Highlights – Town Council Meeting, December 10, 2019

The meeting was preceded by an extraordinary session, the 2020 Budget, which extended past 7:30 pm. Mayor Tutino opened the meeting at 8:00pm.  11 residents were attending.

Questions –  Period I

  • building/renovation permits and why it is so difficult to obtain – Town is aware of a problem in this area and is looking at ways to address it, including the hiring of additional resources for town planning.
  • An increased number of power failures – issue will be addressed by Mayor’s and Councillors’ reports.

Mayor’s Report

  • As part of a Commission at the agglomerate level concerned with the environment, the issue of waste management is being looked at, with the objective of reaching zero waste by 2030; an info session was held to that effect with two residents attending. With respect to Publisac, Baie-D’Urfe will wait to see how it is handled by Montreal, given that Mirabel who implemented the opt-out approach was brought to court by Publisac. 2) BD contacted Hydro Quebec with concerns that our town has more power failures than other cities; HQ was responsive, checked all connections and suggested that it needs to establish better communication with consumers to send notifications whether power failures are due to maintenance work or to actual problem. 3) The Berm will cover one quarter of the town, and not the entire town as it was rumored; the cost of doing that portion is estimated at $4 million, half of which may be subsidized. 4) Following the train accident, the MTQ will work with the town to find a solution and prevent any further accidents on the rails.

Councillors’ Reports –

Councillor Ektvedt: 1) Attended the CA meeting and was impressed by the energy and dedication of its board members. 2) Attended the Library’s Christmas lunch and met many of the long-term volunteers 3) Went through the budget process and want to thank the administration for the way it was handled; was also impressed by the professionalism and the thoroughness of the volunteers organizations as they were presenting their budget requests.

Councillor Gilpin: Also wants to thank the administration for the smoothness of the budget process.

Councillor Doherty : attended the meeting with Hydro Quebec and was impressed by their responsiveness and professionalism. They explained that often problems resulting in power failures are caused often by animals (e.g. squirrels) damaging the power lines. In terms of communication, HQ will try to create an app to reach consumers through cell phones and not only land lines, and will also make a presentation to the VCops to explain how the maintenance system works.

Councilor Lowensteyn -1)  Attended the consultation meeting regarding the Zero Garbage with Susan Hawker and documents with more information about the Waste Management initiatives are available upon request. 2) The Curling Club is celebrating its 60th anniversary and, despite its problems with the compressor, it is doing very well.

Director General’s Report:  Soil testing for the new CPE may require water from Dowker Street, hence drilling will be required near a private property’s driveway, but not sure when.

Correspondence – Email from Susan Hawker regarding the objective of zero waste and the bike path.  Thanks to the resident for her efforts to reduce plastic waste and her contribution to the consultation meeting about Waste Management. The repairs of the bike path on Lakeshore are included in the budget and will start in 2021.

Administration

  • As per the by-law regarding Contract Management, the list of contracts granted in 2019 for more than $25 000 and the list of contracts valued over $2 000 totalling more than $25 000 will be published and will be accessible online.
  • Declaration of pecuniary interests of council members.
  • Approval of the 2020 Council meeting schedule.
  • Approval to mandate a law firm to assist the town in drafting the documents necessary for the CPE project, for a maximum of $10,000, to be invoiced and expensed as part of the project.

Finances

Notices of motion for: 1) imposing the general property tax for 2020, 2) for the Tariffs for 2020,  3) and for the rate of transfer duties (Welcome Tax) which will increase for properties whose basis of imposition exceeds $500,000 – Between $500,000 and $1,000,000, that rate will be 2%, and beyond $1,000,000, it will go up to 2.5%. This change is in line with what other municipalities are implementing to generate new revenue streams.

Tabling of the list of expenses for the month of November 2019. 

Public Security and Traffic

Approval for the renewal of the contract for the surveillance and patrolling of the Industrial Park.

Public Works and Town Infrastructure

Approvals of: 1) awarding of contract  to the lowest bidder for professional services for the architectural and engineering plans for the new CPE 2) awarding of contract for professional services for an underground inspection of the sewer line of Highway 40 south service road. 3) authorizing new staff members of the company GBI  Experts-Conseils Inc. to act as  representatives of the Town  and sign application for permits from the MELCC regarding the Canine recreation area at the Bertold Park. 4) additional work for the cleaning of the Linguini site. 5) authorizing the Director General to negotiate with the MTQ  the cost sharing of the berm construction.

Town Planning

Approval to postpone the decision concerning the request by the AVH international school to add two additional signs on their property; the signs do not comply with an existing by-law and would require a change of the by-law.

 Citizen Services and Community Affairs

Approvals of :

– financial contributions for town associations for their respective Christmas celebration:

  • Baie-D’Urfé Citizen’s Association: $750
  • Baie-D’Urfé Library: $1,000
  • Baie-D’Urfé Rescue: $1,000
  • Citizens on Patrol: $1,000
  • Baie-D’Urfé Community Building Club: $250
  • Youth Gardening: $250

– an additional financial grant of $9,000 to the Aquatic Club as it faces some difficulties due to added expenses and lower revenues

– donation of 150 euros to the Dublin Central Mission in memory of Councillor Janet Ryan’s father, Mr. Wlliam J.J. Wolfe.

House Foreclosure

A property that did not pay taxes since 2017 will be put out for a public sale on January 28th at City Hall.

Question Period II

  • Requesting more information regarding the foreclosure of the house – no information can be divulged at this point until it is published in the Official Gazette. The Finance department will try every avenue before bringing the issue to a foreclosure, which is a rare occurrence in Baie-D’Urfe.
  • Why the steep increase in the transfer taxes (welcome taxes), even though the prices of the houses are already increasing significantly – the town needs to diversify its revenue stream and the increase might also discourage the recent trend of “flipping” houses.
  • Is the cost of the surveillance and patrolling of the Industrial Park paid by the companies – on the budget, the 60 companies share the cost and it appears as revenue.
  • Why is the city increasing the rate of transfer
  • Regarding the bike path, the work will extend to the entire Lakeshore – yes it would.

Nadia Bissada, reporting for News & Views