United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Council meeting highlights

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Pre-Approval for 2020 Public Works road projects: Counties Council has given prebudget approval to proceed with the tendering of some high-priority 2020 Public Works Capital Projects. Council approved $8.6-million for upcoming road and bridge projects, including rehabilitation on five sections of County Roads and the Lyndhurst Bridge.

Road work will include County Road 44 – Beach Road to Concession.

Council also authorized staff to tender a multi-year contract for the replacement of seven heavy-weight winter maintenance trucks over a three year period. Winter maintenance trucks take longer to assemble. Multi-year contracting ensures assembly and delivery of vehicles to the Counties prior to the winter season each year. There is also cost savings with multi-year contracting. One truck is being replaced in 2020, followed by three in 2021, and three in 2022.

Economic Development Strategy approved: Counties Council has approved six key areas of focus for its Economic Development Office for the next five years. Counties Economic Development Manager, Ann Weir presented a comprehensive report to council outlining the Key Strategic Areas of Focus that builds on its already successful economic development program.

The primary dataset and recommended actions from the recently released Leeds Grenville Business Retention and Expansion Report (BR+E), plus the additional findings from various regional, provincial and federal reports and funding opportunities, were considered when developing the Counties key strategic areas of focus.

Modernization Task Force recommendation approved: Counties Council is agreeing with a Modernization/Shared Services Task Force recommendation to set aside grant money for joint projects within Leeds and Grenville.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced provincial funding allocations to Ontario municipalities with a population of 100,000 or less to “transform service delivery and identifying more modern, efficient ways of operating.”

The Modernization Fund is an unconditional grant and was transferred to municipalities in late March. The Counties, City of Brockville, and Towns of Gananoque and Prescott each received Modernization Fund grant money.

Counties Council appointed the Task Force to examine modernization opportunities between the Counties and the separated municipalities (Brockville, Gananoque and Prescott). The Task Force has recommended the four partners each set aside 50% of their grant money for recommended joint projects/initiatives. Any joint project/initiative would need to come back to the respective councils for approval and any funding needs. The Counties has set aside its allocation ($725,000) for future use. To date, the Counties has allocated $10,000 of the fund to the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus for regional initiatives.

Upcoming meetings: The Committee of the Whole meeting is on Tuesday, January 7; the Joint Services Committee Wednesday, January 8; and the regular Counties Council on Thursday, January 23. Special meetings to discuss the draft 2020 Budget are scheduled for January 14, 22 and 23. All meetings begin at 9 a.m. in the Council Chambers at 25 Central Avenue, Brockville. For more information, contact County Clerk Lesley Todd at 613-342-3840, ext. 2454.

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