Donation to West Elgin would have come at a cost

West Elgin File photo/Postmedia Network

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The new council for the Municipality of West Elgin has declined an offer for a donated painting to hang in the municipal office building in Rodney.

Council heard at its last meeting original works by New Glasgow artist Harry Wilkinson were offered in exchange for a tax receipt.

But after looking into regulations, municipal treasurer Magda Badura reported the municipality would have to pay cash for what was being offered as a donation.

“I think we would be willing hosts, but it (artwork) would have to come with no conditions,” Mayor Duncan McPhail said.

“The rules as we see them are we can accept any gift but we can’t issue tax receipts,” he added.

Council also passed a motion to decline a pay raise despite higher government levels dipping further into their compensation.

As of Jan. 1, all remuneration paid to council members became taxable.

The mayor said he was very encouraged by council’s unanimous decision to defer any pay increase until the cost of living allowance is reviewed.

Council directed staff to prepare a bylaw for employee remuneration to be discussed at a future meeting.

Having all salaried staff and hourly paid workers covered under one bylaw is “key to transparency,” municipal CAO/clerk Genevieve Scharback said.

Two dozen full-time municipal employees will be reimbursed a pro-rated amount of $1,489.60.

The figure follows changes made to employment insurance premiums.

Council voted to terminate the monthly rental fee of $34 plus HST for a water cooler at the municipal office lunch room.

The agreement began 14 years ago and while the monthly rate covers maintenance, there is an added annual cost for filters.

“Rentals are never ending,” Deputy Mayor Richard Leatham said.

“I don’t want to see staff return to bottled water which defeats what we’re trying to do,” Coun. Bonnie Rowe said.

A fish cleaning station project proposed for the Port Glasgow Marina was deferred to the 2019 budget meetings.

Council set Feb. 4 and Feb. 7 to begin budget talks.

A decision whether to declare West Elgin a willing host for a cannabis store is expected at council’s next meeting on Jan. 10.

 

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