Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Council to consider restoring some services across Chatham-Kent

Municipality of Chatham-Kent Council is set to consider restoring some services across the community, which have been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A staff report indicates the following recommendations will be presented to Council at their Monday, July 20, 2020 electronic meeting:

– Opening of library curbside pick-up on August 4 at the Blenheim and Dresden branches.

– Opening of splash pads and playground equipment ASAP with physical
distancing in place.

– Opening of recreation halls and meeting rooms with physical distancing and limited to 50 people.

– Opening of the Blenheim Arena by mid-August with physical distancing in place.

– Opening of the John D. Bradley Convention Centre to groups of 50 people while following provincial regulations for physical distancing.

“If, as a result of the provincial government’s reopening strategies in Stage 3 of the pandemic, it is the will of Council to restore certain services previously decided upon to be closed for the entirety of the spring/summer seasons, then it is recommended that Council approve the (above recommendations) understanding this reduces the $140,000 savings that were attached to these closures,” Gord Quinton, Chatham-Kent’s chief financial officer and treasurer, said in his report.

“This report is seeking the direction from Council on previous decisions regarding the reduction of services and/or closing of services now that we are entering Stage 3 of the pandemic which permits some openings under the Ministry of Health (MOH) and our local Medical Officer of Health (MOH) guidelines.”

Further details about the recommendations are outlined in the following chart:

“Other services were analyzed and no changes are currently recommended,” Quinton said in his report.

“This report is written through a financial lens and therefore focuses on the cost implications of re-opening services and facilities.”

At their May 11, 2020 meeting, Council approved motions to recover $2-million of tax dollars to “responsibly respond to the financial pressures” on municipal operations, not directly impacted by COVID-19, Quinton said, adding that a further $450,000 in savings were reduced. following the Stage 2 reopening and subsequent Council decision.

Quinton said when looking solely through just a financial lens, administration would not be recommending the openings.

“That said, the executive management team also recognizes the social and economic recovery needs of the community and therefore recommended
certain openings,” Quinton added.

“These openings require the re-implementation of $140,000 of budgeted costs which reduces the savings Council otherwise could have used to offset pandemic costs.”

Quinton added: “The executive management team will continue to monitor the re-openings associated with Stage 3 and will adjust services after September 1 where practical.”

Monday’s Council meeting begins at 6 p.m.

A LIVE stream of the meeting can be viewed, here.

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