Leo Meloche

Town council to move forward with audit advisory committee

 

By Ron Giofu

Town council will be moving forward with the establishment of an audit advisory committee despite a request to do without it.

Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche suggested that the town not set up such a committee and re-evaluate its needs in the future. Meloche expressed confidence in treasurer Justin Rousseau and noted there are multiple chartered accountants on staff.

“We have qualified people,” said Meloche. “We’ve cleaned up our act.”

Meloche said he didn’t speak out on the matter at the previous council meeting, when the matter was originally discussed, as he was chairing the meeting. He recalled the last time the town had such a committee and noted there was a meeting where only he and Rousseau showed up.

Councillor Michael Prue disagreed, noting that audit advisory committees are common throughout Ontario and recalled one in Toronto when he served there.

“What is wrong with another set of eyes?” asked Prue.

Councillor Peter Courtney said he wasn’t questioning the integrity of administration but agreed with Prue that “another set of eyes, ears and brains” would be useful.

“It’s more knowledge and knowledge is bliss,” said Courtney.

In a recorded vote, Meloche was the only one in favour of moving ahead without an audit advisory committee and re-evaluating in the future while Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Prue, Courtney and councillors Marc Renaud, Donald McArthur and Patricia Simone were opposed to the motion.

Town talks about, but doesn’t reconsider development charges motion

 

By Ron Giofu

Town council talked about reconsidering a motion regarding development charges but in the end they stuck with the original motion.

A motion passed Dec. 15 regarding development charges deferral agreements called for the town to continue to offer deferrals and that administration be authorized to proceed with the use of letters of direction for the collection of the charges and that, based on an amendment suggested by Councillor Michael Prue, that administration be authorized to implementation an administrative fee of $275 per unit for each four month period until a unit is completed and sold. Prue stated in December that he believed that will “safeguard the taxpayers,” as Prue didn’t agree with the program overall from a residential perspective but did so from a commercial perspective.

Councillor Donald McArthur admitted he was nervous at the first meeting and asked at the Jan. 14 meeting if they could reconsider the motion so that additional questions could be asked. Prue said the public seems happy to have additional money in their pockets and believed that developers, whom he said are “very rich people,” have to pay the cost of doing business in a municipality and that includes paying fees.

“I thought it was a happy compromise,” added Councillor Peter Courtney, of the Dec. 15 motion.

Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche said administration came up with an agreement in partnership with developers and builders after the previous council requested that a meeting be arranged between the parties “yet this council decided to amend that.”

Meloche stated “it is incumbent upon us to have reasonable growth in our community” and he believed that can be accomplished with development charge deferral bylaw. The deputy mayor added that the Libro Centre is built to accommodate a population of 40,000 residents while the Amherstburg Wastewater Treatment Plant is built to accommodate 50,000 people.

“Our job is to make the town grow,” said Meloche.

Prue countered by stating that council passed an interim tax levy bylaw earlier in the meeting that penalized people for late payment on taxes.

“Why do developers get a special rate that our residents don’t get?” Prue asked. “How is that building a town?”

Meloche responded that the town should be providing incentives for developers to build in Amherstburg and said it is a “business approach” to defer development charges.

“I’m confident in the decision we made,” added Councillor Patricia Simone. “I don’t feel that we should be bringing it up again.”

Courtney, Prue, Simone and Councillor Marc Renaud voted against the motion to reconsider while Meloche, McArthur and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo were in favour.

Town council sees one logo recommendation, wants to see others

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town is moving towards getting a new logo but remains unclear as to what that new logo will look like.

Cinnamon Toast New Media – the firm developing the new logo, tourism website and communication plan – presented the new logo to town council Monday night with owner/creative director Bronwyn Mondoux noting they received the most feedback the company ever had through its survey. A total of 383 surveys were completed with another 25 or so attending public meetings.

Top values identified by the public included the town’s history, scenic aspects, friendliness and uniqueness. However, when that was pulled together into a logo, council members joined members of the general public in being hesitant about the design to the point where they asked to see the two other designs the company did. The public will be able to see those as well at a yet-to-be scheduled public meeting with the matter coming back to council Feb. 25.

A horizontal look of the recommended logo from Cinnamon Toast New Media.

Councillor Donald McArthur noted that he didn’t envy Cinnamon Toast New Media as it was impossible to satisfy everyone, however, wasn’t captivated himself by the logo and tagline “Born to Make History” when he first saw it.

“I wanted to love it, I wanted to be blown away by it but I wasn’t,” said McArthur, adding after the meeting that “I think we can do better.

“I was looking forward to loving it and I didn’t.”

McArthur noted he received similar feedback on his website and social media pages. While the town could eventually decide that the first logo will be the one they go with, he said they want to take a look at the others and consider all of them.

Councillor Michael Prue said the logo was too “busy” and that “in colour, it’s not so bad.” When the logo is in one colour, it requires further explanation as to what it contains.

“I think you are trying to capture too much,” Prue told Mondoux, adding the “heart and soul” of the town is its history.

“For me, it fell a little bit flat,” added Councillor Patricia Simone.

Simone asked if there was anything left in the budget if council were to send this first one back, which it did, and Mondoux indicated there were two other designs that the company prepared. Mondoux added that she believed many of the other Essex County municipalities had similar looking logos and encouraged town council to “choose the one that makes you feel uncomfortable. The ones that are safe are the ones that get left behind.”

Councillor Marc Renaud also wanted to see the two other options that had been prepared. He didn’t think the logo that Cinnamon Toast New Media brought to council Monday night had the “wow factor.” Councillor Peter Courtney also commented that the logo was “too busy” but agreed with McArthur that it was tough to please everyone.

A vertical look at the proposed new town logo.

“There was no emotional connection,” Courtney said of the logo. “I’m not convinced and I’m feeling that from residents.”

Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche said the logo grew on him the more he looked at it. He tried to envision whether his children would like it and has started to believe the logo was “modern and edgy.”

“It does send a message,” said Meloche. “I have grown to like it.”

In addition to having a public meeting, Prue wanted to ensure that the parks and recreation committee and possibly the heritage committee have a look at it as well.

The cost to engage Cinnamon Toast New Media for the complete branding strategy is in the neighbourhood of $76,000.

 

Essex County councillors get committee appointments for 2018-22 term

 

By Ron Giofu

Members of Essex County council have had their committee appointments approved for the 2018-22 term.

At county council’s final meeting of 2018, they approved recommendations from the striking committee which established as to which county council members will sit on each of the County of Essex’s committees.

The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) will be well represented by the county’s two elected officials from Amherstburg. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo will become a member for the full four-year term after spending last year as an alternate member, serving one-year terms every other year. The latter position now falls to Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche, who will serve one-year terms in 2019 and 2021.

Other Essex County members of the EWSWA board of directors will include Warden Gary McNamara, LaSalle Mayor Marc Bondy and Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald.

Leo Meloche and Bondy will also sit on the Windsor-Essex Community Housing Corporation with Meloche and MacDonald also representing the county on the Windsor-Essex County Environment Committee (WECEC).

Essex County council has decided on their committee appointments for the 2018-22 term.

The Essex County Library Board will have representation from each of the seven county municipalities – four county council members and three lay appointments from each of the other three towns. Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche and Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos return to the board and will be joined by Leamington Deputy Mayor Larry Verbeke and Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Tracey Bailey. The lay appointments include Ron Sutherland from Amherstburg, Andrew Dowie from Tecumseh and Terry Burns from LaSalle.

Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen returns to the Essex County Accessibility Advisory Committee (ECAAC). He will be joined by lay appointees Debbie Alexander, Christine Easterbrook, Brad Frenette, Diana Kirkbride, Therese Lecuyer and Fern Walsh.

McNamara, also the mayor of Tecumseh, will be one of the county officials on the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) board with Tecumseh Deputy Mayor Joe Bachetti, Essex Mayor Larry Snively and Bailey. McNamara will also represent the county on the Windsor-Essex County Housing Advisory Committee and the Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) board, the latter also including LaSalle Deputy Mayor Crystal Meloche and Santos.

Bailey will also serve on the 911 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) while Verbeke will sit on the Food Policy Committee. Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain will serve on the Windsor-Essex Opioid Strategy Leadership Committee.

Council looking at setting up committees, bringing back some former ones

 

By Ron Giofu

 

As council is new, so too are the committees being formed.

The 2018-22 town council held its first business meeting Monday night and started the recruitment process for some of the committees that will be formed. Administration was authorized to seek members for the accessibility advisory committee, the committee of adjustment, the Co-An Park committee, the drainage board, the fence viewers committee, the heritage committee, livestock evaluators, parks and recreation advisory committee, the property standards committee, the seniors advisory committee and the mayor’s youth advisory committee.

The last two are new committees but the mayor’s youth advisory committee was one that drew some particular attention. Councillor Peter Courtney said with The House Youth Centre in place, he didn’t want the town to interfere with that but manager of recreation services Rick Daly said the committee would engage with youth at The House and others in town and gather their opinions.

Councillor Donald McArthur envisioned the committee and the youth working “in tandem” and that the town needs “to go where they are” to gather their opinions.

The economic development and finance committees appear to be making a comeback after being dissolved by the last council. Councillor Michael Prue believed it would “not be a bad idea for the town” and that a committee of citizens would “be an enormous benefit as we try to bring business to town.”

Prue, who noted his campaign involved economic development, believed citizens should have a say in how the town is developed and that includes looking at potential industrial sites as the former General Chemical property and lands on Alma St.

Administration will bring back a report on reforming the economic development committee as well as terms of reference. Courtney asked for similar consideration on re-implementing the town’s finance committee.

The names of Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche and Ron Sutherland were put forth to the Essex County striking committee for consideration as the town’s representatives to the Essex County Library Board. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who missed his third straight council meeting Monday night, was re-appointed to the Essex Powerlines board of directors. Courtney was appointed to the Essex Region Conservation Authority with the town to advertise for a layperson as the second representative.

Meloche was also named to join DiCarlo on the Amherstburg Police Services Board for the balance of the year but council shot down any notion of advertising for a layperson since the board is being abolished Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. due to the switchover to the Windsor Police Service.

“It’s not practical to advertise for the (layperson) position for 20 days,” said Prue.

Courtney wanted to keep current APSB chair Bob Rozankovic in place for the balance of the term and also didn’t want to advertise for a layperson as it should “stay as it is.”

“It seems absurd to me,” he said of seeking another layperson to the board.

Councillor Patricia Simone questioned what will happen with issues the board is facing including a human rights tribunal.

“I’m not sure what would happen with issues still up in the air,” said Simone.

CAO John Miceli said the severance issues “we believe have been resolved” and that other matters such as human rights issues, given as there will be no board, will “by default fall to the town.”