MRC Meeting – Agrisaveur moves ahead

Le Père Noël a fait irruption dans la réunion MRC du 20 décembre pour savoir si les maires avaient été méchants ou gentils et pour ramasser des marchandises sèches pour Bouffe

Bonnie James
Local Journalism Initiative

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors’ monthly meeting was held December 20 at the MRC headquarters in Litchfield.

TNO budget
The evening started with the unorganized territory (TNO) council meeting and the presentation and approval of a balanced budget for 2024 of $880,770.

Road maintenance is the TNO’s main expense, comprising 56% of the territory’s budget, followed by general administration, at 22%. Other expenses include investments, public security, land use and regional development, and waste management.

The majority of the TNO’s revenue comes from taxes and the land development fund, creating 23% of the total revenues each, with additional revenues coming from services and government funding. The TNO tax rate will not increase in 2024, remaining at 69 cents per $100 of valuation.

The investment portion of the budget included the acquisition of a new truck and side-by-side for $86,500. The purchase of the side-by-side will be in partnership with the MRC.

Public question period
Jamie Buelow, owner of several local properties, was present to ask for the MRC’s support in addressing his allegations of misconduct by the Sûreté du Québec and problems with vehicle licensing.

MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller said that the MRC’s law firm, RPGL Avocats, is preparing a letter of explanation for Buelow. She said that she would investigate the situation and follow up with him personally.

There was significant movement for the Agrisaveur agri-food processing project.

Council moved to accept the management framework created by the project’s steering committee and to put out a public call for tenders for management of the project for the 2024 year.

The MRC was advised by its lawyers and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) that a nonprofit organization would need to be created for ownership of the Agrisaveur property and to manage operations. The steering committee recommended that the founding members of the Agrisaveur nonprofit be the Director General of the MRC, Kim Lesage; one member of the council of mayors, Sandra Armstrong; and the president of the Pontiac division of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA-P): Claude Vallières. Two more seats remain to be filled by one representative from the agriculture or food processing industries and one representative from the business or finance sector.

Council moved to legally create the nonprofit organization with the proposed founding members. The economic development department sought out a firm to conduct market research for the acquisition of equipment for the Agrisaveur facility and hired the Mallette firm for $62,500.

Éco Enterprise Québec (ÉEQ), the provinial body responsible for recycling, oversees agreements between sorting centres and municipal organizations. The ÉEQ is seeking to consolidate one agreement for the MRC, rather than 18 agreements with the individual municipalities.A resolution was put forward to sign a framework agreement with the ÉEQ to formalize the relationship and define the roles and responsibilities of the MRC and the municipalities.

L’Isle-aux-Allumettes Mayor Corey Spence expressed concern about what financial impact the agreement might have on municipalities. Warden Toller responded that it’s an agreement in principle to demonstrate the MRC’s intention to move ahead, and that there would be no financial impact at this stage.Shawville Mayor Bill McCleary asked how the agreement would affect the municipalities’ existing recycling agreements. DG Lesage explained that the agreement would only come into effect on January 1, 2025, after the existing agreements have expired.

Council moved to confirm that the MRC will sign the framework agreement with the ÉEQ.