COUNCIL BRIEFS: NOVEMBER 3, 2015

Council Briefs-001

In addition to the larger stories, other items go through Thorold City Council and General Committee. Some may be important to someone affected and others are just a little interesting. The following are some of those items:

  • Niagara Regional Police Board Chair and Regional Councillor Bob Gale showed up at Council to ask for support of an amalgamated regional emergency dispatch. He commented that various centres use much the same type of equipment, requiring duplicated equipment and extra manpower to do the same job at greater cost, while they often can’t communicate with each other, a problem in cross-jurisdictional efforts. He claimed better response times and cost savings, although he didn’t state how much for either because he said he didn’t want to seem pushy. Thorold and several other communities are already amalgamated with the St. Catharines dispatch. Council asked the Fire Chief to write a report on the proposal.
  • Councillor Terry Ugulini drew attention to a piece of correspondence wherein the Niagara Catholic District School Board is proposing to dispose of their Richmond street property, in spite of the fact that they wish to apply a development charge to all Thorold Construction for school expansion. This development charge would apply to all construction regardless of which school board the eventual owners will choose to support. Councillor Tim Whelan asked staff to find out how much the Catholic school board wants for the property.
  • Mayor Ted Luciani asked staff for an update of all 2015 capital projects and expectations concerning these projects by the end of the year.
  • In a report which outlined the effects of Regional tax restructuring (largely to lower tax shares for commercial and industrial properties), Chief Financial Officer Mauro pointed out that the cost to Thorold’s residential taxpayers could be as high as 12%, depending upon which of the Region’s plans was adopted. (The Region has the right to set tax ratios for all municipalities in the Region by Ontario legislation.) Council voted unanimously to inform the Region that they support the status quo.
  • Staff asked for a budget overrun of $10, 500 to patch several holes in the roof of the Whyte (Old) Arena as the dripping water from the leaks is drilling holes in the ice surface. Councillor Ugulini suggested they do it right and fix the whole roof, adding the $112,000 bill can be paid without an overrun by using money left over from budgeted work on the New Arena that wasn’t necessary and leave just the section over the change rooms for the new budget. Councillor Paone wanted to just do patch because Council hasn’t yet decided to save the Old Arena and doesn’t want to do the work for nothing. He added that although the money was already budgeted, they were still spending taxpayer money because it could have been savings.
    Councillors Handley and Charron both argued they should get the work done because, although it was true that no final decision had been made, neither could see Council having either the will or the money to tear down the Old Arena and building anew. “Make the tough decision,” said Councillor Handley.In the end, CAO Fabiano suggested that the roof over the change rooms could be done as well with money left over from budgeted work at the Lock 7 Tourism Centre and Council voted to get all the work done, with only Paone dissenting.

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