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March 11, 2020
Council this Week: Highlights from the March 11 County Council agenda

Donor presentation for Old Gaol reconstruction, tax policy, council composition review, wastewater annual report summaries and more

Presentation to Flowers family for heritage donation

County Council will formally thank and make a presentation to the Flowers family on March 11 to acknowledge a generous $250,000 donation to restore part of the Old Jail, or “Gaol,” on Buller Street in Woodstock. The donation is bestowed from the estate of the late R. Bruce Flowers. The reconstruction project it funded restored the chimneys and bartizans (overhanging turrets) that were removed in 1954, a century after the jail was constructed. The Old Gaol, which currently houses public health services, was built in the Italianate Romanesque style and retains many architecturally significant features, such as Tuscan Gothic detailing and a central pillar foundation that carries the entire weight of the building.

A light reception and display for the public will be held before County Council on March 11 at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby of the Oxford County Administration Building.


Tax policy and Tax Ratio Review Committee

Information and recommendations for 2020 tax policy are before Council on March 11, part of which are based on the report from Council’s Tax Ratio Review Committee. The ad hoc committee looked at a number of issues, particularly how recent increases in the assessed value of farmland—up to 80%-- significantly increased taxes for this class. The report noted at the same time it is residential property owners more often challenged by municipal taxes, and that under the County’s current housing crisis, any tax policy impacts on housing development should be considered. The committee is asking to extend its mandate to allow time to review how property values for the next four-year assessment cycle, 2021-2024, could affect Oxford’s tax classes.

The 2020 Tax Policy report brings forward a number of considerations to achieve fairness across tax classes, including the final migration of the multi-residential tax ratio to its provincial target; timing of any changes to the County’s tax model; further decreases of the farm tax ratio to below the provincially prescribed ratio; and areas of advocacy with the provincial government.

Read: WDN 2020-02 - Tax Ratio Review Committee Report and CS 2020-09 - 2020 Tax Policy


Council composition review

Council will receive next meeting a report outlining the process and steps to review the composition of County Council. The review is a legislated requirement, due December 1, that would see any changes enacted in the 2023-2027 Council term. Considerations before councillors are the number of Council members, ratio of area municipal representation by population, and election of the County Warden. Recommended next steps are to seek input from local area municipal councils and then hold a public meeting in June 2020.

Read: CS 2020-11 - Council Composition and Selection of Head of Council (Warden) Review


Wastewater system performance reports

Public Works brings forward the2019 Annual Wastewater Treatment Plant Summary Reportsand the 2019 Annual Biosolids Report at the March 11 Council meeting. Based on the results of 3,791 effluent samples taken over last year, six of the County’s nine municipal wastewater systems achieved 100% regulatory compliance ratings, with the remaining three receiving regulatory compliance ratings of 98%, 96% and 92%. The report to Council also summarizes solar power and operational optimization projects undertaken last year at the Woodstock and Ingersoll wastewater treatment plants respectively to offset energy consumption at those facilities.

Read: PW 2020-09 - 2019 Annual Wastewater System Performance


Other reports and presentations

  • Public meeting – Application for Official Plan Amendment OP19-14-8 – M. Grover Services Inc.
  • CP 2020-74 – Application for Official Plan Amendment OP19-14-8 – M. Grover Services Inc.
  • CP 2020-75 – Application for Draft Plan of Subdivision SB18-09-5 – Mimadala Holdings Inc.
  • CS 2020-10 – Waste Management Collection and Processing Contract Award – 2020 Budget Impact
  • PW 2020-08 – Contract Award – Rehabilitation of Bridge No. 807313 on Oxford Road 29, Blandford-Blenheim
  • PW 2020-10 – Norwich Wastewater Treatment Plant – Class EA Study Project Update
  • PW 2020-11 – Managed Forest Plan Update: 2019 Review and Operational Activity Forecast
  • HR 2020-02 – Recruitment of Chief Administrative Officer


Questions or comments?


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