multiple visits to Dysart council and Minden Hills, with the hopes of entering into a contract with the townships.
New building proposed for former Feed Co. location
A new building to be constructed by Rodco is being proposed for where the former home of the Haliburton Feed Co. was located.
A request to waive site plan control for the re-construction of a building on the corner of Industrial Park Road and Mallard Road was approved by councillors.
The proposed building is slightly larger than the former building, measuring 40 feet by 80 feet, instead of 40 by 60.
The previous building was destroyed by fire last year and according to municipal planner Pat Martin’s report to council, the proposed use is a contractor’s yard and warehouse.
Break out the ugly sweaters
The third annual Ugly Sweater Run will take place this year on Sunday, Nov. 22.
Organized by recreation coordinator Andrea Mueller, the run will start and end at the Haliburton Highlands Museum and will take place at noon.
Funds raised will go towards the Junction Skatepark initiative. Organizers are asking for a minimum donation of $10 per adult.