Two council meetings will be cancelled in North Algona Wilberforce Township during the months of July and August, but not all meetings of council that was recommended in a staff report presented at last Tuesday night’s meeting.
At the same time the township office will again be closed to the public Wednesdays for those months.
Clerk-treasurer Michelle Mantifel submitted the report for council to consider, noting council has traditionally taken a break from meetings for a period in the summer.
“It has varied from year to year and has not always been consistent,” she reported. “In 2022, the second regular meeting in July and the first regular meeting in August were cancelled.
“This year it is recommended that council suspend regular meetings for the months of July and August.”
In justifying the summer break, the report stated most capital purchases will have been awarded by June; Renfrew County suspends meetings for the summer, and the summer season is the time when township employees take vacation as well as agencies doing business with the municipality.
“It is possible that there still may be a few short special meetings called for exceptional business,” the report continued. “However, these will be only for time sensitive issues and even with a regular meeting schedule might be required.”
The clerk-treasurer and the mayor will have the authorization to act on behalf of the township if required, the report stated.
Mayor James Brose said council decided to cancel the last meeting of July and the first meeting of August, as has been the practice in past years.
“We will have a meeting the beginning of July and the end of August,” he said. “That’s basically what we did last summer. Council wasn’t comfortable cancelling meetings entirely for July and August, so we just went back to what we did last year.”
Mayor Brose said staff felt by cancelling the meetings they would have more time to focus on projects rather than on putting meeting agendas together.
“Now that out budget is done and they can move forward, they just felt that it might be a more efficient use of time and if there was something urgent that came up we could always call a special meeting,” he added.
However, council did agree with the practice of closing the township office on Wednesdays for July and August. This was done in both 2021 and 2022, allowing staff to dedicate time to work on outstanding projects and backlogged work. There were minimum interruptions to residents as the closure was in the middle of the week, the report noted.
“Staff is recommending again for 2023 that the office be closed on Wednesdays from July 5th to August 23rd inclusive,” it is recommended. “The office will remain open on August 30th because the third installment of taxes is due on August 31st.
Closing the office one day a week during the summer months will allow staff to have uninterrupted time to focus on outstanding projects and additional work required as part of the service review. It will also provide opportunities for staff training and professional development as all staff members will be able to participate and none will be excluded.”
By Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 24, 2023 at 14:59