Summary of the August 3, 2022 Town Council Meeting
The Mayor followed up on the following items:
- Sutton is the most active community in Quebec: we have won the provincial prize for the ParticipACTION Ensemble, tout va mieux challenge! Congratulations to the citizens and the sixteen organizations that participated; with the commitment of the entire community and good organization, great things can be done: this is just the beginning! The $15,000 prize won will allow us to launch the basketball court project that is still to be planned; it is a choice that was made for the teenagers.
- Vandalism: We recently had a case of vandalism at the park chalet. Some young people caused damage to the toilets; thanks to our cameras and the collaboration of citizens, we were able to identify the suspects. We are once again calling on citizens to respect our infrastructure! The Town is also looking at cultural mediation projects in collaboration with the Maison des jeunes to counter graffiti problems.
- Citizens’ meetings: three meetings with members of Council are organized on the following dates: Tuesday, August 23, at 7 p.m., in French, at City Hall / Thursday, August 25, at 7 p.m., in English, at City Hall / Saturday, August 27, at 4 p.m., in French and English, at Glen Sutton.
- Short-term rentals: the elected officials and the administration have agreed on orientations that will be proposed to the population by the end of August, in order to better control short-term rentals throughout the territory.
- Rêvons Sutton: for several months, an analysis of our sites and community facilities has been undertaken to feed an overall plan that will be submitted for public consultation in the fall. Starting in September, the elements of the plan will be exposed to the public at the Sutton Museum. A microsite Rêvons Sutton will be launched in which one will be able to follow the whole process.
- MTQ : we have an important reflection to do on Principale Street and on all the roads that are under the jurisdiction of the ministère des transports du Québec (MTQ); we have several points to discuss with the MTQ with whom we must have a meeting at the beginning of September.
- Additionnal information:
- Exhibition La femme enceinte by Lyne Lapointe to be seen at Arts Sutton Gallery.
- Blood drive on August 23: see the news. Note that it is by appointment this year.
- A new Ukrainian family is welcomed in Sutton and the council wishes to thank the host family, Roxane and Peter Stasny, who spared no effort to bring them here. Also: reminder of the fundraising for the Ukrainian Refugee Committee this Sunday in Abercorn.
- By-law number 319 entitled « Règlement concernant l’augmentation du fonds de roulement »: the working capital fund is increased from $800,000 to $1,000,000, an increase of $200,000.
- By-law number 314-1-2022 entitled « Règlement modifiant le Règlement numéro 314 décrétant la tarification pour le financement de certains biens, services ou activités de la ville pour l’année 2022, afin de corriger l’horaire du camp de jour et le tarif de certaines activités aquatiques » : to decree the fees for the financing of certain goods, services or activities of the Town for the year 2022, in order to correct the schedule of the day camp and the fees for certain aquatic activities.
- Tabling of the 2021 financial statements: tabling of the auditor’s financial report for the 2021 fiscal year, tabling of the Mayor’s report and presentation of the highlights of the 2021 financial statements.
The Mayor presented and explained the highlights in the presence of the external auditor, Mr. Bruno Chrétien of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. In summary, we have more revenues ($13,199,183, or +9.8%) and less expenses ($11,163,740, or -4.1%) than expected. The year ends with a surplus of $1,955,150.
IHR Telecom: The Mayor mentioned that the Town’s share of the MRC’s bond for IHR Telecom in the amount of $1,259,657 is not reflected in our financial statements. Council requested a note be added to the report
The auditor confirms that the bond is not accounted for, as there are no facts as of the date of the report to confirm its payment or how the government would proceed if it were to be paid. However, he agrees to add a note that will not impact the results.
The auditor confirms that the report is compliant, that the budgetary framework has been respected, that the results are adequate, that there are no discrepancies in the accounting, that there are no weaknesses in the internal control. It is an unqualified report.
- Surplus 2021 – Drinking water, wastewater, septic tanks and recycling services: the revenues from these services must be transferred to the corresponding reserved surpluses, which represents an amount of approximately $246,000. Note that these allocations reduce our 2021 non-allocated surplus.
- Hiring Josée Roux as Secretary of Urban and Land-Use Planning Department, effective August 8.
- Appointing Fernando Rosas as Chief Inspector, who has been with the City for over three years.
- Confirming Charlotte Jacques as Recreation and Community Life Officer. Council congratulated Charlotte on her excellent work.
- Resignation of Elisabeth Scalabrini, lifeguard at the pool.
- Hiring of Nicolas Girard as lifeguard at the pool.
- Increase of 12% in the salary scale for summer employees for the last four weeks of employment, in order to be comparable to the salary level of Cowansville and in order not to lose employees.
- Conditional use request for the construction of a single family residence on Lot 5 095 993, Driver Road: Council voted (5 in favour, 1 against) and those council members who wished to do so spoke on the reason for their vote.
- A request to the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec to analyze with the Town the project to install a sidewalk on Maple Street between Highland Street and Domaine Mon Louis Street and a pedestrian crossing on Maple Street across from Highland Street or slightly higher. This work is scheduled for completion in 2023.
- Borrowing from the working capital fund for the installation of cameras to monitor our fuel tanks. For your information, the Town Hall is already equipped with cameras and will soon have a smart card system for access to secure the building.
- The awarding of the contract for the rehabilitation of North Sutton and Draper roads to Pavages Maska for $1,791,727; it should be noted that we have a grant from the MTQ that will cover more than 50% of the costs of this project.
RECREATION, COMMUNITY LIFE AND CULTURE
- The submission of a grant application of $15,000 to the Ministry of Culture and Communications, in collaboration with the Maison des jeunes de Sutton, within the framework of a call for projects in culture for the mental health of young people aged 12 to 18 years: the Town not being eligible, the application will be submitted by the Maison de jeunes The project aims to promote legal graffiti on different framed areas, in order to counter vandalism among youth. The total amount of the project is $20,000, of which $3,000 is funded by the Town and $2,000 by the Maison des jeunes.
- An exceptional free rental of a community room at Town Hall to Sac à mots, an organization that offers francization workshops to local English speakers.
- The extension of the revised intermunicipal agreement on recreation with the Town of Granby: since 2020, the agreement has been at no cost to the Town of Sutton and allows for discounts to citizens; the agreement is extended for 6 months, until December 2022.
- Increase of $3,500 to the Espace MUNI contract for the update of the 2023-2025 Family and Seniors Policy and Action Plan: the amount previously awarded of 48 hours for $4,800 is increased to 83 hours for $8,300, an increase of $3,500.
- The increase in the amount budgeted for the installation of the baseball field scoreboard from $10,000 to $15,000 due to an increase in installation costs.
- The signature of the renewal of the agreement with Réseau Biblio for the Sutton Municipal and School Library.
PERIOD OF QUESTIONS
Only the questions asked are included, the full speeches can be listened to online on YouTube.
- (last meeting) Why were the First Responders (PR) not present on 2 cases cited (dog bite and heart attack)? ANSWER: After checking with 9-1-1, the call was not directed to the PRs because the emergency was a P3 level. Therefore, the Town does not have the call card.
QUESTIONS FOR THE AUDITOR
- Management of unrestricted reserves: is it good practice for a city to keep 3 months of reserves? ANSWER: Given the longer lead times for grant payments, given the increase in costs, the recommendation is to keep a headroom at the beginning of the year closer to 6 months of reserves, but it is not a requirement.
- Is this process done as part of the budget review? ANSWER: Yes, with a management framework and over a longer period of time to anticipate (10-20 years).
- What is the change in current spending 2021/2020? ANSWER: there is a decrease on the order of about $600,000.
- What was the total use of the non-allocated operating surplus in 2021? ANSWER: It is all in the document that was presented.
- How much of the three-year programme of capital expenditures (PTI) was spent in 2021 (actual versus budgeted amount)? ANSWER: Approximately $2,381,000 was spent on capital assets. The three-year plan is a guide. It is completed based on funding sources.
- Did the annual audit report any discrepancies between the audited and unaudited figures? ANSWER: None.
- Is climate change, which could cause an increase of up to 30% in the budget, part of the variance to be expected? ANSWER: In part, yes, because of the impacts on consumer costs and infrastructure. New expenses will have to be added.
- Citizens’ meetings: will there be other dates? ANSWER: Yes, in the fall, if there is a request.
- Can we speak on the minor exemption requests that are presented during the meeting, before council votes? ANSWER: Yes.
- Why didn’t the Mayor come to the Fête nationale suisse? ANSWER: He did not receive an invitation to attend.
- Why were four bollards installed at the corner of Gagne and Western Streets? ANSWER: For pedestrian safety, at the request of citizens.
- Why was it not possible to apply a layer of asphalt on part of Gagné Street? ANSWER: The 2022 asphalt budget is exhausted.
- Why are two of the councillors sometimes speaking in English? ANSWER: We are a bilingual town and we want to be an inclusive society.
- Can we cut the branches around the compost? ANSWER: There are no trees around the compost.
- Has a request been made to the MTQ for the street lights on Maple Street? ANSWER: To be verified.
- Is there an update on the request for a safe walk on Maple? ANSWER: This is part of our thoughts on mobility and issues with MTQ.
- Do short-term rental establishments have to display their CITQ accreditation? ANSWER: The Town does not require the display of this accreditation.
- Why is the asphalt on chemin de la Falaise being removed? ANSWER: This single stretch of 560 m of asphalt is at the end of its life. All around is gravel. It is not relevant to redo this asphalt and the goal is to standardize.