Mayor David Shulist says it’s time to turn over a new leaf

BARRY’S BAY – The Township of Madawaska Valley met for their regular council meeting on August 6. 
With a jammed-packed council chamber, Citizens Action Committee Member Andy Boyd started this past August 6 council meeting off with a little positivity. 
“On behalf of the committee and myself, I want to thank and commend you for the actions taken at the last council meeting,” Boyd said to councillors this past Tuesday evening. 
Boyd was referencing council’s recent decisions in regards to the water/wastewater budgetary line items – which were not pushed out onto the general tax base, after the most recent council gathering. 
“These issues quickly became strong issues within the community,” Boyd said. 
And for some time, Boyd explained, he and many others had concerns that if the changes in regards to the water/wastewater budgets went through, that this might set a future precedent for people, and municipal officials to not follow the legal agreement, which tied the local communities together back during the time of amalgamation. 
There is a clause in that agreement, Boyd went on to say, which states, “The amalgamation agreement is binding on all future councils.”
“It was our concern, that if these line items, which were being moved over onto the general tax base, would set a precedent in taking away some of the binding agreement.”
But council prevailed in favour of the people.
“And you took the role as council members and listened to your public,” Boyd said. “As a result of that, you did your research, you reconsidered the line items brought forward, you took input from your community, you worked with us – thank you.”
What’s more, the ratepayer continued, he, and many others he believes, appreciated that council was not too proud to admit that they did more research and changed their support for most of the budgetary line items. 
“I just wanted to thank you for that.”
However, Boyd also attended Tuesday’s gathering to make a few points and suggestions, which he hopes will offer room for future improvement. 
“There are some points from our committee and the community, which I would like to bring forward for your consideration.”
At the previous council meeting, most of all of the budgetary line items scheduled to shift onto the general tax base were withdrawn. 
But Boyd was quick to point out, there was an expectation that if not all of the items were withdrawn and were scheduled to move forward that the public was under the impression, there would still be a July 27 Public Information Meeting, and an August 6 voting day. 
Community members planned their summers around these scheduled gatherings, Boyd said. 
“Really, some of the public are disappointed,” the ratepayer went on to say. 
Members of the public wanted to discuss and understand how such issues came to light, Boyd continued. But that didn’t happen.
“However, we understand you were doing something proactive and you were doing your best. But you may have missed a good opportunity to interact with your communities on these issues.”
Moving forward, the ratepayer suggested council consider an annual summer meeting, so, people and council could both discuss and hear opinions. 
“This may be a wonderful way for you [council] to interact with your communities,” Boyd stressed at the recent gathering. 
Continuing on with his more than positive presentation, Boyd also went on to discuss a few budgetary line items and future septage concerns. 
Boyd explained, after hearing some of Councillor Linda Neuman’s points in regards to council honorariums at the last council meeting, that perhaps some sense could be made out of council honorariums remaining in the water/wastewater budgets. 
Story continues in the August 14, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette