Perth council sets another budget meeting
At Perth Council’s committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, Jan 10th, councilors were supposed to hold a primary vote on the 2023 municipal budget. The final draft called for an affective 5% increase in property taxes and an 11% increase in water/sewer charges. Several councilors still had questions on the document pertaining to staffing costs and other issues. Rather than delay the scheduled final vote at the Jan 31st council meeting, the committee deferred the matter to a special meeting to be held on Jan 17th.
Winter snow plowing process
After two substantial snow storms last month, residents have complained to council about the amount of time it takes to clear sidewalks. Town director Grant Machon provided an overview of how his staff tackles snow clearing and in what order streets and roads are cleared. First priority is given to the main entrance and exit roads to the town, followed by the downtown, schools, churches, the hospital, employment centres and municipal parking areas. Next are collector streets, and last are subdivisions and dead-end streets. Machon noted that sidewalks are not classified in the same manner as roads and streets. The town owns two sidewalk plows but only one is put into service on a regular basis due to staffing challenges. Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson suggested cross-training other municipal employees to be able to operate the second plow, especially those working at facilities that are often less busy or even closed during major storms. The committee directed staff to prioritize sidewalks in the same manner as streets and roads going forward.
Promotion sign funding explained
Councilors were full of praise for town director Shannon Baillon at their meeting regarding the newly installed large blue reflective wall sign at the corner of Herriott and Gore Streets. They noted seeing locals and visitors alike standing in front of it taking pictures and have seen these posted on various social media accounts with positive comments. However there was mention of some negative online comments regarding using tax funds to pay for the sign. Baillon confirmed that the funding came from a federal grant, the BIA, and a donation and that no tax dollars were used.
Railroad tie storage brings water concerns
The committee reviewed a letter received from the Friends of the Tay Watershed about the outdoor storage of a large number of used CPR railroad ties stacked in Glen Tay near the river. The letter pointed to studies that have shown that these items can leech creosote into the ground and risk the watershed and surface water ponds. The Friends have already expressed their concerns to CPR with no response. They were asking the town to do the same and the committee agreed with Mayor Judy Brown promising to follow-up with a phone call to the department in charge of the storage. Many areas in the country have stopped using creosote coated wooden ties in favour of concrete ones for longer service life and less impact on the environment.