MRC Meeting

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2024 budget approved

 Bonnie James
Local Journalism Initiative

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors’ monthly meeting was held November 22 at the MRC headquarters in Litchfield.

2024 Budget
The MRC accountant, Annie Vaillancourt, presented a balanced budget for 2024, showing an increase of 3.7%; it was approved unanimously. A press release from the MRC read: “With this budget, the MRC has given itself the means to pursue its mission of revitalizing and developing the region’s economy, while focusing on its core responsibilities, such as property assessment, public safety and land use planning. Also on the environmental front, the MRC is giving itself the capacity to meet provincial requirements for the recovery of residual materials by introducing recycling and compost collection in interested municipalities.”

Highlights of the budget include:

  • Total MRC Pontiac expenditures: $9.8 million
  • Municipal shares revenue ($4.2M)
  • Transfers, grants etc ($5.5M)
  • Appropriation from the surplus of $145,000 to balance the budget.

Expenditure by department:

  • Administration: $1,970,209
  • Public Safety and Engineering: $459,187
  • Assessment: $1,282,423
  • Land Use Planning and Development: $1,827,227
  • Economic Development Projects and Activities: $3,523,363
  • Transportation: $634,500
  • Renovation programs: $31,500
  • Financing costs and capital expenditures: $110,319
  • Warden election costs by universal vote (pro-rated over four years): $20,000

FRR Stream 2 projects approved
Of 14 project applications received, five were approved:

  • The Fort-Coulonge Knights of Columbus will receive $41,982.48 to install insulation and ventilation in the attic of their community hall.
  • Groupe L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet’s Honouring Our Roots project will receive $36,178.26 to build a gazebo.
  • The Municipality of Thorne will receive $33,191.85 towards the second phase of development of the multi-complex.
  • The Municipality of Otter Lake will receive $26,000 to build a rest area as part of the development of the recreational grounds.
  • The Municipality of L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet will receive $66,201.90 for the development of La Jeunesse Park.

The total amount of funds to be distributed is $203,554.49.

Piscine Pontiac pool project
The mayors moved to support steps taken by Piscine Pontiac to establish a public swimming pool. The Piscine Pontiac organization will be submitting an application for funding to Quebec’s Financial Assistance Program for Recreational, Sports and Outdoor Infrastructure (PAFIRSPA) on December 5. MRC Warden Jane Toller said that an answer is expected in June.

The proposed facility includes two swimming pools, but no gym, as previously planned. The project is expected to cost $12.2 million with 90% funded by the provincial government. Piscine Pontiac will need to raise the final $1.2 million for the build. Toller said the pool will be set up as a non-profit organization and its operation and maintenance will not be taxpayer funded. Operating costs are expected to be covered by fundraising and donors as well as potential membership fees.

Legal action
Council moved to hire a law firm to “put an end to defamatory, tendentious, and derogatory comments made against the MRC and its employees on Facebook and to request the retraction of these comments.” Earlier this month, the MRC’s lawyers issued a formal notice to Pat Goyette of Fort-Coulonge regarding comments that he made on his Pontiac Independent Facebook page. The notice ordered Goyette to “immediately stop publishing any postings which call into question the integrity and transparency of the MRC” regarding Goyette’s questions about the employment of a specific staff member and their possession of an MRC credit card. The notice also ordered Goyette to retract his comments, which he later did, stating that he was doing so under duress as he couldn’t afford a legal battle with the MRC.