Another Council meeting has come and gone and as usual we have the notes for you. In short, money changed hands and Metrolinx surprised most aldermen with their presentation at Monday’s Council meeting.
The agenda can be found at: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?expanded=542,543,79798&preview=88267
Here are our highlights of the evening:
Grimsby Power Inc. Dividend Presentation
Joe Panetta, Chair and Remy Fernandes, CEO of Grimsby Power Inc. presented a $150,000 dividend cheque (actually from Niagara Power Inc.) to the Town. Considering the past Council discussions on this hot topic of outstanding and timely dividend payments, it was unusual that this usually normal business process (of paying dividends) became a special delegation item for all to see.
We’ll jump for a moment to the end of the Council meeting and to the New Business portion, as it ties in nicely. Alderman Mullins, as promised in a previous meeting (see our notes here), brought forward an update on the historical and current dividend payments and the “missing $122,157”.
Of interest in her notes (as below) is an explanation that the Town received an advance dividend payment of $734,850 in 2011 to support the Town Hall turbine project. Coincidentally, it’s the actual amount of the turbine purchase.
Alderman Mullins further states that the “missing $122,157” is actually EMBEDDED in that amount and that, in hindsight it would have been clearer had the two amounts been shown separately.
The February 13, 2012 Admin & Finance minutes show the 2010 audited financial statements and a reference to the $734,850 dividend.
“The Town was also charged $734,850 for the purchase of a gas turbine from subsidiary Grimsby Energy Incorporated . The turbine is not yet operational and is included in work in process within tangible capital assets.”
Up until this Council meeting, all indications (and information provided to Council) were that the 2010 dividend was outstanding, or as Town Manager Brandt recently noted, “written off”. See our previous notes of the September 18th Council meeting here and the October 2nd Council meeting here. To have the Administration and Finance Chair now disclose that the dividend amount was blended into the turbine brew, just seems a little off – – actually, a whole lot off.
Alderman Kadwell raised the issue of the cost of the CoGen (perpetual) repairs under New Business. Mayor Bentley reassured those at the table that no $$ would be spent until a report comes back to the Public Works Committee with the reason for the recuperator failure and the potential for repeat problems before any action or expenditure is approved.
Did we mention the turbine brew (CoGen) – – to the tune of $1M+ (if not more) in taxpayer ‘investment’, and it’s still broken, never lived up to it’s promises and appears to be in a tail spin. Time to toss the turbines and recoup some financial sanity at Town Hall.
Metrolinx Presentation – Check out the GO Train Site Plan
Representatives from Metrolinx presented the draft “opening day” site plan for the proposed GO station, which took most alderman by surprise as it only shows the station and parking located on the north side of the tracks. Previous public information centres hosted by the Region as well as the Transportation Master Plan alluded to a station design and parking lots that straddle both sides of the tracks.
GLN captured the presentation well in their article here:
Metrolinx will be holding their first public meeting to solicit comments on November 21 at Southward Park starting at 6:00 pm. More information can be found here:
Aldermen did raise the concern that Southward Park may not be the most convenient site for the meeting and suggested Town Hall or the Peach King Centre, but the Metrolinx Community Engagement rep indicated it was the first of a number of meetings and they would consider other location options for the next one. Ouch!
Other Items of Interest
Alderman Johnston inquired as to the developers intent to move forward with the former Roxy property on Main Street as it is completely fenced off and the informal parking lot that was previously accessible is now gone.
Town Manager Brandt noted that the Ontario Street unopened road allowance, which provided access onto this property through to Main Street, will be discussed with the developer to ensure that not only the cost of the laneway transfer, but benefits to the existing businesses, will be taken into consideration.
Recreation Services Committee: Alderman DiFlavio expressed his disappointment that the Escarpment Vista Estates basketball court is being constructed as a half-court only. He noted that the vision was always for it to be a full-court and that this development is isolated and needs a park planned to serve the long term needs of the community. This item was lifted from the minutes and a resolution passed to send it back to staff for further review.
Heritage Committee: Following a closed meeting session, three citizen members were appointed to the re-vamped Heritage Committee with Aldermen Dunstall (Chair) and DiFlavio taking up seats with the new members. Watch for the Town minutes for the confirmed names.
That’s all for this meeting!