United Counties Council Meeting highlights

Municipality Matters

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Andrewsville Bridge temporary closure: Counties Council passed a bylaw to provide for an annual temporary road closure to vehicular traffic on the Andrewsville Bridge from December 1 through to March 31.

The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and the County of Lanark are responsible for several bridges along the Rideau Canal, including the Andrewsville Bridge. Lanark County passed a resolution earlier this fall to close of the bridge from December to March.

Constructed in 1915, The Andrewsville Bridge is a single lane, steel structure with a woodplanked driving surface. It is maintained and managed by Lanark County with costs evenly shared between the two counties. An inspection of the bridge found that it requires immediate repairs. The cost will range between $75,000 to $100,000 with Leeds Grenville responsible for half. For more information, contact Counties Director of Public Works Arup Mukherjee at 613342-3840, ext. 2412.

Fire Services RFP:

Council received a staff report and draft Request For Proposal (RFP) to complete a Community Risk Assessment and Fire Services and Program Review. This report was in response to Council’s direction in June for staff to bring back a RFP later in 2018.

The RFP was seeking consultants to prepare a Counties-wide fire risk assessment pursuant to new provincial legislation. The assessment must be completed by July 1, 2024. The work also included a review of the current fire services and programs across the Counties.

Council recognized the value of both the Risk Assessment and the Review, however it was decided to refer the matter to the new Council.

Vacant Property Tax Program: Counties Council has approved a Committee of the Whole recommendation to phase out the Vacant Unit Property Tax Program over a two-year period beginning in 2019 and concluding in 2020.

Earlier this year, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville sought business stakeholder feedback on proposed changes to the Vacant Unit Rebate Program. An online survey was posted on the Counties website.

The stakeholder engagement campaign included input from its 10 member municipalities and local municipal treasurers. There was a general consensus that many of the applications are received from the same property owners over several taxation years and this was not the intent of the program when it was introduced.

The Vacant Unit Rebate Program provides relief for property owners in the commercial and industrial tax classes. The program provides a 30% rebate of taxes for eligible properties in the commercial class and a 35% rebate for eligible industrial class properties.

Beginning in 2017, the province began allowing municipalities flexibilities to tailor programs to local needs. Since then, both upper-tier and single-tier municipalities have requested changes to their programs. Approximately 80% have requested elimination of the program by 2020. For more information, contact Counties Treasurer Pat Huffman at 613-342-3840, ext. 2468.

Upcoming meetings: Committee of the Whole Tuesday, November 6; Joint Services Committee Wednesday, November 7, Special Council (Asset Management Plan), Wednesday, November 14 and regular Counties Council on Thursday, November 22. All regular 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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