Carleton Place council passes tax rate and official plan amendment

Carleton Place council meeting online on Zoom and Facebook
Photo credit: Brian Turner
Posted on: April 22, 2020

In an online streaming session (via Zoom and Facebook) Carleton Place council held its regular session along with a committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday April 21. Viewers might have found things a little disjointed due to an official plan amendment that required a virtual meeting to start at a specific publicized time and a few tech glitches stemming from fading wifi signals for certain panelists. The council session which is usually completed in its entirety first, was temporarily recessed to permit the committee of the whole meeting to deal with the plan amendment. It then reconvened afterwards to ratify that decision. But thanks to quick action by staff, and more than a general helping of cooperation among councilors things progressed well.

The official plan was revised to accommodate a redesign of the Hwy 7 and 15 intersection proposed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. This amendment is the first step in a multi-year process that will also see some private property acquisitions by the province along the highway corridors as well as relocation of certain utilities and a variety of environmental approvals. MOT staff in virtual attendance at the meeting speculated 5 years as the duration but warned that future provincial budgets may affect those outcomes. The amendment was passed by the committee of the whole and then ratified at the formal council session which resumed after the committee meeting ended.

While municipal and county budgets for 2020 have been set for some time, a formal motion to establish the final tax rates was put forward and passed at the committee of the whole meeting. Discussions also took place regarding how Covid-19 was impacting two budget areas in specific; the annual BIA budget and community enrichment grants. The BIA has already cancelled one event, their annual Lambs Down festival and similar public gathering restrictions have eliminated some activities of community enrichment grant recipients. Council rep on the BIA board, councilor Theresa Fritz noted that no other events were cancelled at this time and that they expected increased resource needs on behalf of their membership for new strategies to support the retail core. Town manager of recreation and culture, Joanne Henderson foresees the same increase in needs later this year for a variety of community organizations, many working to support local charitable causes. She noted that several of the first intake of requests involved events that had to be canceled and she expected more applications than usual for the second intake which has a deadline of August 31st. She added that as in past years, if any of the allocated funds remain unused after that date, she will extend the reception of requests to the end of the year. The annual BIA levy is set at $166K and the first half of the community enrichment grants is $13,638.

Article by Brian Turner

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News