Full steam ahead for Nor­folk

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - MONTE SON­NEN­BERG

Nor­folk County coun­cil re­turns to reg­u­larly sched­uled pro­gram­ming Dec. 4.

That’s the day the new coun­cil elected Oct. 22 is sworn in.

The new coun­cil’s first com­mit­tee meet­ing fol­lows a week later on Tues­day, Dec. 11. This will be fol­lowed by the fi­nal coun­cil meet­ing of 2018 on Tues­day, Dec. 18.

Nor­folk coun­cil has not met on a reg­u­lar ba­sis since early June. The cur­rent coun­cil has been lame-duck since the end of July af­ter a third of in­cum­bent mem­bers de­clined to de­fend their seats.

An­other four in­cum­bents were de­feated in last month’s elec­tion, in­clud­ing lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal vet­eran and mayor Char­lie Luke, of Sim­coe.

Nor­folk staff was asked Mon­day whether now is an op­por­tune time to im­ple­ment some sched­ul­ing changes that have been talked about in re­cent months.

Since he was taken on last year, CAO David Cribbs has pointed out that coun­cil meet­ings are ex­pen­sive and oc­cur more fre­quently in Nor­folk than they do in other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Nor­folk coun­cil has also ex­per­i­mented over the past year with an early-af­ter­noon start as a means of com­plet­ing meet­ings around 9 p.m.

De­spite all this, clerk Andy Grozelle says coun­cil will stick with the four-meet­ing per month for­mat at least till the end of next sum­mer. Grozelle says a num­ber of im­por­tant is­sues have backed up since June that will re­quire the new coun­cil’s at­ten­tion.

There is also an in­ten­sive bud­get ses­sion to trans­act in Jan­uary that in the past - has taken up a week of coun­cil’s time.

“We cer­tainly wouldn’t be op­posed to re­duc­ing meet­ing fre­quency,” Grozelle said Mon­day in an email.

“With the cur­rent coun­cil’s lame-duck sta­tus though there are a lot of re­ports to come for­ward in De­cem­ber, Jan­uary and early Fe­bru­ary. We also have a bud­get and a lot of ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions planned.

“As a re­sult, I don’t think staff would bring op­tions on chang­ing meet­ing times or fre­quen­cies for the first cou­ple months. The in­com­ing coun­cil may cer­tainly di­rect im­me­di­ate changes. How­ever, my gen­eral ex­pe­ri­ence is that they likely will just get caught up in the big is­sues for the next few months.”

Grozelle adds that coun­cil’s meet­ing sched­ule has been set and ap­proved through next Au­gust.

Soon af­ter Cribbs took over as CAO in 2017, he sug­gested that coun­cil mem­bers stick to the agenda and keep their com­ments rel­e­vant to the mo­tions on the ta­ble.

With a full com­ple­ment of se­nior staff in the coun­cil cham­ber at Gov­er­nor Sim­coe Square, Cribbs pointed out that each hour of coun­cil costs the tax­payer about $3,600.

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