The Municipality of North Grenville Council met three times on three consecutive nights last week, filling the week up with an unusually large amount of business. Part of this was owing to the fact that the community grant presentations were heard by Council, as they are at this time of year annually. In total, Council spent many hours meeting last week over the course of the three meetings.
The first of the three meetings took place on February 7, covering what would be considered “routine” business. A presentation was heard on Wear Red Day, and by-law amendments and other operational business were discussed. Of note is that Council directed staff to develop a policy that grants Council members up to $500 from the Council budget for a legal consultation when they are the subject of an Integrity Commissioner complaint, and up to $5,000 for lawyer fees if they are found to not have been in contravention of the Code of Ethical Conduct. Also of note is that Karen Dunlop was appointed as a Deputy Clerk for the Municipality.
The community grant presentations are a yearly staple in North Grenville. Presentations were heard at a meeting on February 8 from the Kemptville Minor Football Club, the North Grenville Arts Guild, the Sweetheart Brunch, the Kemptville Street Piano Concert Series, Beyond the Label, the Workshop Dance Studio Local CPR/AED Certifications, the North Grenville Male Choir, Kemptville Oktoberfest Annual Community Tourist Event, Kemptville Community Gardeners, Kemptville Winter Trail, the Eastern Ontario Quilt Documentation Project, and O’Farrell Financial Services.
The presentations were varied in what they asked for and the reasons for seeking grant money. For example, when Jean LeClair presented on behalf of the Sweetheart Brunch, he asked not for cash, but for a fee waiver for the rental of the municipal facility for the event. Some requests came from established local groups, and others were for startup ideas. Unlike last year, the Community Grant Presentations concluded in a single meeting.
The following day, on February 9, an equally important meeting took place which primarily focused on the Municipality’s 2023 draft budget after a closed session regarding land negotiations. The draft budget was presented by Femi Ogunrinde, the Municipality’s Chief Financial Officer.
Some highlights from various departments on municipal spending in 2022 were presented, as well as the goals for the 2023 budget. These goals include continuing service improvement, continuing modernization, and improving planning. In order to balance the proposed 2023 budget, a tax increase of 3.87% would be required. Due to a proposed tax increase by the upper tier Counties Council as well, the effective increase would actually be 5.39%. This would result in a tax increase of about $245 for the year for an average local household. As this is only a draft budget, all tenets of the budget will have to be formally considered before Council passes the budget. The full slideshow presentation with all of the actual draft budget numbers can be accessed through the Municipality’s website.
After the busy week last week, Council met only once this week, which is more typical. Council meetings take place on a pre-determined schedule, with video recordings of each meeting being posted on the Municipality of North Grenville YouTube Channel. Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/NorthGrenville to watch.