Highlights from the regular Lanark County Council meeting held Wednesday, June 24.

Lanark County logoHere are the highlights from the regular Lanark County Council meeting held Wednesday, June 24.

  • Paramedic Service and Communications Infrastructure Agreements Approved

Council has approved a bylaw authorizing a five-year service agreement for the Almonte General Hospital (AGH) to operate the Lanark County Paramedic Service (LCPS) from 2016-2020. In 2000, the province downloaded the operation of land ambulance service to municipalities. Since then, the LCPS has been operated by AGH. County CAO Kurt Greaves indicated the partnership has given Lanark County the benefit of a professional health-care institution managing the operations of the service. AGH administers staffing, scheduling, health and safety, union negotiations and ensuring the service is run in compliance with provincial regulations. Council considered whether to search for a new partner, manage the operations itself or renew the contract as recommended by staff. Council also passed a bylaw authorizing an agreement for Radio Fire Communications Infrastructure with Christie & Walther Communications, including site rental and service for a 10-year term starting in 2016. In 2006, the county began a process to purchase radio equipment for use by local municipal fire services and entered into an agreement with C&W to engineer the system that has proved to provide fire services with an improved method of communications. The system went live in 2011. The service agreement provides for the maintenance of the equipment and the site rental agreement allows placement of the radio system equipment at each of the leased sites. For more information, contact Kurt Greaves, CAO, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1101 or Rick Hannah, Emergency Services Coordinator, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1701.

  • CHPI Funds Allocated to Projects

Following a detailed presentation earlier this month, council has approved funding allocations for various projects under the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) program. CHPI aims to prevent, address and reduce homelessness by improving access to adequate, suitable and affordable housing that is linked to flexible support services based on people’s needs. It is a consolidation of funding from five previous provincial homelessness-related programs. Lanark County’s 2015/16 allocation from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is $1.2 million. Lanark County’s Ten-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan identified several priorities for actions and Social Housing Manager Sandy Grey recommended four programs for the funding. The first relates to emergency shelter solutions, which includes providing emergency hotel stays and after-hours social services through a contract with the Salvation Army as short-term reactions to homelessness. The second is for housing with related supports, including the cost of domiciliary hostels and deposits for expenses such as rent and utilities. Funds will also be set aside for partnership programs with community organizations that express an interest in collaborating on programs that meet the CHPI mandate. The third project relates to other services and supports and will be used to create a permanent full-time social housing caseworker position that will focus on preventing homelessness and providing support to high-needs clients. Funding in this category would also be used to provide self-care kits for homeless individuals, as well as to cover minor home repair, expenses from hoarding, grocery and gas cards and for a homelessness-related forum. The final category, homelessness prevention, includes funding for payments of arrears, both rent and utilities. To learn more about programs and eligibility criteria, visit http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/Page1924.aspx. For more information, contact Sandy Grey, Social Housing Manager, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2401 or Nancy Green, Director of Social Services, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2101.

  • 2014 Auditor’s Report Received

Council accepted the 2014 auditor’s report, which was presented by Howard Allan of Allan Chartered Accountant Professional Corporation at the corporate services committee of the whole meeting last week. He described 2014 as “a good year for Lanark County” and pointed to the budget as a critical piece of the auditing process. “Overall, operations of the county showed a surplus of the year in the range of $950,000 after depreciation,” he said. “The county improved its position by reducing debt and increasing reserves.” As part of his report, Mr. Allan made minor recommendations regarding long-term financial management tools and records retention/electronic storage. Finance staff have indicated they are “enthusiastic about a long-term financial planning tool that will enable staff to prepare scenarios and alternatives to allow council to make effective long-term decisions and may improve our success during grant applications.” Staff are also working with other municipalities regarding records retention solutions. Mr. Allan described Lanark County as “forward looking” and indicated “books and records are well done.” For more information, contact Jennie Bingley, Deputy Treasurer, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1320.

  • Applying for Solar Projects

Council has authorized applications for the Ontario Power Authority Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) Solar Program for several county-owned properties, including at McDonalds Corners Pit, King’s Pit and Bottle Lake Road Pit in Lanark Highlands; at the county buildings on Christie Lake Road in Tay Valley; and at the Desalvo property in Montague. Up to 17 applications have been authorized, and partnering municipalities will be asked to share in the cost of having an industry expert complete them. The goal of the project is to secure multiple 20-year contracts with the Ontario Power Authority to supply solar power to the electrical grid. “The FIT program offers municipalities an excellent opportunity to generate substantial return on investment while contributing to a cleaner environment,” explained County CAO Kurt Greaves. For more information, contact Kurt Greaves, County CAO, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1101.

  • “Homes4Lanark” Campaign Promoted

Social Housing Caseworker Emily Hollington made a presentation to councillors regarding the “Homes4Lanark” campaign. As part of the “10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan,” Lanark County Social Housing has launched a social media campaign from May 1 to Oct. 1, 2015 that aims to create a picture of what housing and homelessness looks like to the people of Lanark County. Visit the “Lanark County” page on Facebook or follow @LanarkCounty1 on Twitter to see the examples so far and to print a “Home Is” sheet. Participants write down what home means to them, then snap a selfie and post it online with the #Homes4Lanark hashtag or contact the department for help at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2403. All councillors were encouraged to take part in the program and to promote it. For more information, contact Emily Hollington, Social Housing Caseworker, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2403 or Nancy Green, Director of Social Services, at 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 2101. Download info poster here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ch9vlvuf71q1m91/Homes4Lanark%20poster.jpg?dl=0

  • Upcoming Meetings

PLEASE NOTE: There are no meetings scheduled in July. County Council, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 5 p.m.; Community Services, Aug. 17 (following County Council); Corporate Services, Aug. 17 (following Community Services). County Council, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 5 p.m.; Economic Development, Aug. 26 (following County Council); Public Works, Aug. 26 (following Economic Development). For more information, contact 1-888-9-LANARK, ext. 1502. Like “LanarkCounty1” on Facebook and follow “@LanarkCounty1” on Twitter!