Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pre-COVID-19 service levels debated during Chatham-Kent Council meeting

Chatham-Kent Council moved forward with restoring certain pre-COVID-19 service levels on Monday night, September 21, 2020.

However, a separate motion to return all services to pre-COVID-19 levels, was sent back to administration.

South Kent Councillor Anthony Ceccacci entered a successful motion on Monday, which directed staff to return to the normal service levels for community beautification going forward.

“With regards to downtown banners, decorations, flower baskets and barricade installation for special events,” Ceccacci said in his motion.

“The beautification of our community continues to be an important part of Chatham-Kent during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Ceccacci’s motion further directed staff that work normally supported by the Public Works Department, in regards to hanging banners and decorations during Remembrance day and the holiday season, would resume to normal standards.

Wallaceburg Councillor Carmen McGregor said Ceccacci’s motion will help support the Legion Branches across Chatham-Kent, who “are struggling financially due to COVID.

“This is something to help them move the Remembrance Day services forward. It’s my understanding that many will be virtual in manner or very low key events. This is one way we can help them recognize our Veterans by helping them get their signs up and the memorial signs on the banners.”

McGregor added: “If we’re doing that, it certainly makes sense to be pulling one down and switching it out to help our communities support the Christmas season coming forward in a manner to at least light up our communities.”

Following the vote on Ceccacci’s motion, South Kent Councillor Mary Clare Latimer entered a motion to return to full 2020 pre-COVID-19 approved budget service levels, for all remaining services, for the remainder of the year.

“Where warranted by demonstrated community demand and where allowed under COVID-19 Public Health restrictions,” Latimer said in her motion.

Latmier also requested a full variance report be provided to Council before the 2020 budget deliberations.

After saying he was “struggling” with Latmier’s motion, Wallaceburg Councillor Aaron Hall made a successful motion to refer it back to staff.

“I really appreciate what Councillor Latimer’s intent is with this motion, I guess I’m just concerned that this motion may provide a bit of false sense to the community,” Hall said.

“Some of the programs and services, they may not be ready… or they may not be able to continue right now. I feel there is a lot more questions that Council should get answers to before we move forward with this.”

Hall’s referral motion directed staff to bring back a report to Council at their next meeting, which is being held electronically on Monday, October 5, 2020.

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