Tudor and Cashel Township has a new Finance and Asset Management Committee. During their council meeting on Oct. 6, a motion was brought forth by Councillor Bob Bridger and seconded by Councillor Roy Reeds to direct Nancy Carrol, the clerk and treasurer, to draft a procedural bylaw to create this committee, and in another motion, also brought forth by Bridger and Reeds, directed Carrol to advertise for volunteers to participate in this new committee. Council sees the move as a cost saving measure, which would also draw upon the financial acumen of some of its residents to move forward with its financial and asset management plans. Carrol foresees the first meeting to take place in January 2021.
On Oct. 6, during their council meeting, council directed Carrol to draft a procedural bylaw for the creation of a Finance and Asset Management Committee. They also directed Carrol to advertise for volunteers to participate in this new committee.
At their next council meeting on Nov. 3, a bylaw to establish the new committee and the procedures governing the committee proceedings were passed with motion 2020-293, brought forward by Reeds and seconded by Bridger.
Mayor Libby Clarke says that council felt that having an asset management and financial committee would save money for the township.
“Considering we pay approximately $30,000 to have an asset management study done for the township and the firm that does it uses information gathered and provided to them by the township. Because the township has this information first hand, it was felt that if we had an asset management committee this could be done internally and along with other obvious benefits it would definitely be a cost saving factor,” she says.
Clarke stresses that council wants to ensure that they have the finances to continue to provide the services that they provide now to their ratepayers and that these services will continue into the future.
Carrol explains that finance management and asset management are two processes that are quite connected. She says that the province approved a regulation on municipal asset management planning in late 2017 that set timeframes for adapting the municipalities asset management plan to meet these regulations, and that the township continues to meet them.
“The council understands the benefits of a strong asset management and financial plan and they realize that they need to use their asset management plan to ensure that they have the finances to continue to provide the level of services that they do at this time going into the future. Council recognizes that there areratepayers that have a strong background in this field and that their input and assistance through the formation of a committee may help develop the policies and procedures that will guide council in their decision making in the future,” she says.
Councillor Noreen Reilly sees the new committee as a value to taxpayers, as it can maintain and update the plan and identify and include all township assets and make it their own.
“The township also has a modest surplus that has been built over the last decade. We have buildings, bridges and roads that need investment sooner rather than later and the committee will be key in identifying, prioritizing and presenting the findings to council. One expectation we have for the committee is designating the surplus into categories such as capital, operations, infrastructure, etc.,” she says.
Reilly feels that with a township-built Asset Management Plan and a working committee of surplus allocation, the township will remain in good financial health.
“I often resist the formation of new committees until it is proven that taxpayers will benefit. I believe this committee will do just that,” she says.
Bridger is cautiously optimistic about the new committee, and feels that if it is composed of the right people, it will provide council with options on how best to use township resources to maintain and grow their assets going into the future.
“I believe the major impetus in the formation of this committee was due to the growing unrest from a great number of people on how the township spends the tax dollars we receive from our residents,” he says.
He mentions two people who have come to council and asked these questions about how their tax dollars are being spent, Pat Schad on Steenburg Lake and Dave Hederson on Jordan Lake. He also mentions that he is friends with both Schad and Hederson.
Specifically, he says that Schad’s concerns are with the amount of taxes collected from the residents of South Steenburg Lake Road and what they feel are the lack of services provided in return. Hederson, a retired CFO with McDonald’s Canada, also has those concerns as well as questions about the amount of money Tudor and Cashel has in its reserves and what it is for.
Going forward, Bridger would like the township to explore what it would take to encourage people to become full time residents of Tudor and Cashel, to spend their money locally, and perhaps spend some of the township’s reserves to upgrade services to encourage that future growth.
“These are just a few of the issues I would hope that this committee could help give council some learned direction going forward, especially if it’s composed of people with a greater knowledge of financial matters than our current council has,” he says.
Carrol says that she will be advertising through social media and the township newsletter to assemble the new committee, and she foresees the first meeting being held in January.
“If things go very smoothly, we may be able to have an introductory meeting in December, but it would be more so to allow members the opportunity to meet each other and give some input as to where they would like to begin. There have been members of the community reaching out with an interest in the committee and I find this very exciting and hopeful,” she says. “I can see this being a very beneficial committee, with members that are working together for the municipality as a whole.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times