“It seems like a good idea,” said Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin.
Council members reviewed a report from administration on the benefits and procedures for reducing the size of township council. The proposal is to change the number of council seats from seven, with the mayor and six councilors, to five, with just four councilors.
A survey by the Associaion of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) indicated 44 per cent of Ontario’s municipalities, most of them rural, have five-member councils. Half of the municipalities in Prescott-Russell have five-member councils. The Town of Hawkesbury and Alfred-Plantagenet have seven members, including their mayors, while Champlain Township and the City of Clarence-Rockland have nine-member councils.
Reducing Alfred-Plantagenet Township council by two seats would mean an annual cost-saving of $60,000 for the municipal budget.
Council has the authority under the Ontario Municipal Act to reduce or increase the number of its members by a simple resolution and bylaw. It must do so before the start of 2022 when the next municipal election takes place.
Council can decide to eliminate two positions without having to ask voters what they think of the idea. Council, though, agreed with a recommendation from administration for a public consultation on the issue.
Administration will prepare an online survey on the topic for the municipal website. Residents will have until the end of summer to answer a short list of questions about whether or not township council should change from seven members, including the mayor, to five.