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Joint Council - How to split office expenses, wages and time

posted Feb 29, 2016, 9:33 AM by Kathy Carr   [ updated Feb 29, 2016, 9:34 AM ]
How has amalgamation changed the time structure of the joint office of the Town of Carberry and the RM of North Cypress-Langford? The councils of these two municipalities wrestled with this issue at the joint meeting held on February 22.
When amalgamation occurred, it was done with the knowledge that it would reflect on the office time spent on the business of each municipality. CAO Jones confirmed this, not only relating her experience in the office, but having had her staff log a week’s time to show it. She verbally stated how busy the office is – far busier than she expected and the bulk of the time is spent on North Cypress-Langford business. She and staff regularly log extra hours (time away from family) in order to get the work done.
At the time of amalgamation of North Cypress and Langford, one more office staff was hired in Carberry, in anticipation of the increased workload. The office is dealing with whole new issues, such as water hook-ups and charges. On top of that, since there is no animal control officer, the staff is dealing with those issues – plus helping election enumerators at this time.
Mayor Olmstead submitted two proposals: one at 60/40 (RM/TN) and one which reflects the actual population ratio – 61/39. He also submitted a choice of dealing with all the office expenses, or just the office wages. He pressed council members to make a decision or at least have some discussion.
Reeve Adriaansen’s choice was to defer the decision, but Olmstead pressed for open discussion. The town has not imposed this earlier, as they gave time for the ‘new normal’ to set in – and they feel that it is now time – and particularly the office wages should reflect the division of work. The town is willing to split the CAO’s wage 50/50, as they feel each municipality should have equal access to her.
Council set the wages of the office staff, facilities manager, EDO, and the reporter.
After some discussion, with no resolution, the issue was deferred; it is to be discussed at the individual meetings, and hopefully decided at the next joint meeting.
Museum delegation
Lea Hajnrych, Gloria Mott and Marji Kempthorne attended council as a delegation in regards to museum concerns. The Carberry Plains Museum is the top Town of Carberry “destination” and boasts visitors from all over the world during their summer opening.
Hajnrych, chair of the Carberry Plains Museum Board, stated that the museum board works not only inside the building, accessioning and setting up displays, but also has a big job of looking after the grounds. 
They questioned whether there was an opportunity to access some public works or Green Team summer help to ease the workload. Council will look into this.
While thankful for the grants received from the councils, she also noted that the provincial government has not increased their grants to rural museums in over 20 years. Much of their cultural/museum allocation has gone to the Manitoba Human Rights Museum. Hajnrych requested that the councils lobby the province for an increase in funding to rural museums.
Gloria Mott related their disappointment that although the kiln hood is fixed and has been replaced in the building, that the Building Committee did not consider installing a newer, more efficient hood that would have given the museum board a higher level of comfort with it in the building. They still would prefer the kiln in a different venue, if one could be found. The classroom area is also the museum board’s work area, and the dust generated by pottery isn’t ideal for working on displays, such as wedding dresses. Reeve Adriaansen agreed that the kiln should not be in that building, while Mayor Olmstead and some other council members felt that as long as it passed fire code regulations, that classes could continue in the museum loft.  Presently there is no instructor, so it is a ‘moot point’ and council agreed to have the kiln re-inspected prior to any classes beginning. Hajnrych noted their concerns are all in regards to the preservation of the artifacts “fire safety” and a different building would also increase accessibility for classes.
The Board is also short a couple of working members and would welcome anyone with an interest in local history.
The visit ended with an invitation for the council’s to take a tour of the museum, possibly after a summer joint meeting.
Other business
Council accepted a quote for lighting in the office, from Sandhills Electric. Council was able to access some hardly used lights with full warranty, and should also qualify for a Hydro grant. The difference will be $2695.
They also accepted a quote for a safety manual for $799. This will give them all the updates they need, plus it will be in cd form, so that any number of copies can be made for each department. Every entity must have a safety rep.
Retroactive approval was given for the attendance of EMO Co-ordinator, Brad Wells to attend an EMO workshop. Council was also given a report on the workshop which highlighted the need for a province-wide warning system (such as Code Red), hooked into the weather networking system. It also noted the need for better training, from beginning to advanced.
Paving quotes were received for the community hall parking lot, the rink (not a firm quote) and the cemetery road. Most felt that the hall was the highest priority ($60,000), however, the need to have paving where the Zamboni enters the building is important, so that stones are not transported onto the ice. The cemetery road also badly needs to be renewed, with a price tag quote of $278,000. Council will get firm quotes before deciding.
Mayor Olmstead also introduced the idea that the lagoon may need to be expanded with another cell sometime in the foreseeable future. As rural subdivisions are coming on-line and expecting to want to use the Carberry lagoon for sewage disposal, he hoped that the RM would be willing to “take an interest in expenses.” The first stage will be a feasibility study.
The garbage disposal truck has proved to be a money-saver for both municipalities. However, it was designed for city driving, and the suspension is extremely hard. Council approved the purchase and installation of an “air ride kit” from H. Bullee & Sons, at a cost of $14,499 plus taxes. The former waste hauler will pick up the garbage during the days that our truck is in the shop.
There has been an ongoing effort to have an Assisted Living Facility in our community. This is a facility that is mid-way between total independence and the care home. Meals and medicines are provided, but the residents still can come and go independently. The first step for this proposal is a feasibility study that will determine what the needs of the community are, and what size of a facility the community can support. There is already a grant of $8000 towards this cost, plus $5000 that has been allocated. An additional $3500 from each council is needed to cover the cost of the study. 
Committee reports:
Arts Council: Mayor Olmstead reported on the Chris Funk, The Wonderist which was held recently. “A tremendous show” said the reporter. Be sure not to miss Fubuki Daiku, Japanese drummers to be here on St. Patrick’s Day.
Buildings: Councillor Barry Anderson commented on the lights and the flooring at the old municipal office. Unfortunately, the flooring cannot be matched, and there is a 3⁄4” drop into the offices from the hallway, so the project is not as simple as they thought. 
Cemetery: The Board gave the go-ahead to order flowers. One bench is still to be set up.
Community Centre: A job description has been posted for the Recreation Director and the office has started to get applicants. The feasibility study will be discussed March 7 in the evening by the Rec Board.
Economic Development: Councillor Jaime MacGregor gave a brief synopsis of the projects on which the CDC is working: website development, a marketing video to be used as a medical recruiting tool; a survey of businesses; community brochure; a meet and greet for health care workers; business world café; King Spud statue – among other things!
Evergreen Environmental: Ray Drayson has stepped down as chair of this Board, and Monty Simon is the new chair. McCreary is looking at joining the Evergreen group.
Council discussed the gasification project, and the need to have monies for that feasibility study. It is hoped that the money is already in place from surplus funds. Reeve Adriaansen noted that there are no actual operating gasification plants in Canada.
Councillor John Anderson agreed, but there is a smaller working model that proves it does work. If Evergreen Environmental gets approved for this project, it will be a pilot project, which will reduce waste by 97%. 
The equipment becomes the property of the waste site once the pilot project is over.
Fire: The new fire truck will not be here until summer. Emergency services must attend all 911 call-outs.
Hall: The Community Hall Board is seeking new members. They also need to clarify rental rates and liquor license rules.
Handivan: The new one is here; it does not yet have its decals.
Health: There is one person training on a health committee scholarship. The committee met with the administrator, who is “managing” despite a struggle with having enough nurses, and one doctor being unexpectedly away.
Library: The hole in the steps was discussed. It is hoped that during the warmer weather, a temporary fix can be put in place. A search is in place for a new assistant librarian.
Planning: The budget has been set.
Seniors: A lot of activities are ongoing. Councillor Lin Mann read a letter of appreciation from Laine Wilson (former rec director), which acknowledged Debbie Steen’s valued participation and involvement in programming for seniors activities.
Correspondence
The RCA Museum invited the Reeve and Mayor to the opening of their new exhibit: Designed for Victory: Women, War and the Vote. Approval was given to attend.
Members of Council and CAO were authorized to attend the 2016 municipal Officials Seminar and the MTCML Trade Show in Brandon, April 13-14. Public Works were approved to attend the trade show. Mayor Olmstead and Reeve Adriaansen and CAO were authorized to attend the Mayors, Reeves and CAO meeting on April 12.
Council approved the designation of March 2016 as Dieticians of Canada National Nutrition Month.
Around the table
John Anderson brought forward a query from a resident: Why not buy the hospital and manage it ourselves, and do the recruiting? He felt this was based on a fear for the future of our facility. Councillor Barry Anderson felt that the glass wasn’t “half empty” as this resident seemed to feel, but “half-full.” 
As far as recruitment, Carberry is not highest priority. Money doesn’t bring doctors to the community, although an enticement such as paying moving expenses, does help. Doctors desire quality of life, along with their practice. The community can help by “selling” what they have to a prospective applicant (recreational facilities etc.)
Lin Mann questioned whether there ever would be a time when salaries are “capped.” Mayor Olmstead could not foresee it, unless there was a financial disaster in the community.
John Anderson noted there was an AMM course on April 12 he would like to attend. 
He also explained that currently there are no refugees being brought forward, as the officials struggle to cope with those that have been spoken for already. 
Council adjourned. Individual meetings will be held on March 8. Next joint meeting will be March 28.
by Gloria Mott
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