Blue Mountain Ratepayers' Association

Grey could discuss council composition!

Originally Published: By Denis Langlois, Sun Times, Owen Sound on 

Grey County staff will soon poll council members to see if there is any appetite for cutting by half the number of elected officials at the county council table for the next council term.

Grey County.

“That’s one of the topics that we’ve committed to was whether or not we revisit council composition,” chief administrative officer Kim Wingrove said in an interview Thursday.

Any proposal to change the number of lower-tier representatives on county council after the 2018 municipal election would require triple-majority support before Dec. 31, director of council services Sharon Vokes said.

“Triple-majority is this council, then supported by the majority, which would be five, of municipalities and they would have to represent the majority of electors,” she said.

Both the mayor and deputy mayor from each of Grey County’s nine member municipalities currently sit on county council.

Last year, the county spent $376,311 on council remuneration and covered about $145,000 for benefits, mileage and other expenses.

Some counties, like neighbouring Bruce County, have only one representative from each of its member municipalities at the county council table.
Bruce County spent about $248,000 last year on wages and expenses for its eight members.

Grey County council voted in 2012, after the most recent review of council composition, to keep the number of members at 18.

Late last year, the current county council decided to try out a new meeting structure for the first six months of 2017.

Instead of having standing committees, council is to meet twice each month during the trial period as a committee of the whole. The meetings follow biweekly council meetings where matters approved at the previous committee of the whole meeting come before council for final approval.

Wingrove told council that since the trial period is coming to an end, council should decide if it wants to stick with the new structure or go back to the old one.

Coun. Paul McQueen suggested Wingrove create a questionnaire to solicit feedback from council members.

The questionnaire, Wingrove said, will also ask councillors if they would like to open a discussion on reducing the number of council members from 18 to nine.