Roses by any other name apparently cost nearly $11,000 in Southwest Middlesex.

The question of planters and flower pots was brought up by Coun. Martin Vink after he saw a cheque on the vouchers available to council that was written out for $10,928 to Ed’s Concrete Products.

The municipality has a sponsorship program for the baskets and planters put out every spring in Appin, Glencoe, Melbourne, Middlemiss and Wardsville. Its website under the Parks and Recreation department says there are going to be 80 flower baskets and 19 planters available to sponsor. The cost to purchase and maintain the baskets are $120 each, though you can pick a specific basket and get your name on them for $80 before April 3.

Council and new CAO Mike Henry were taken aback by the cost, and Henry promised more investigation to make sure the beautification budget was spent correctly.

“I would like the opportunity to check on a few other items. As far as the product, I’m not even sure what the product is. Planters, I’ve hear the word boxes, I’ve hear pillars, I’ve heard all kinds of things,” Henry told council at its Feb. 22 meeting.

“But this is not something I have been privy to up to date, and not a practice I would have undertaken moving forward in a project that once you’ve satisfied the scope, well then the opportunity for council to either utilize those funds and/or put them back into reserves should be offered at that occasion,” he explained.

“What I can do is update via email and we can set it aside. If council would like to see if I can overturn this purchase, I can certainly see if I can give that a try as well,” added Henry.

Deputy Mayor Mike Sholdice said the CAO’s explanation alleviated most of his concerns but was hoping to get an official staff report.

“I’m in favour of beautifying these downtown areas but I would really like it to be at council’s direction, and that we could have different options to look at instead of what we already have. I haven’t received a lot of positive comments on the ones from last year,” said Sholdice.

He also said the weight of the planters requires machinery that would add extra work if they were put in communities other than Glencoe.

Council decided to pass a motion on the advice of the CAO to put the order on hold, leave the credit on the account with Ed’s Concrete Products, and have staff bring in other options at a future meeting. It was passed unanimously with Ward two Coun. Joel Haggith unable to make the meeting.

By Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 07, 2023 at 12:04

This item reprinted with permission from   Middlesex Banner   Aisla Craig, Ontario

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