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RM Council - Should we take a cut on contract work done for the province?

posted Jan 18, 2016, 8:24 AM by Kathy Carr
Would the municipality be willing to take a cut of one-half on the contract work they do for the province? Council was presented with this option at the first meeting of 2016, which turned out to be one of tidying up of business for the New Year. The Council of the RM of North Cypress-Langford met on January 12, 2016 in the Council Chambers with Reeve Adriaansen and all members in attendance.
Currently, municipalities look after a number of roads for the province. These include PR roads, service roads, and roads such as Main Streets in communities. They have done that and been reimbursed at the construction rates.
Mr. Pat Barnes of the Manitoba Transport Ministry (north of PR 351) came to council with a couple of propositions. He stated that they have been paying the municipalities at the provincial heavy construction rate to maintain the PR roads. Private construction firms have expressed interest in doing the work for about one-half the cost.
Provincial construction rates are $243 per hour. Private contractors are willing to do the same for $139 per hour. To do it themselves, they could do it for $134.00 per hour. If they do it themselves, roads would be cleared with 48 hours. Council felt that “within 48 hours” would be unacceptable for many who live on those PR roads. Public works often clear those roads first after a storm.
Barnes stated that they should be doing things competitively, and wondered whether the municipality would take a cut to $138.06 per hour. Some municipalities have a-
greed to this. He pressed for them to sign a “gravel road agreement” that would lock in the more competitive rate.
Reeve Adriaansen and council agreed that they would be losing money at the lower rate. They also expressed concern that if the work is being done by others, it would still be the municipal office that fields the complaints for uncleared roads.
Noting that there is “only six weeks left of winter!” Barnes agreed to stay at the current rate, but made council aware that someone would be approaching them to sign a gravel road agreement before next winter.

Investments
Because the municipality has funds in a number of reserve accounts, it has come to the attention of council that the funds (which are substantial) could be earning better interest than they are sitting in the operating account. To that end, there were presentations by three parties: BMO Nesbitt Burns, Westoba Credit Union, and Don Forbes Investments.
The purpose of the reserve accounts is to save monies for large projects (like the new arena) to replace equipment, or purchase large amounts of things, such as gravel. Some of these funds will be in a ‘save’ mode for a number of years.
As long as council can access the funds they need when they need them, it would be a good business practice to have them earning higher interest than they are now. So they were looking to guarantee their principle for a decent interest rate (hard to find in these economic times) and for flexibility, so that funds can be accessed when needed.
Reeve Adriaansen repeated to all three, that they recognize that the money is not theirs, but public money, and must be treated as such – money that came from the ratepayers of the municipality.
Council listened to the presentations from: Ryan Henderson and Christian Kennedy of BMO Nesbitt Burns; from Keith Parry and Marie McKean of Westoba Credit Union; and from Don Forbes, of Don Forbes & Associates. Council will review the presentations and make a decision at budget time.

Other business
The province noted that their amalgamation costs funding support program has $1 million. Dispersed amongst the amalgamated municipalities, it amounts to about $18,000 each. The CAO noted that costs for the amalgamation of North Cypress and Langford are actually more in the $60,000 to $80,000 range, but will apply for their $18,000.
Hudson Bay Route Association sent a request for membership, which was declined. 
Council discussed the Datalink mapping. This has resulted in the blue civic addressing signs at the end of each lane. It is time to upgrade their ‘atlas’ and there is a price tag attached. Langford did not have it, but have an outstanding bill for their ‘atlas’ that was produced.
CAO Jones noted that the RCMP now use both the S-T-R (section-township-range) and the civic addressing, as does EMS. Fire tends to use the S-T-R. The office uses the civic addressing a lot. Council decided to accept the quote for mapping and upgrade.
Quotes for new municipal signage on the major highways (with North Cypress-Langford) was deferred until next meeting when they have details (e.g. size) worked out. This will not be a problem as they will not be erected until spring anyway.
Council decided to get rid of the old Langford website and have all the Langford information on the Carberry and North Cypress-Langford website.
Council had some discussion regarding the ‘Code Red’ presentation. This is the system for notifying residents both of emergencies and non-emergencies, through an email, text, or phone process. In the case of a tornado, for example, residents in the affected area would receive warnings through one of these methods. In the case of road closures or public works projects that close roads, those affected would be notified.
Fire emergency services and public works could see great value in this. For some RM councillors, they were less enthusiastic. Because being on the grid means that one must physically drop a pin for your location on the map (on your computer) – they anticipate that there will be many who are missed. This will be discussed at the joint meeting.
Borland Construction requested that they be authorized to set up a portable asphalt plant at SE 12-11-13 (along the TransCanada Highway at the eastern edge of the municipality). This company is operating under a provincial environmental license, starting in February for the construction season. One resident, who lives near the site, ex-
pressed concern from three different areas: air quality, noise and traffic. The air quality is particularly a concern, because there is a child with asthma. “Who will compensate me, should I have to move while this plant is operating?”
Council noted that during the summer, the prevailing winds are from the west, and as the resident is south of the location, it should not be a problem, although the reeve noted that it doesn’t take long to smell an asphalt plant on a calm day. They are assuming that the environmental license means that the fumes are not close enough to be harmful, although they have no idea how it will affect an asthmatic child. They agreed to allow the plant to operate, provided they conform to the terms of their license.
Council agreed to donate $200 to Kidsport – an organization that provides funding to children (who cannot afford to do so) to participate in recreational sports.
Council reviewed the gravel tenders for 2016. The tender for the north of the municipality (hauling and spreading) was awarded to P. Baker. The crushing and stockpiling tender was awarded to Moffatt. The gravel (south) was awarded to R. Mitchell.
Council agreed to extend the contract for four years.
New Year business
Council will discuss staffing contracts with the Personnel committee. Councillor Campbell suggested councillor remuneration should also be discussed.
A resolution was passed approving the interim operating budget. This is a temporary bud-get set up, using 2015 figures, to allow the municipality to operate until the new budget is passed.
The year of 2015 was designated as the tax sale year. This means that those properties that were in arrears in 2015, will be deemed to be in tax sale, if they are still in arrears in 2016.
Council reviewed the memberships they take out each year. Memberships in: Association of Manitoba Municipalities, Carberry Chamber of Commerce, Neepawa and Area Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Grand Valley Mutual Aid, Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, Manitoba Good Roads Association, Manitoba Municipal Administrators Association, Southwest Trails and Regional Tourism were approved. One, the Parks Route, was not renewed.
Council reviewed their committee participation. Each councillor is appointed to a number of boards, and, as Reeve Adriaansen put it, “It is good to gain experience on a number of boards.” 
The bulk of the appointments are the same, but a few were changed: Tolton and Jackson agreed to trade on the Museum and the Community Hall. Adriaansen and Campbell agreed to switch on the Watershed and the Wellwood Rec. District.
Council agreed that they would ask the fire departments (Carberry and Neepawa) to submit reports on a quarterly basis.

Correspondence
A letter was received (J & B Strain) regarding the naming of Wooden Nickel Road. As adjacent landowners to this road, they questioned why one party should have the privilege of naming it.
Council’s intention was not to slight other neighbours, and noted that the Banisters will be paying for the signage. In the future, they will seek input from the public before naming a public road.
A letter of thanks was received from Westlake Employment Skills and Services for Council’s support.
Information on nominations for the Premier’s Volunteer Service Award was received. This is an award for youth, individuals or community groups for outstanding service. Nomination forms are at the municipal office or online.
Information was received on land use planning for school sites. Among other things, it prohibits a developer to advertise when a new school is being built.
TransCanada Pipelines updated councils on their two prairie tie-in projects: Spruce Woods and Agassiz.

Around the table
Councillor Jackson advised that two tenders had been received for a feasibility study for the recreation centre. The Rec. Board will attend the next joint council meeting.
Councillor Drayson noted that there had been a water problem and the office was having to ask some old Langford residents to read their own water meters.
Reeve Adriaansen reminded council members that there are policies in place for many issues in the municipality and that they should refer to the policies when residents call.
CAO Jones noted that they have been doing their payroll through Payworks. After payroll is done, there is a lot of duplication as the entries are made in the Munisoft program, which handles everything else. Payroll is now available in Munisoft, which could save the municipalities about $1,500 each. Council gave Jones the go-ahead to look into this further.
Prior to adjournment, accounts totalling $680,350.04 plus direct deposits, were approved for payment. This includes payment of the new grader ($200,000+). Next meeting will be on February 9. There will be a joint meeting on January 25.
by Gloria Mott
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