Council appoints new treasurer
Council appointed a new Treasurer for the Village of Merrickville-Wolford at the council meeting on April 9. Kirsten Rahm will be the municipality’s new Treasurer, starting April 23. With a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree from McMaster University and a Business Accounting Diploma from Algonquin College, Kirsten is equipped to provide financial oversight and leadership to the Village. She will be leaving a thirteen- year career with the Municipality of North Grenville, the last two of which she was the Deputy Treasurer for the municipality. Kirsten has experience with budgeting, audits, asset management, and working with a senior management team. “We are pleased to welcome Kirsten to the employ of the Village as the Manager of Finance/Treasurer,” said Mayor David Nash. “This is a key management position and will help up plan for our fiscal challenges.”
Since the departure of the former Treasurer, the Village has been relying on interim help from several different people. The appointment of a permanent, full time Treasurer will allow the Village to move forward in closing out the 2017 books. “I welcome the chance to use my skill set in helping Merrickville-Wolford council, staff, and the community respond to municipal fiscal opportunities,” Kirsten says.
Council makes decision about grader
Council has directed staff to take the necessary steps to replace the engine in the Municipality’s grader, at an estimated cost of $87,671. This is following a report presented to council by Manager of Public Works, Dave Powers, which outlined all the possible options for looking after grading in the municipality. The idea of selling the grader and contracting out the work was brought up at a previous council meeting. However, after further investigation, it was found that this would cost the municipality $88,000 per year, which is much more expensive than a single payment of $87,671 for a new engine. They are also able to trade in the current engine for a maximum rebate of $35,859, leaving the net cost at $51,812.
“We need to take our time and do it right,” said Councillor Stephen Ireland at the meeting. That being said, Dave Powers was adamant that the sooner council made a decision, the better, as the grader is a valuable asset that is sitting in a facility incurring storage costs, while contractors are being paid to do the necessary grading in the Municipality. “The total to date for the hire is $7,500,” the report outlined. “We will soon be at a time where the VMG should be at its busiest.”
With this in mind, council made the decision to go ahead with the purchase of a refurbished engine (with a warranty) and have it installed by the lowest bidder. Councillor David Snowdon said he found a cheaper engine in Regina, and asked that staff look into it before they make a final decision. It is expected by council that staff will make the most cost-effective decision when it comes to the replacement of the grader’s engine, and the cost incurred will not rise above the $81,671 outlined in the report.
Questions about why a used grader with engine issues and no warranty was purchased in the first place are still floating around the municipality. Resident Ivan Wood stood up during the public question period and asked that council investigate the process in which the grader was purchased. “Was due diligence done?” he asked.
Council re-considers military re-enactment
Council reconsidered their decision not to host a WW2 military re-enactment in the Village over the May long weekend. The re-enactment is normally part of the Tulip Festival in Ottawa, to celebrate the liberation of Holland. However, construction on the grounds meant that space was needed elsewhere this year. With its rich history, the organizers thought that Merrickville would be a great place to offer this opportunity to kick off the Municipality’s 2018 tourist season.
Council was asked to reconsider their decision not to have the military re-enactment in Merrickville by organizers Mike Calnan and Captain Terry Hunter, who made their case in a presentation to council. They described what the day would look like, and stressed their goal of education and creating living history. “I know this group, and have seen the tasteful way that they portray an important part in our history,” said Merrickville-Wolford resident David Luxton at the meeting.
Mike told council that they would be very willing to work alongside any other events that are happening that weekend in the Village, and they hope to bring as much business to the local merchants as possible, including feeding all the volunteers through local restaurants. Although not every council member was on board with the event, it passed due to majority vote. Councillor Victor Suthren, who spoke against the re-enactment at the last meeting, and believes it glorified war and wouldn’t show what wartime was like in real life, had no comment.