council

Candidate profiles – all in one place!

 

Here is a listing off all the candidate profiles that have been published by the River Town Times. All have been posted both in print and online.

We have gathered them into one post so that, should people want to review a specific candidate, it makes it easier to find.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

 

MAYOR

Aldo DiCarlo

Glenn Swinton

 

DEPUTY MAYOR

Rick Fryer

Leo Meloche

Diane Pouget

Bob Rozankovic

COUNCILLOR

Frank Cleminson

Peter Courtney

Pauline Gemmell

Elizabeth (Libby) Keenan

Jason Lavigne

Lena Lazanja

Donald McArthur

John Menna

Gregory Moore

Michael Prue

Marc Renaud

Patricia Simone

Ron Sutherland

Lori Wightman

 

The River Town Times is also running a web poll in order to gauge where the community is leaning with regards to the Oct. 22 municipal election. While the poll is unscientific, we hope it will lend an idea as to what the public is thinking. The link to the poll can be found at this link.

Essex County budget calls for 1.54% tax increase

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The 2018 budget has been approved by Essex County council unanimously and it comes with a 1.54 per cent tax increase.

“I think it’s great news for the county,” said County of Essex Warden Tom Bain. “I think it just shows the work that’s been done in the last 10, 15 years that we’ve gotten ourselves at a point now where we have an excellent base as far as reserves are concerned and we are able to meet any needs that come along, as far as infrastructure goes. I’m really pleased with that small increase.”

The 1.54 per cent translates into a $14.46 increase on a home valued at $200,000.

The total county operating budget requirements have increased to $95,645,480. There is a $600,000 increase in the county’s commitment to the new Windsor-Essex Hospital System levy, which will be a repeating trend until 2025. The municipal contribution is $200 million over 10 years, with the county contribution being $90-$95 million.

Other highlights of the budget include a 1.5 per cent levy increase for capital project funding valued at $1,345,500, an incremental increase to rehabilitation program valued at $420,000, an incremental increase to the CWATS program valued at $100,000 and the Civic Centre acquisition and equipment and machinery amortization valued at $350,000. For county construction, the 2018 budget also highlights a total expenditure level of $35,793,090. As for county maintenance, some of the highlights include the program to replace the HPS lighting with LED, five bridge repairs and small culvert replacements, and the continued focus on upgrading line painting, CWATS maintenance and roadside operations. The county has also made the commitment to a $2.8 million equipment acquisition, which includes two tandem dump trucks, a 1.5 tom dump truck, three pick ups, a tractor with a lawn mower, a tandem truck hoist and a mini excavator.

“When it comes to increases, my favorite question is ‘why do you want to raise taxes?’” explained Amherstburg mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “We don’t want to raise taxes. We have to raise taxes to compensate for our costs, the same as everyone else. It is an increase but I think it’s a very reasonable increase, right in line with the cost of living.”

The Essex County Library board also brought forth some changes in their budget. They were approved for an increase from $4,829,090 in 2017, to $5,222,210 projected for 2018, an 8.1 per cent increase. Some of the reasoning for their increase included legal fees and administrative office budget overages in the 2017 year due to the work disruption, and looking to programming and outreach changes and wage and benefit increases in 2018.

All matters discussed during the county council meeting Dec. 6 were approved, including approving the corporate reserve strategy plan to transfer $2 million from the rate stabilization reserve to the capital reserve, which was a matter deferred from council Sept. 6.

The 2018 budget for the Essex-Windsor EMS, which included a matter that was also deferred Nov. 1 involving the development of a master plan and enhancing their response times, was also approved.

“When you get to this level, I think everything is a little more clear, the numbers are tight, and I would say administration does a pretty good job of laying out exactly what is required which leaves not a whole lot of questions,” said DiCarlo. “I can’t imagine what you would disagree with because it’s so focused on roads and services and so when you break it all down, it’s very accountable.”

Essex County council’s remuneration for 2015 released

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As is required by the Municipal Act, the remuneration for the members of Essex County council has been released publicly.

The two representatives from Amherstburg come out on the low end of the spectrum, ranking twelfth and thirteenth out of the 14 members of Essex County council. Each member of county council earns a salary of $8,981.40 with the exceptions being Warden Tom Bain, who earns a salary of $64,958.16 and Deputy Warden Ken Antaya, who earns a salary of $10,919.88.

Any additional remuneration comes in the form of mileage, indemnities and conference expenditures.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale’s total remuneration for 2015 amounted to $11,106.11, twelfth out of the 14 members. In addition to his salary, he had a total of $960.48 for indemnities and claimed $1,164.23 in mileage.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo ranked thirteenth of the 14 members, with a total remuneration of $10,368.15. DiCarlo’s indemnities were $747.04 while his mileage amounted to $639.71.

Neither DiCarlo and DiPasquale were listed as billing any conference expenditures to the county.

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Bain ranked the highest out of the 14 members. His overall remuneration was $85,192.24 with the $64,958.16 salary comprising most of that. Bain, the mayor of Lakeshore, also had $747.04 in indemnities and $5,053.91 in mileage. The rest was comprised in conference-related and association meeting expenditures.

The second highest remuneration total was attributed to Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald. MacDonald’s overall total was $16,614.74 with her indemnities listed at $1,919.72 and mileage at $836.76. The rest of her remuneration involved conference per diems and expenses.

Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche had the third highest total, with his total remuneration being $16,442.32. In addition to his salary, he had $2,624.35 in indemnities and $395.91 with the remained being conference-related expenditures.

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos’ total remuneration was $15,887.78, with indemnities of $1,810.52 and mileage of $1,041.70. The rest of his remuneration was attributed to conference expenses.

Tecumseh Deputy Mayor Joe Bachetti had a total remuneration figure of $14,520.29 with his indemnities totaling $1,494.08 and mileage totaling $485.21. The rest of his remuneration related to conferences.

Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio’s total remuneration ranked sixth out of 14 with his overall remuneration being $13,789.58. Fazio’s indemnities were $426.88 while his mileage was $768.68. Conference-related expenditures amounted for the remainder of his remuneration.

In the middle of the pack was Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, whose total remuneration was $13,434.93. His indemnities totaled $4,055.36 while his mileage was $398.17.

In eighth position was Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen, whose total remuneration was $13,226.16. His indemnities and mileage totaled $2,614.64 and $633.30 respectively with conference-related per diems and expenses comprising the rest.

Leamington Mayor John Paterson’s total was $12,710, with his remuneration totaling zero and his mileage being $675.36. The rest of his overall total dealt with conference expenditures.

Antaya, the mayor of LaSalle, saw his overall total amount to $12,396.86. In addition to his $10,919.88 salary, his other totals were $960.48 for indemnities and $516.50 for mileage. LaSalle Deputy Mayor Marc Bondy was eleventh out of 14 county council members, with his remuneration being $12,094.19. He didn’t have any indemnities listed with $546.51 claimed in mileage. The remainder was conference-related totals.

The county council member with the lowest remuneration reported was Essex Mayor Ron McDermott. McDermott’s total was $10,326.03 with his indemnity total being $1,280.65 and $63.98 listed as his mileage total.

The totals listed are for their roles on Essex County council only and do not include any salary or expenses earned on their respective municipal councils.

Application for ground billboards stalled as council awaits sign bylaw

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A request to have ground billboards installed in Amherstburg has been stalled as the town awaits its updated sign bylaw.

David McLarty of DB Media came before council at its most recent regular meeting seeking permission to install six billboards within the town, four of which would be in farmer’s fields. He said his company has done business in other municipalities in Essex County and is looking to bring his business into Amherstburg.

“We want to get into the fields before farmers get to work,” McLarty told town council.

Manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli told town council there is no current provision in the town’s sign bylaw that would allow for billboards but council has the authority to provide an exemption.

Councillor Diane Pouget said the previous council was “very, very concerned” with the amount of offsite signage that is already in town and wanted to know why an updated sign bylaw still hasn’t been before council.

“This sign bylaw has been in the works for over two years,” she said.

A ground billboard stands along Walker Road, on the Essex side. A request to install similar style  signage in Amherstburg did not move forward at the most recent meeting of council as town council members await the new sign bylaw.

A ground billboard stands along Walker Road, on the Essex side. A request to install similar style
signage in Amherstburg did not move forward at the most recent meeting of council as town council members await the new sign bylaw.

Pouget called it “absolutely ludicrous” that a meeting has been held with stakeholders and not with the general public.

Rubli noted that many consultations have gone into the bylaw including with provincial agencies.

Councillor Rick Fryer said he would like to see signage centralized, suggesting LED signage either at town hall or near the library. Signage seen throughout town “doesn’t make the town look very good at all,” he believed.

Pouget urged council not to provide an exemption for McLarty’s request until a new sign bylaw is before council and public input is allowed for. A time frame of six months to one year was provided before council is expected to see an updated sign bylaw.

McLarty’s delegation was simply received by council.

A motion asking administration bring back a report on ground billboards was defeated. Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and councillors Fryer and Leo Meloche were in favour with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and councillors Pouget and Jason Lavigne opposed. Procedurally, the motion was lost on a tie vote.

Councillor Joan Courtney was absent from the meeting.

County considering debt to pay for mega-hospital share

 

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By Ron Giofu
Essex County and the City of Windsor have agreed to cough up $200 million towards the new mega-hospital with the county considering going back into debt to pay for its share.

While a final cost isn’t etched in stone, the county is estimating its share of the cost at $90 million based on the population split between the county and the city. While $50 million could be raised by 2027, the remainder would likely have to be financed via debt.

Essex County currently has no long-term debt.

Director of corporate services/treasurer Rob Maisonville noted that $90 million is “way beyond” any other project that the county has taken on and that it is “a big number for the county to absorb.”

The county already set aside $340,000 in its 2015 budget and agreed to transfer $1 million from its rate stabilization reserve. Administration will be asking county council for $760,000 in the 2016 budget and $450,000 per year from 2017-27.

Maisonville said if they proceed at a “minimal amount” or half of one per cent of the levy, he predicts the county can raise at least $50 million of the $90 million required. While debt is not the preferable option, he emphasized the $90 million is a lot for the county so they may have to finance the rest through debt.

“There is a gap,” he acknowledged.

The new hospital system would include the new ten-storey acute care hospital currently proposed at the corner of County Road 42 and Concession 9, near Windsor International Airport. It would have 500 beds at its opening with the capacity to add more beds to meet projected needs.