Council eyeing bigger government for Rainy River
By Ken Johnston
Rainy River Town Council may be getting bigger in the near future!
Mayor Deb Ewald announced at the monthly meeting of council Monday that council has been discussing making the government of Rainy River bigger again.
For most of the community's 109 years it was six councillors and a mayor. However, about a decade ago the council of the day began discussing downsizing to save the taxpayers money. Before long it was decided to move to the current size of four councillors and a mayor.
"One of the main reasons is this is supposed to be a part-time job, but it is more like a full-time one," said Mayor Ewald.
She noted that three of those on council now have served on both councils with six and four councillors. "We all feel it works better with six," she said.
Councillor Susan Carpenter said having six would allow council to tackle more issues. "We would have more time to follow through on things. Right now some do not get the full attention they need."
Councillor Larry Armstrong said, "It will allow for better committee structure as well."
Mayor Ewald said the extra cost to the taxpayers is $3,300 per extra councillor per year.
In order for this change to take effect council must act on it by Dec. 31, 2013. With that in mind they are going to call a public meeting before the next council meeting, on Oct. 15, 2013 to gather input on such a change.
"That way we will have time at November and December meetings to discuss and vote on it," said Ewald.
"We need more people to get more things done. If our community was not struggling to survive we might be able to get by with four. But at this point in time we need all the help we can get." said Ewald
•Recently a government inspector visited Rainy River looking for the gas pump/tank at Hannam Park. However, it was not there. Council had it removed last year.
However, since they did not do soil testing at the time to see if there was any leakage or contamination they have been ordered to do so this year.
Council passed a motion Monday to hire DST to do the testing at a cost of $5,279.95.
If there is contamination the town will have to pay for clean up of the area as well.
•WComm consulting was hired to look into a proposal to locate commercial agriculture operations in Rainy River. The price tag to hire them is $9,800.
•Mrs. Monica Pigeon applied for and received approval Monday evening for a 2013 Vacancy Rebate of the Property Taxes on her laundromat on Highway 11 in Rainy River.
•Two minor variances were granted to Jeff Mortimer at 94 River Ave. and Ken Larson at 108 Third St.
•A Community Festival has been declared by council for the Rainy River Walleye Tournament from Sept. 27-29, 2013.
•Council also waived building permit fees for the erection of the tent and offered town crew assistance in putting it up as an in-kind donation to the tournament.
•The question of why garbage pick up days have been moved from Monday and Tuesday to Tuesday and Wednesday was raised by the Record.
Mayor Ewald said that people have complained for a long time about pick up taking place on Stat. holidays.
"We have listened to the people," said Ewald.
Garbage pick up has been on Monday and Tuesday in Rainy River for a very long time. However, for whatever reason the contractor doing the pick up often picked up garbage on Stat. holidays, confusing people who thought it would be moved a day later when a holiday occurred.
"Now we won't have that issue. Pick up will be Tues. for the first half of town and Wed. for the second half," said Ewald.
•Town Clerk Vel Vogan received approval to attend both the AMCTO Zone 9 Fall meeting and the NOMA Conference respectively from Sept. 24-25 and 25-27 in Thunder Bay with expenses paid.
•Council approved a donation to the NOMA conference of $500.
•Mayor Ewald said the Locum House fund raising auction was a success.
She also said that each of the three participating municipalities in the project kicked in $75,000 each as a repayable loan to finish the project. "While a lot of money has been raised I think fund raising efforts will be winding up."
That means the taxpayers of the three townships will likely be on the hook for the balance of the project that was not fund raised. That figure was not available Mon. evening.
•The next council meeting will be Oct. 15, a day late due to the Thanksgiving holiday.