SDG Counties Regular Council Meeting – March 18, 2024

Jason Setnyk
SDG Counties Regular Council Meeting – March 18, 2024
North Stormont Deputy Mayor Steve Densham and South Glengarry Mayor Lachlan McDonald at an SDG Counties Council Meeting. (Photo : Jason Setnyk )

Cornwall, Ontario – On March 18, 2024, the Council of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SDG) held their monthly meeting. Here are some of the key highlights.

Donations Approved

SDG council approved donations totaling $431,979 for various organizations and initiatives, including $15,000 for the St. Lawrence River Institute, $18,000 for county fairs, and $35,000 for the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network. Additionally, significant funds were allocated to the United Way Last Resort Program and the Social Development Council from the SDG Council Donations Reserve and Working Reserve, reflecting the SDG council’s commitment to supporting social development in the region.

Endorsing a Resolution to the Province

Next, in response to the financial challenges faced by municipalities via offloading, SDG council endorsed a resolution calling on the Province of Ontario to undertake a comprehensive social and economic prosperity review with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). This review aims to promote the stability and sustainability of municipal finances across Ontario, addressing issues such as inflation, rising interest rates, and provincial policy decisions that constrain municipal fiscal capacity.

Infrastructure Investments and Maintenance

SDG Council approved the allocation of funds from the 2023 reserves to various projects for 2024, including $924,443 for road projects, $1,812,286.06 for the Now Needs Roads Reserve, and $971,686 for the Bridge Reserve. In addition, SDG council accepted a joint tender from Miller Paving Ltd for micro surfacing on various roads, totaling $485,845.75 plus HST. This preventive maintenance treatment will extend the service life of deteriorated roads, ensuring safer and more efficient transportation in the region. Council also approved a joint tender from Provincial Road Markings Inc. for centreline pavement markings at a total cost of $617,209.00 plus HST for 2024. This annual maintenance activity is crucial for road safety and was included in the 2024 budget. In addition, Council accepted a tender from Eastern Farm Machinery Ltd. for the purchase of two boom flail mowers at a total price of $53,620.00. These mowers will be used to maintain hard-to-reach areas of the roadsides, enhancing road safety and aesthetics.

Land Re-designation in North Glengarry

An official plan amendment was approved to re-designate approximately 13.3 hectares of land in the Township of North Glengarry from the “Residential District” to the “Employment District” to permit the expansion of the existing MacEwen Agricentre facility in Maxville. This amendment will contribute to the economic base and employment opportunities in the area.

SDG Library Lease Agreements Update

The SDG Library Lease Agreements, which establish the terms for the use of municipally owned premises by the SDG Library, expired on December 31, 2022. A working group, including representatives from SDG Library and various local municipalities, met on November 23, 2023, and February 13, 2024, to discuss and review a draft of the updated Lease Agreement. The discussions focused on ensuring equal levels of service across all municipalities, standardizing responsibilities such as pest control and maintenance, and determining fair compensation for the use of municipal facilities, with a suggestion to include an Annual CPI Adjustment in the agreement. The comments from the meetings will be compiled and reviewed by the Library Board and CAOs before being presented for adoption to each local council.

Economic Development Initiatives

The Economic Development division of SDG Counties has been actively promoting growth and supporting businesses in the region through various initiatives in 2023 and 2024. These initiatives include the administration of the Regional Incentives Program, which distributed $292,794.44 in grants to 16 successful applicants in 2023, and is expected to have a single intake in 2024 with $329,660.47 budgeted. Business retention and expansion efforts have seen the division meet with over 75 new or expanding businesses, host familiarization tours, create a newsletter, and launch social media channels for “Made in SDG.” Medical recruitment has become a priority, with efforts including joining the Great River Ontario Health Team, hosting a health recruitment summit, and launching the “Date My County: Great River Docs” medical recruitment campaign. The division has also supported workforce development through job fairs and collaborations with educational institutions, and is preparing to update its five-year strategic plan in 2024.

Planning for SDG Municipal Summit 2024

The SDG Municipal Summit is a full-day session that has been hosted in 2013, 2016, and 2019, providing an opportunity for local municipalities within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SDG) to meet, network, and share projects or programs of regional interest. The session is open to all elected officials and members of their administration, and may include guest speakers on relevant topics. The administration is seeking feedback from the SDG Council on planning another SDG Municipal Summit, with potential dates being considered for late May or early June 2024.

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