Oxford Enjoys Full Council and Agenda
Oxford Town Council welcomed its newest member last night at its regular monthly meeting. Olivia Canning was acclaimed to the vacant seat, after Paul MacDonald withdrew his candidacy.
MacDonald’s withdrawal saved the town the cost of running a by-election, upwards of $10-thousand dollars.
Canning took the oath of office and the Councillor Code of Conduct to begin the evening’s proceedings. A round of applause came from fellow councillors before diving into the evening’s agenda.
Council had a handful of matters to attend, including agreeing to a staff proposal that Mervil Rushton’s bond be partially released.
Rushton is developing a new subdivision, known as “Seven Lee Way” off Little River Road. In August of last year, the Town imposed a $20-thousand dollar bond on the development, as part of an agreement that sees the town officially take over the sewer and water infrastructure he has put in place.
The partial release of that bond, says CAO Linda Cloney, is in recognition of a delay on the Town’s part relating to the sewer bylaw. With some 80% of the work complete on the road, Cloney asked that Council release half of the bond to facilitate completion of the gravelling.
In recreation matters, Councillor Chrystal MacNutt took a moment to name the members of the town’s Recreation Commission, thanking them and all volunteers for a successful “March into Spring” series of activities held over March Break.
Cloney noted that there is a new position available for a member of the public on the Inter-Municipal Poverty Reduction Committee. Meetings are held quarterly.
Councillor Carla Black, who sits on that committee, brought a proposal that Oxford join with the Town of Amherst and the Municipality of Cumberland in funding a research project known as “Pathways to Resiliency”.
The $60-thousand dollar project, of which Oxford will commit $3,000, will gather data on how “youth see their communities and what barriers prevent them from working and living here in Cumberland County”.
The project, under the auspices of Mitacs and to be conducted by former Oxford resident Hallie Tattrie (now a PhD candidate at Mount Saint Vincent University) aims to use the study to inform policy and program development that could help to retain youth in the area.
Council also approved the latest staff contracts, which see a four percent wage increase for the 2022–2023 fiscal year, and three percent for the upcoming 2023-2024 fiscal year. This affects both unionised and non-unionised staff.
The CAO noted the negotiating teams have made an oral agreement to finalise future contracts before the expiry of existing contracts to avoid a situation where back-pay must be applied. Cloney says contracts are now set for two-year terms rather than four.
Those in the public who are regular observers of Town Council meetings will need to adjust to more than just Daylight Savings Time. Council approved a change in their meeting dates, shifting them a week to enable staff reports to be ready in time for those gatherings.
Committee-of-the-Whole meetings will be held every 2nd Monday of the month, while Council meetings will move to the 4th Monday. This change takes effect in May.
Add your comments below.