Notes from Coun­cil (Oct. 29)

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Opinion -

Fi­nan­cial state­ment of

cur­rent coun­cil Pre­sented by Ron Burt of Takalo & Burt, con­sol­i­dated state­ments high­lighted the fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the Town of Goderich and Man­age­ment.

The au­di­tors re­port was a clean opin­ion of the records kept in ac­cor­dance with ac­count­ing stan­dards for pub­lic sec­tor.

Of the con­sol­i­dated state­ments dis­cussed at coun­cil, as­sets such as Goderich Port Corp., Mid-Huron Land­fill Site and Goderich Hy­dro were high­lighted.

Burt ex­plained to coun­cil and staff that the all li­a­bil­i­ties have been paid on a timely ba­sis.

“You have re­serves and re­serve funds of $26M and then an op­er­at­ing sur­plus of $11M of which some it tied up in Goderich Hy­dro, some in other ar­eas – it’s not all avail­able for use,” Burt ex­plained. He fur­thered that as far as the fi­nan­cial state­ment of the Town, there were sig­nif­i­cant as­sets in sur­plus. In ad­di­tion, Burt made com­ment that the Town was do­ing a “rea­son­ably good job of try­ing to match” the As­set Man­age­ment Plan.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, records are in ex­cel­lent shape. Staff is well­trained and they know their needs of what is re­quired; they do records prop­erly,” Burt added. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port made by Burt, there is no di­rect debt. There may be re­serve funds that as­sets are tied to, but there are no debts be­tween funds and the Town is not go­ing out­side to bor­row.

In a time of change of lead­er­ship, Deputy-Mayor Don­nelly made a point to re­quest Burt to be im­plicit of his state­ment on the fi­nan­cial man­age­ment from the last four years. “I gath­ered from your re­marks that our per­son­nel are com­pe­tent, our pro­ce­dures are proper and ef­fec­tive, that we are in rea­son­ably good fi­nan­cial shape, and our net is some­where near $3M,” Don­nelly said.

“It’s im­plicit from what you have said that you didn’t de­tect any signs that would war­rant fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion or cre­ate sus­pi­cion or cause worry about leaks or mis­man­age­ment.”

Burt replied to Don­nelly, mak­ing it im­plic­itly clear that from a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive, there has been no debt in this Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

He added that the Town is run very well fi­nan­cially and are do­ing well in try­ing to make user fees pay for user fee things, such as wa­ter and sewage. Lead­er­ship will change in a few weeks and be­fore a new coun­cil takes over, cur­rent Deputy-Mayor Don­nelly wanted to in­form the res­i­dents that they are leav­ing their po­si­tions with a town that is debt-free.

“To con­tinue that thought, may this ad­min­is­tra­tion be turfed out of of­fice with the pub­lic re­al­iz­ing that it’s been a well-run or­ga­ni­za­tion in its life­time,” Don­nelly con­cluded. Huron County Do­mes­tic As­sault Re­view Team (DART) asks coun­cil to rec­og­nize Dec. 6 as a day of ac­tion against vi­o­lence against women

As the Chair of the Do­mes­tic As­sault Re­view Team (DART), Teresa Don­nelly came with a re­quest for coun­cil. Don­nelly who is also the WestRe­gion Sex­ual Vi­o­lence Crown at the Min­istry of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral and the Crown At­tor­ney in Huron County, her re­quest re­lates to vi­o­lence against women.

DART’s re­quest re­lates to the na­tional day of ac­tion and re­mem­brance with re­spect to vi­o­lence against women and girls.

“I’m here to­day be­cause on Dec.6 of 1989 a man walked into a col­lege in Que­bec. He sep­a­rated the men from the women – he put the men on the right hand side and put the women on the left hand side of the room, and he ex­e­cuted 14 women,” Don­nelly stated.

“He did that be­cause they were women.”

Since 1991 the Par­lia­ment of Canada es­tab­lished a na­tional day to mark the mur­ders of those 14 women. Dec. 6 is the day to com­mem­o­rate the mur­der of those 14 women, and it re­flects on the phe­nom­e­non of vi­o­lence against women in our so­ci­ety.

Hav­ing al­ready ap­proached County Coun­cil for their sup­port, DART also re­quested Goderich Town Coun­cil to lower the flags to half-mast on Dec. 6. “We are plan­ning a cer­e­mony at 10am at Court­house Park. We have an event planned for 7pm at night, of a screen­ing of a doc­u­men­tary film called ‘A Bet­ter Man,’” Don­nelly said. “We are also re­quest­ing that the Mayor at­tend the 10am cer­e­mony in Court­house Park. I will tell you that what we are ask­ing of you in re­la­tion to Dec. 6 is part of our work with re­spect to the 16 days of ac­tivism to end vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.”

The 16 days of ac­tivism, sup­ported by the United Na­tions, starts on Nov. 25. It is an in­ter­na­tional cam­paign for the elim­i­na­tion of vi­o­lence against women. The 16 days of ac­tivism runs un­til Dec. 10, Hu­man Rights Day. “The rea­son we ask you to re­flect is that we all play a role in end­ing vi­o­lence against women and girls. Vi­o­lence against women dis­crim­i­nates against women, it’s a vi­o­la­tion of their char­ter right to equal­ity and to their right to hu­man dig­nity,” said Don­nelly.

“As the Chair of Huron DART, I stand be­fore [Goderich] Coun­cil and ask that they lower the flag to half mast on Dec. 6. We also ask that the Mayor at­tend and par­tic­i­pate in our cer­e­mony.”

As part of DART’s cam­paign, they also re­quested that ban­ners be placed in pub­lic spa­ces such as Town Hall. Coun­cil­lor Michele Hansen who was the co­founder and driv­ing force be­hind the im­ple­men­ta­tion of DART in Huron County in 1992 re­quested to be the per­son to make the mo­tion to sup­port the re­quests made by Don­nelly.

DART’s sched­ule of events for Dec. 6 apart from the flags at half-mast in­clude an out-door cer­e­mony at Court­house Park start­ing at 10am.

High­lights of the event will in­clude song, re­marks by lo­cal politi­cians in­clud­ing the Mayor of Goderich, and the nam­ing of the 14 women spo­ken aloud.

In the evening of Dec. 6 at the Huron County Mu­seum Theater, there will be a doc­u­men­tary screen­ing of ‘A Bet­ter Man’ at 7pm.

A dif­fer­ent model for recre­ation Gen­eral Man­ager An­neMarie Thom­son pro­vided coun­cil with an op­er­a­tional up­date for the track us­age and fees at the Mait­land Recre­ation Cen­tre.

“My in­tent is to pro­vide you with some his­tory, some ra­tio­nale and some of the con­sid­er­a­tions to ad­dress the is­sues that have been raised re­gard­ing the track and the ice sur­face at the Mait­land Recre­ation Cen­tre,” said Thom­son.

“Our com­mu­nity and pre­vi­ous coun­cil worked with the YMCA to de­ter­mine the best busi­ness model to pro­vide recre­ation ser­vices to the com­mu­nity.” Ac­cord­ing to Thom­son it was de­ter­mined in 2004 that track ac­cess be in­cluded in the mem­ber­ship area of the fa­cil­ity. Cur­rently, to ac­cess the track on all days but Fri­day morn­ings, users must be mem­bers of the YMCA or pay the day-use fees. A day pass al­lows users full ac­cess to the fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing classes. Coun­cil raised con­cerns over the cost of us­ing the track on a day-pass, while other fa­cil­i­ties in the area such as the track in Clin­ton, can be used with­out a cost. The YMCA does not op­er­ate the track in Clin­ton, but rather just the fit­ness cen­tre. Thom­son ex­plained that it was de­cided that mem­ber­ship is the YMCA’s best value. At $52 a month, for an adult par­tic­i­pat­ing twice a week, the fee breaks out to $6 a visit or for three times a week, $4 a visit. YMCA day pass rates are com­pet­i­tive and com­pa­ra­ble to other fa­cil­i­ties in the area. For an adult the cost of a day pass is $11.50 + HST ($13 to­tal). This in­cludes full use of the fa­cil­ity. Thom­son added that the YMCA, “con­tin­ues to of­fer free ac­cess to the track on Fri­days and are in­tro­duc­ing a brand-new walk­ing pro­gram on Tues­days.” Coun­cil­lors voiced their con­cerns on the price of a day pass, sug­gest­ing the us­age of the track be free. As this could bring man­age­ment and op­er­a­tional chal­lenges, Thom­son said they were will­ing to dis­cuss ideas. Some chal­lenges Thom­son spoke on that could come about if the track was free to use in­cluded know­ing where to draw the line. “I un­der­stand the op­er­a­tion part of it, be­cause you are con­cerned with peo­ple just hav­ing a walk­ing track mem­ber­ship and that they might use the weight room fa­cil­ity,” said Coun­cil­lor Bazinet.

“We need to look af­ter our se­niors as well. $13 is a lot of money. I don’t ex­pect the YMCA to not charge any­thing at all, but if we could get the $13 fee down. Peo­ple just want to spend a lit­tle money, get some safe ex­er­cise and be on their way for the rest of the day.” Thom­son, speak­ing on be­half of the board of man­age­ment and the YMCA stated that “any­thing is pos­si­ble” and they were will­ing to dis­cuss dif­fer­ent ac­cess mod­els.

She went on to say that the day pass fee is in line with us­ing the YMCA once a week.

“If you’re go­ing to come more than once a week, your greater value is to par­tic­i­pate as a mem­ber.”

The YMCA has over­come ob­sta­cles for po­ten­tial users to join such as elim­i­nat­ing the join­ing fee, re­mov­ing the can­cel­la­tion fee, abil­ity to go on hold seam­less, and of­fer­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. Cur­rently the YMCA of­fers Fri­days from 10am un­til 12pm for us­age of the track.

“The spirit of this dis­cus­sion is why that Fri­day pro­gram was in­tro­duced. We rec­og­nized that we make some free ac­cess,” added Thom­son. “We can cer­tainly have con­ver­sa­tions, and the board [of man­age­ment] would be where I would go back to, to look at what else, in ad­di­tion to the Fri­day, we could do.” Coun­cil mem­bers con­curred that the track should be of­fered at a lesser fee or for free to en­sure the well­be­ing, health and safety of se­niors in the com­mu­nity.

If the model changes at the YMCA, the in­com­ing-coun­cil will be deal­ing with changes to the con­tract-agree­ment. A mo­tion was made to in­di­cate that coun­cil still ex­presses con­cerns re­gard­ing the fee for the walk­ing track and that al­ter­na­tives be con­sid­ered in the fu­ture. Mayor’s Re­marks and

Coun­cil­lor Is­sues Mayor Mor­ri­son was brief in his state­ments to coun­cil, staff and the com­mu­nity at last coun­cil meet­ing. Mor­ri­son con­grat­u­lated those who will be sworn in as a new coun­cil and thanked oth­ers for putting their names for­ward in the most re­cent elec­tion.

“As we said in the last meet­ing, we knew there would be a few changes and there have been. It’s been a true plea­sure work­ing with you folks. I do want to thank the team here at Town Hall dur­ing the elec­tion. It’s great be­cause we did have a ma­jor change with this elec­tion with how peo­ple voted and the turn out was a sub­stan­tial in­crease, which was great to see,” Mor­ri­son said. “Thank you to all those in­volved. I didn’t want your ef­forts to go un­no­ticed.” In ad­di­tion Deputy-Mayor Don­nelly, who doesn’t speak up as con­sis­tently as oth­ers, but when he does it is usu­ally of sub­stance, spoke on the last four years and the lead­er­ship of Mayor Mor­ri­son. “Mr. Mayor, I try not to speak too of­ten, but there are times when I feel an obli­ga­tion. Not on my part, but on be­half of the peo­ple of town,” Don­nelly said.

He spoke on be­half of the town for which Mayor Mor­ri­son “laboured for eight years and specif­i­cally four years as Mayor.”

In that time, Don­nelly men­tioned the ac­com­plish­ments and progress made un­der Mor­ri­son’s lead­er­ship. Items such as tak­ing over and de­vel­op­ing the Vic­to­ria Pub­lic School prop­erty, eco­nomic devel­op­ment, Ag Park Re­vi­tal­iza­tion were among some of the high­lights.

Don­nelly men­tioned the per­sonal sac­ri­fices that are made when one takes of­fice of Mayor, and in his opin­ion, Mayor Mor­ri­son showed up, did it well and re­peat­edly.

“”You cre­ated a change in the at­mos­phere in the coun­cil cham­bers. Not only for the par­tic­i­pants on the coun­cil, but also for the mem­bers of the pub­lic who now can come here with the feel­ing that they are wel­come and will be heard and lis­tened to, that we are here to help them. In all of those ar­eas, you have ex­celled,“Don­nelly con­tin­ued.

The only area that Mor­ri­son didn’t ex­cel in ac­cord­ing to Don­nelly, is what hap­pens to ev­ery politi­cian at some point in their ca­reer – get­ting it in the neck from the vot­ers.

“When I was a young man, Churchill won the war. First elec­tion af­ter the war, Churchill is out. So, it’s no sign of the qual­ity of the per­son, be­cause there weren’t bet­ter peo­ple in the world like that,” Don­nelly added.

“It’s a sign of the vot­ers, and some­times they are right and some­times they’re not.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.