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Greater Napanee Council agenda preview – July 20 meeting

Closed Session meetings, staff vacancies, tax sales among items on the agenda

Greater Napanee Town Hall. Photo by the Bay of Quinte

The agenda for the Greater Napanee Council meeting taking place on Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021 is now available, which includes zoning meetings, staff vacancies, and a number of lengthy staff reports — but the topic that many residents are questioning is section 17: closed session; and why a closed session is taking place at 5 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.

According to the Municipal Act, and as outlined on the Napanee Ratepayers website, a closed meeting must be announced to the public before it occurs (Sect. 239-4):

Resolution
(4) Before holding a meeting or part of a meeting that is to be closed to the public, a municipality or local board or committee of either of them shall state by resolution,
(a) the fact of the holding of the closed meeting and the general nature of the matter to be considered at the closed meeting; or
(b) in the case of a meeting under subsection (3.1), the fact of the holding of the closed meeting, the general nature of its subject-matter and that it is to be closed under that subsection.  2001, c. 25, s. 239 (4); 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 103 (2).”

The closed session has technically be announced publicly, as it is included in the agenda prior to the Council meeting on Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021. However, the closed session meeting is not listed on the Greater Napanee Council website as one of the the Town’s upcoming meetings, and members of the public would need to read through the entire agenda for the regular Council meeting to find that it is taking place as outlined below (Section 17.1 recommendation from the July 20, 2021 agenda):

“17.1 – Adjourn to Closed Session pursuant to Section 239 of the Municipal Act in order to discuss a personnel matter about an identifiable individual; and a matter of solicitor-client privilege. Recommendation: That Council resolved itself into closed session at 5:00 PM today in order to discuss a personnel matter; And further that Council resolve itself into closed session in order to discuss a personnel matter and a solicitor-client privilege matter.”

And, while it’s impossible to know for sure what is to be discussed at the 5 p.m. closed session meeting, some Greater Napanee residents have taken to social media making with their thoughts about the closed door, early meeting.

“This may be the ‘deep dive’ report on the lengthy investigation by KPMG into the sale of 32 Oke Road for $10,100 to Gordon Schermerhorn with just a skimpy newspaper ad and the attempt to sell the valuable Heritage Park property in the same way,” Hubert Hogle wrote on the Greater Napanee Ratepayers’ Association page.

“Can the Council consider the report in closed session? Yes, they can, but they can also release it. The choice is theirs to make. All 7 [sic] of them,” Hogle wrote.

Other residents chimed in, asking if a request made under the Freedom of Information Act would bring whatever issue was being discussed prior to the Council meeting to public light. 

Upcoming meetings listed between now and Tuesday’s Council meeting are: a special session of Council on Monday, Jul. 19 at 3:30 p.m., a Committee of Adjustment meetging on Tuesday, Jul. 20 at 6:45 p.m., and the regular Council meeting scheduled also for Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2021, at 7 p.m.

Other council agenda items of interest:

Bylaws:

In Section 13, Bylaws, 2021-0037, A Bylaw to Appoint an Acting Clerk will be made after Clerk Susan Beckel left the position this spring. The recommendation is to appoint Brandt Zatterberg, General Manager of Community and Corporate Services. Zatterberg is also serving as Deputy CAO after former CAO Ray Callery left the position this spring

Zoning meetings:

Two zoning meetings will take be held at the top of the meeting. The first will address a request made by Access Auto to permit the sale of used cars and vehicle repairs at 199 Richmond Boulevard. The second will address a request to rezone prime agricultural land to rural in order to build a residential home. The development lot is 0.96 hectares on Beechwood Road.

Deputation:

Daniel Lamb will be making a deputation to council regarding a fire ticket dispute. Further information has not been posted.

Request for Action:

A request for support for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network’s proposed Gig Project will be discussed by council. Council will vote on whether or not to send a letter of support to Minister Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure; and Minister Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, regarding the EORN’s proposed Gig Project. 

Activity Reports:

In administration reports, a number of vacant positions will be discussed. There are currently 12 vacancies with the Town, including the positions of: Chief Administrative Officer, Town Clerk, Manager of Economic Development, By-Law Enforcement Officer, Health & Safety Compliance Coordinator, Public Works Labourer, and others. Four of the 12 listed vacancies have been filled. 

Council meetings are recommended to continue being live-streamed permanently. Council is likely to resume in-person meetings in September when provincial guidelines change.

In finance, tax sales will be discussed outlining payments made and payment plans in place. 

In infrastructure services, staff will discuss future developments and applications, road improvement plans, parks and facility maintenance and updates, and more.

In emergency services, a number of vacancies in volunteer firefighting positions will be discussed. In Napanee, there is a shortage of eight; in Roblin there is a shortage of four; and in Dorland there is a shortage of five. Capital projects are also listed on the update. 

In community and corporate services, a number of communications and community endeavours will be discussed. 

Staff Reports:

Nine staff reports will be discussed by Council in section 12 of the agenda. Topics include: awarding contract tenders, a Waste Diversion Committee report, request for proposal for playground equipment at Cherrywood Parkway Park, allocation of multi-sport play courts, the resignation of BIA Board of Director Sondra Elliott, and other reports. 

The entire council meeting agenda can be viewed online, and Tuesday’s public council meeting will be live-streamed on the Town’s YouTube Channel.

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