Town council remuneration, numbers urged to stay the same

Town council’s benefits and remuneration should stay as they are, according to the final report of the Council Structure and Remuneration Committee submitted last night.
Committee chair Dan Belluz appeared before council at its regular meeting. He noted that, having met and reviewed “pertinent background materials,” the committee recommended:
•that the council structure of one mayor and six councillors be maintained;
•that the present remuneration rates for elected officials of the Corporation of the Town of Fort Frances be maintained;
•that the current package of group benefit coverage (life, dental, extended health care, travel, vision, and semi-private hospital), as provided to the management/non-union group of employees, be made available to elected officials at 100 percent cost recovery from the individual (this is the same as current policy whereby councillors pay for their benefits);
•that this current council, and all future councils, should discuss and establish remuneration for the incoming mayor and councilors at least two months prior to elections taking place; and
•that the Town of Fort Frances, as the sole shareholder of the Fort Frances Power Corp., recommend to the FFPC board that it establish a system of remuneration based on a per meeting basis, as opposed to the present per annum basis.
Currently, FFPC board members get paid $4,800/year while the chairperson gets $5,400/year. They have 12 meetings a year.
This committee was formed last summer in the wake of a 4-3 vote by council to withdraw an amended bylaw that would have seen the mayor and council get their benefits paid for in addition to their current salary.
The committee’s mandate was to:
•investigate and report to council on what is considered to be appropriate remuneration to members of council and council appointees to boards and committees of council that currently receive remuneration; and
•review and recommend to council on the optimum number of members that town council, as a body, should be comprised of in order to effectively discharge their responsibilities of office.
Also at last night’s meeting, council:
•saw Mayor Dan Onichuk, on behalf of the Town of Fort Frances, receive a certificate from Dale Smyk of Emergency Management Ontario for completion of the essential emergency management program, as required under the Emergency Management Act;
•approved a break-open ticket licence application from the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau to sell tickets at the Makabi Inn from June 14, 2005 to June 14, 2006;
•referred a letter of concern from the Fort Frances Gymnastics Club regarding the club’s water bill for April to the Operations and Facilities and Administration and Finance executive committees for a recommendation;
•referred a request from Coun. Struchan Gilson to allow large commercial vehicles to access the international bridge from Church Street, as opposed to being forced to go to the end of the line on King’s Highway, to the Police Services Board and Planning and Development executive committee for a recommendation;
•agreed to a request from the Business Improvement Association to provide assistance in securing canopies for Scott Street’s 100th birthday celebration coming up Saturday, June 25;
•referred a request from the Border Figure Skating Club regarding reduction of fees for use of facilities at the Memorial Sports Centre to the Community Services executive committee for a recommendation; and
•referred a report from Rick Hallam, superintendent of Planning and Development, regarding school crossing guards to the Planning and Development executive committee for a recommendation.

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