It is unfortunate that Earl got the impression that the message was “nasty” but that was not my intent. I had sent my email to request further information, as I am concerned about the downtown area and want to gather as much information as possible to make sure I have all the facts before making any decisions.
I am concerned about the amount of time that the DDB is focusing on waste management with the many issues that are facing our downtown core.
I had requested a meeting last week with the Mayor regarding this issue and there is a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 with the Waste Management committee.
I am also concerned about costs as the City does provide a second garbage pick up to the Talbot area between Stanley and Balaclava. This is in an effort to assist with the waste management of this area and is at no additional cost to the DDB. I wanted more information from the DDB, as I am wondering if further education needs to be done for the storeowners and tenants in this area.
I want to ensure our downtown streetscape is welcoming for all.
Hot off the press Friday: public sector salary disclosures for 2014.
Now the city hall figures were released earlier this month and to recap, a total of 96 employees earned greater than $100,000, a more than 50% increase over the 2013 total of 62.
Breaking that number down, 33 members of the St. Thomas Police Service are now included, up from 16 in 2013.
Over at the fire department, 48 employees earned $100,000 or more in 2014 as compared to 32 the year previous.
And 15 city administrators exceed that figure, an increase of one over 2013.
Topping the earnings list at city hall was CAO Wendell Graves at $172,372 ($165,900 in 2013). John Dewancker, director of environmental services, earned $139,693 as compared to $132,309 the previous year and Graham Dart, director of human resources, had a salary of $127,839 in 2014 ($124,784). Continue reading
Honestly, you cannot make things like this up. When walking along Talbot St. on Wednesday to take photos of garbage in the downtown core, homeless advocate Jason McComb commented on a study undertaken by the city this winter to determine what happens when you take away most of the garbage cans.
Now Jason, employed in the past by the Downtown Development Board — at minimum wage — to clear Talbot St. of garbage each day, doesn’t mince his words but I had to challenge him on the veracity of this so-called study.
He stood his ground and that left this corner to call Earl Taylor, DDB chairman, to get the skinny on downtown garbage and why Jason is no longer permitted to pick up trash, even on his own time. Continue reading
The ‘re-designation’ of 240 students to Port Stanley Public School was one of several short-term solutions considered, advises a member of the school council at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School.
And one of the options would have seen those students returning to Wellington Public School, where most of them attended prior to the opening of their new home in the former Homedale Senior Elementary School.
It’s a possibility that may yet see the light of day, advises St. Thomas CAO Wendell Graves.
“Anything is possible,” Graves says. “One of the committees of council relates to the courthouse/Wellington block area and they have met a couple of times to work through a couple of potential strategies for that Wellington block which Algoma (University) will be done with at the end of the school year.
“We’re also going to be setting up a council/Thames Valley District School Board liaison meeting where we want to talk about some common issues in the city so that would be one that is on our agenda to talk to them about in terms of French Immersion.” Continue reading
The paperwork was ready Monday, however members of council were hesitant to seal the deal.
The desire by two councillors for further information on a tax-exemption request for church-owned property at 320 Highbury Ave. led to temporarily shelving a ready-to-endorse bylaw.
Councillors Joan Rymal and Linda Stevenson sought input from city staff on possible repercussions from the pending bylaw to waive the municipal property tax at Bearing Precious Seed, where printed material produced for Bible Baptist Church is assembled for mailout to households across Canada.
Mayor Heather Jackson backed both councillors, noting she “supported further dialogue.”
A motion to postpone proceeding with the bylaw was approved by a narrow 4-3 margin with councillors Jeff Kohler, Mark Burgess and Gary Clarke opposed to further delay.
Coun. Steve Wookey was absent from Monday’s meeting.
Rymal told the Times-Journal on Tuesday, “I am just pleased we can at least get the input from staff. I think it’s a bit dangerous of council to go ahead and make a decision without getting all the input from staff because we’re not the experts.”
Rymal added she has heard feedback from some ratepayers on the request from Bible Baptist Church.
“I’ve heard concerns we are setting a precedent and we’re going to be having all sorts of organizations . . . looking for the same tax relief.”
Stevenson, meantime, had asked for a staff report last week following a deputation to council by Pastor Al Stone of Bible Baptist Church. Continue reading
The sheer popularity of the program will send senior students at Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion School on to buses and out of St. Thomas.
And that has one parent taking to Facebook to challenge the decision by Thames Valley District School Board to “re-designate” students to Port Stanley Public School, beginning in September.
A letter was sent home with students Friday outlining the plan to address overcrowding at the board’s lone French Immersion school in Elgin.
“Parents in the Pierre Elliott French Immersion Public School community have expressed concerns about the overcrowding and have asked the Thames Valley District School Board to look at options for accommodating French Immersion students in more than one school,” writes Don Macpherson, superintendent of student achievement. Continue reading
In a deputation Monday at city hall, Pastor Al Stone of Bible Baptist Church urged council to deem property it has owned since 2007 at 320 Highbury Ave. as tax exempt.
Members sympathized with the request and a bylaw to waive the municipal property tax at the building where printed material is assembled for mailout could be in front of council as early as Monday.
Council was not unanimous in its decision and this corner approached Coun. Joan Rymal to ascertain her concerns.
Rymal advised she had been in contact with Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) which is responsible for property assessment across the province. Continue reading
Members of the city’s police and fire service account for an overwhelming majority of members in the Sunshine Club each year and 2014 was no exception.
Of the 96 city employees who earned greater than $100,000 last year, 81 work are based at the police station or fire halls.
This corner talked at length last week with Chief Darryl Pinnell who made it very clear, “A lot of it has to do with base salaries now. Things are getting up to the point where base salaries are getting close to that ($100,000) number.”
Likewise, we had a lengthy dialogue with Chief Rob Broadbent on the factors impacting the salaries of firefighters.
“If you look at the Sunshine List this year, you’re going to see a number of firefighters on it versus officers. It’s not uncommon for our officers to be there just by pay grids. Tack a few call-back fires or overtime shifts on top of an officer’s salary and it doesn’t take very much for them to bump over the $100,000 threshold.”