The United Townships of Head, Clara and Maria

Candidate Questions and Answers

Updated: 2 days ago - Created: July 10th, 2018

In order to ensure that all candidates receive the same information, if a question is posed of municipal staff, the question and answer will be posted on this page.  No question is a bad question if you don't know the answer.  It could cost you your seat.

How do we account for the gas we use while campaigning when completing our financial reports?

  • The most simple solution would be to determine a mileage rate to use for all campaign related expenses.  Track your mileage while conducting election related business and allocate the appropriate rate. This will account for gas and wear and tear on your vehicle.

When does the Grant of Permission and Acknowledgement & Consent Release of Personal Information form need to be filed by?

  • This form should be filed in the municipal office as soon as possible once you have filed your nomination paper.

​The bank didn't want to accept the "Unofficial List of Candidates" as proof that I was running for election and wouldn't let me open an account?

​Can I put posters on the Community Bulletin Boards?

  • Staff have advised candidates who have asked, that they are able to put posters on the community bulletin boards.  Technically, this is against the current Elections Signage By-Law.  The by-law was created to ensure that "signs" were erected in a controlled manner.  When reviewing the by-law, neither staff nor council members noticed or considered the impact of the definication of "signs" which includes the word "poster" and the consequence of not being able to put posters up on the community bulletin boards.
  • It is staff intention to propose an amendment to the Elections Signage By-law at the September meeting, which will allow the use of community bulletin boards for election posters.  It will be recommended that election posters not be allowed at the Municipal office building as it is also the voting location.
  • Update*** It has been brought to my attention that the General Election Policy and Guidelines contradict the Election Sign By-Law as it relates to the use of the Community Bulletin Boards and Road Allowances.  As the clerk, responsible for overseeing all aspects of a municipal election, and based on the new information it has been decided that moving forward:
  •        Posters are allowed to be posted as per the General Elections Policy and Guidelines; and
  •        Signs are to be erected as per the Elections Sign By-law.

Why do some area businesses receive 208 free garbage tags a year when residents only receive 52?

  • The committee formed to review the Waste Management By-Law back in 2011 and make recommendations to council suggested that 52 free tags per week be provided to each household.  During discussion, the Council of the day approved that recommendation and further amended the draft by-law by providing the extra tags to business owners to help offset the new costs of paying for waste produced over and above the approved free (1 bag per week) limit.  It was an “olive branch” to ease the cost of transition for the owners in suddenly having to pay for garbage disposal.
  • Not all business operators receive those extra tags; this error was that of staff in implementing the program.  Existing campgrounds and two other businesses have received that number of bags since roll out.  Since that time, other business owners have contacted staff who have provided them with an increased number of bags.  Some businesses have not contacted staff and in error were never given the increased number of tags.
  • Additional information may be located in these documents - Committee Recommendations and Report to Council.

Why do campgrounds only pay residential taxes?

  • The Ontario government creates legislation that municipalities and MPAC must comply with in respect to taxation for property purposes.  This legislation states that all types of business whose purpose is mainly to provide accommodation is to be taxed at the same rate as residential properties, even though they are earning money from the sale of that accommodation.  Sections of properties which provide commercial services are taxed at a commercial rate. 
  • In every municipality in Ontario, any property which provides accommodation be it a campground, motel, bed and breakfast etc. is taxed at the same rate as residential properties.  The overall tax bill of the property may be higher based on infrastructure (buildings etc.) but those taxes will be owing no matter if the business was open, closed, earning a profit or completely vacant.  Assessments are based on area, waterfront and infrastructure. 
  • Some HCM homeowners pay as much in taxes as some of our campgrounds simply due to their location, their size and their accessory buildings.
  • In larger centres, hotels/motels are charged business taxes, hotel taxes etc. by the municipalities in which they operate to offset the increased costs of city/town infrastructure including roads, sewage, water, waste, recycling etc.  Until the imposition of bag tags and pay for use waste collection, HCM did not collect any extra payments from businesses for any purpose.
  • Finally, aside from accommodation businesses, simply because a business is in operation on a property does not mean that commercial taxes are levied.  MPAC has rules and policies to follow when classifying properties and regularly reviews physical locations to ensure proper classification is in place.  This is not something that is the responsibility of or is completed by the municipality.

Why do people who have camping trailers on their own otherwise vacant property have to pay a "trailer fee" for months that they use the trailer?

  • As staff understands it, some decades ago, council of the day was lobbied by campground and motel owners who did not feel it was right for people who owned vacant property to use their properties for accommodation, while they paid little to the municipality in the form of taxes due to low assessed values of vacant property. (Even though these motels/campgrounds only paid residential rates.) Their goal was to ensure that council imposed a fee to offset the costs of municipal services of those people who were using our roads and dumps and not paying much in the way of taxes.
  • There was also concern that the businesses were losing income due to people camping on their vacant properties for free.  Council of the day imposed the fees at the request of those business owners.

Can I vote a proxy vote even though I am a candidate?

  • Yes, even though a candidate, you have the same opportunity to vote as anyone.  So long as a proxy form is completed accurately and not signed by the voter prior to being presented to the clerk, the proxy will be valid and you may vote the way the proxy signer has directed you to.
  • You can vote, not only for yourself but for any candidates that the signatory of the proxy has directed you to.  You can only vote for the persons that you have been directed to vote for.

If I have a proxy vote, can my spouse also vote a proxy?

  • Yes, you may vote one proxy vote for a non-relative.  If you are voting for relatives as described in the legislation, you can vote for any number of them.

I have someone who wants to vote for me but is not sure that he can because the property is owned by a group?

  • So long as the group is not a corporation, the individual can vote as he/they are all owners of the property.  If a corporation owns the property, no one can vote unless they are a permanent resident and can vote as a resident.

As a candidate, can I send in an anonymous question to the all candidate's meeting?

  • I don't see why not, you are an elector in HCM as well as any other person and your concerns are just as valid.

I have someone who wants to vote for me but doesn't know if he can because he is a member of a MNRF leased camp?

  • MNRF lessees are entitled to vote.  If they are not already, they must have their name added to the voter's list.  In order to have your name put on the voter's list, you have to provide proof of address/residency/ownership.  With a lease, the individual's name should be on the lease agreement with the MNRF.  There needs to be a paper trail.
  • If a member of an association, which is not incorporated, there must be some type of legal agreement which names all members.  Each of these people are then permitted to apply to have their name added to the voter's list.
  • Members of corporations are not entitled to vote; if the camp ownership is a corporation, there can not be names added to the voter'slist, unless they are permanent residents of the property.
  • Note***I am still researching this response and will add more as it becomes available.

Could you please tell me what the mill rate for garbage is on our taxes.

  • Ontario municipalities no longer calculate their tax rate as a mill rate.
  • The tax rates for Head, Clara & Maria for 2018 are as on the attached by-law.  The amount of money that goes towards waste management including recycling is in the attached budget working document prepared prior to Council passing its budget by-law and adopting tax rates for 2018.   If you so choose, I expect you can determine a mill rate for garbage from this document however; that is not something that the municipality (or any Ontario municipality) calculates or records.  Of a total budget of $1,217,586 (including the Recreation committee and all special purpose grants) waste management costs are budgeted as $66,150 for 2018.  (excluded from that are Waste Management wages and payroll expenses as due to privacy and confidentiality reasons, all wages for each department are combined in one account under Admin.)

  • Alternately, you can go onto the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website and review the FIR or Financial Information Return which displays the costs of services from one year to the next.  You may locate that information here.

We would like to know the following;

How much money does Council put into Rec?  Events, projects, expenses - i.e. wages 

How much of an increase to Liability insurance was needed re the rail bed?

How much grant moneys came in for rec projects (time frame 1-2 years) and how much of Rec's money was used for same?

What is our tax base? How is our tax dollar dispersed; policing, waste management, roads, parks, rec, etc.? Is there a graph or pie chart?

The information you have requested is basically available on the municipal website.  The budgets are created to separate spending into categories – generally.  Special projects are identified as well.  They may be found here -  and will be updated shortly to provide for 2016-2018 info.  (This may be found by searching the Agenda and Reports to Council pages for Budget documentation as well.)

When it comes to Recreation – the Rec budget is its own entity except for Parks and Boat Launches. On the working documents for 2018 – all funding for the Recreation Department is earned by the Rec committee.  Council’s only contribution to the $33,300 is the $2,500 committed to Canada Day.

As for staffing – the Recreation position, beginning in 2018 in July will cost Council $15,000 per year.  This position is responsible for recreation as well as general office admin when there is a lull in recreation business including: parks and boat launches, programming, support for the recreation committee, event planning and support, managing the bar and hall rentals, food vendor certificates, water sampling and much more.

Basically for $15,000 per year (beginning in 2019), the community earns approximately the same in profit ($15,000) which over the past 3-4 years has gone into play structures, park improvements, community centre facility improvements, the lending hub etc..  The position pays for itself through rec committee profits which go into the community.  Without this support, volunteers could not host the programming they do.

The increase in insurance has not been completed yet as renewal is later this month.  The cost from $25 mil to $50 mil will only by $1,500 as recommended by our insurer.

The information about grant money is listed separately on the budget working documents.  If you go through them, if not identified in the account name – there will be comments to explain in the definitions column to the far right.

I’m not certain what you mean about what is our tax base?  I have attached the most recent documents provided by the County of Renfrew comparing us with others in the County with respect to taxation – showing what we keep, what the county gets and what we must send to the province.

The first chart shows rates across the county and across all tax classes.  You will see that ours is considerably lower than most. You need to consider the funding from the Federal government for the base in Petawawa and Laurentian Valley which are our closest comparators.

The second spreadsheet shows the amount of money the municipality will earn and keep from taxation for 2018 for all classes.  From residential properties – it is only $129,357. Things would be significantly different without the pipeline.  So when people complain about the amount of taxes they pay…this is what stays in Head, Clara & Maria at .00247867%.  The amount that is forwarded to the County is .00362193% - more than we keep for our own purposes.

We do not have a graph or pie chart but the answer to the question, how much goes to each expense is listed in the Budget – Working Document in detail as well as by Department in the Budget document

This information hasn’t been updated on our website since 2016 but will be completed today.  I have attached 2018’s working document and budget document for review for now.

Is there a document that clearly defines the differences between posters, bulletins, and signs?

No there is not.

Just clarifying some info as I try to collect grant spending re last nights meeting...Account " Recreation Special Projects" and "Rec Expenses" both show $4000 to Canada Day. (From the 2017 Draft Working Document)

Please bear with me as this is Noella’s area of expertise. 

The line from below which is in error is the one beside the “Special Projects” account.  It should be $4,000 less.  You can see beside that notation that there are question marks – I would assume that Noella had to confirm (with me) which account Canada Day was under – made draft notations in both lines and then didn’t remove the incorrect one.  We both missed it.  Canada Day budget is included accurately in Rec Budget total of $27,775.  Council’s $4,000 is there.

Under "Special Projects", the extra $4,000 which was added in error was not recorded as an expense.  Expenses amounted to the other grants listed (see below) – although some funds were not received until 2018.  This is where the auditor comes in and assists with checking year end to ensure that deferred grants are allocated correctly and shown on the books as owing but not yet received.  This is not something that is reflected in the budget but instead in financial statements which are created by the auditor.  He ensures that funds are recorded as expensed and received in the appropriate year.  Often these grants roll over year end making it a little more difficult to see in budget reports - hence the year end financial statements and accounting adjusting entries as verified by our auditor.  Each of these grants will also have final financial reports provided to the grantor which ensure that funds were spent as per their requirements and checked by our auditor.

The other various grants are as follows: $10,884 NHSP (Federal) / $8,000 Seniors Grant (Provincial) / $52,036 Ont. 150-3 OMP Washrooms / $7,700 Ball Diamond - Trillium / $7,250 Playground equip installation /  $4,800 Natural Playscape installation.  All of these other funds have been received and expensed through various programming but not necessarily at these amounts, as some projects come in under and some on budget.  If there are any that are over budget, they are brought to Council’s attention for approval.

Mr Chartrand indicated we had a million dollars in reserves, where does that number show up?

This information was presented to Council  in the Report to Council #20/06/18/1001 prior to adopting the 2018 budget:

"HCM has no debt and has reserves totalling $ 830,990 prior to this budget being passed and $918,990 should council follow staff recommendations. Assuming Council adopts the above resolution, there will be zero surplus forecast for 2018 year end."  

As the budget was adopted as recommended, reserves now total $918,990.  

The reserves sheet was also added last week to the Administration and Finance page on the municipal website at this link.

Office Closure on Thursdays - Township office is closed on Thursdays so staff can get caught up.   I'm thinking this would be due to Noella being off, and Crystal needing to work uninterrupted to keep abreast of things. I also am thinking that the Clerk's (Melinda) load would be impacted by the constant need for information and answering complaints so would also need the time to get updated especially for time sensitive items.

We opened up on Thursdays after we opened the new office last year but with Noella off, we are having a hard time keeping caught up while at the same time attempting to learn new processes that neither of us have ever done before.

Report is here.

Winter Access to Mackey Park - I didn't see this one in Q&A so can you tell me what the issue is for this and maybe explain what   happened regarding  snow barrieres being plowedd up after the locals cleared it out themselves.   Why would locals not be allowed to save some taxpayer bucks to do this?

What seems like a simple request, is much more complicated than most people would expect.  The simplest explanation would be trespass on municipal property closed for the season. The reasons behind it are much more involved and are outlined below.  It may seem at first glance that you are “saving some taxpayer bucks” but as usual, there is much more to consider.  Once Council has all the information in front of them, they may make a decision moving forward.

The municipality has a policy which prevents people not employed by or contracted with the municipality from working on municipal property.  This is due in part to legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Occupier’s Liability Act, the Municipal Act and the Negligence Act.  It also involves the potential for damages and liability under the Highway Traffic Act for roads not properly maintained to legislated Minimum Maintenance Standards.

Staff in 2017-2018 were responding to the situation as per existing Council policy.  People are not allowed to work on municipal property AND Jennings Road is only to be plowed to the turnaround at the graveyard.  We did not have the authority to ask our contractor to extend his plowing. We were concerned with the issues as per legislation above. 

People are concerned with staff making decisions not authorized by Council, yet complain when they follow council policy and direction.  We did not have the authority to do anything different.  Charges could have been laid for people working on municipal roads without permission.

In the past, there was considerable discussion about the costs of plowing Jennings Road from Mrs. Condie’s driveway to the graveyard to allow access for Mr. VanderHorn and/or the Boy Scouts.  Ratepayers did not want council spending their money for things that didn’t benefit them.  Staff were in a lose/lose situation, so obtained legal advice and are bringing this situation back to council for direction moving forward as is our job.

If the road was not plowed back in by staff in January, and left accessible, and someone became injured or damaged their vehicle while on municipal property, the municipality would be liable. If the roads were not maintained appropriately, the municipality could be sued and would lose.

In order to correct the situation for the 2018-2019 winter season, staff followed council direction and consulted with the municipal counsel and obtained a legal opinion which I have attached for your information.  This was to be brought to the new Council in December for decision – and will.

Legal Opinion Received but not yet discussed at Council.

While out today, a voter and his proxy asked about the form and which boxes are to be completed in advance of election or advanced poll day. They showed me the form with boxes A-C completed and I noted Box D and Box E not completed. They had taken the form to the Municipal Office and were told to take both pages of the form (carbon copy form) to vote. Are the boxes not to be completed in the presence of you along with your signature etc. prior to voting day and  Box F at time of voting only, or are all 3 to be done at time of voting.

Another issue is that I noted a witness signature in Box 3 of the carbon copy form your office provided and my form of which I printed off the links you have provided does not have a witness signature on the form in Box C. My form is dated 2018/04.

My apologies for this situation.  Front office staff were working with this gentleman on the proxy form last week, and I misunderstood the situation.  I was under the impression that there was only one person in the office, the person appointing a proxy.  I did not realize that the appointee was also there.

Had I realized that, yes, both gentlemen would have signed the forms and I would have kept one copy.  As it is, there is really no problem in that the appointee can simply bring the form with him when he votes, and he can have his form authorized at that time.  There will be a qualified individual there to authorize proxies at both the advance poll and on election day.  My apologies for my error, however; there is an easy fix.

As to the forms, either will be accepted.  The most up to date form does not have a witness signature, the Ministry changes forms routinely.  The older form, which we had a supply of does.  If someone brings a carbon form with or without the witness signature it will be accepted.  From the office, we will use only the newer form from this point forward.

Form 9 – Can they be filled out before voting day?

If you look at the form, it states that the form must be filled out at the voting place.  What I have done however; is provided an individual with a copy of the form – explained to him that it has to be filled out there but he could take a copy with him to review to ensure that he understands what he will be required to do at the voting location on voting day.

All instructions on these forms will be printed right on them; the elections personnel will be trained to follow those instructions and to assist voter’s in whatever capacity is required.

Form EL26 and EL15 are they only available at the polls

EL15 – Application to Amend Voter’s List – Copies are available at the municipal office.  You may also find them on our webpage.

EL 26 – Is a form for election personnel to complete.  It is a list of electors who have been objected to under paragraphs 2 and 3 of subsection 52(1) of the MEA.  It is not normally required.

Any Oath that is required will be provided at the voting place.  Election Personnel will be trained to assist in any way necessary to ensure that a voter has the opportunity to vote.

Have we hired a bylaw officer, if so, who has been hired? Was the job posted on our website or any other media?

We have not hired a by-law enforcement officer.  Bob Labre has provided this service to us to date.  We will begin the process of creating a new position, with a proper job description, training, policies and procedures.  Much work must be completed before we get to this position and with elections and Noella being away, we simply have not had time.

Once a job description and position have been created, staff will follow municipal procedure to advertise for and hire for the position.  This may be some months in happening due to other demands.

Do we have a noise by-law?

Head, Clara & Maria does not have a noise by-law.  We have few by-laws which require active enforcement.  Past councils made a conscious decision to not be too restrictive in this rural, sparsely populated area.  For years it has worked.  With people disrespecting our lack of rules…we will be forced to create more and actively enforce them.  This was one of the findings of the stakeholder consultation meetings earlier this year which resulted in ATV and snowmobile by-laws being created.