Size of Cornwall council under review

Cornwall Coun. Mark MacDonald, seen here in a December 2014 council meeting, is asking for a report on the size of council. MacDonald would like to see any changes take place before the 2018 municipal election. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Ahead of next year’s municipal election, city councillor Mark MacDonald wants to know whether the municipal government should be represented by 10 councillors.

“It would be nice to know what our legislative needs are, exactly how many councillors do we actually need,” Coun. Mark MacDonald said Monday night.

MacDonald, supported by Coun. Bernadette Clement, has asked for a report on the size of council, which will look at what other municipalities are doing with their council makeup.

“We talk about costs and expenses and how expensive it is to run this city…that includes the council budget,” said Coun. Bernadette Clement added. “Why should be exclude the council budget from all this discussion around reduction of costs?”

But some councillors are concerned reducing the council size would lead to increased workload for attending committee meetings.

“One things we have to be very careful of…we have many committees. This has to be the year with the worst attendance at committees by council members,” Coun. Denis Carr said.

There are roughly 50 boards and committees which the City of Cornwall is responsible for having a councillor representative on the board or committee.

“Committee work is just as important as being on TV,” Carr quipped, referring to the televised regular council meeting.

“If we did reduce council and keep the same number of committee, that’s a lot of extra work to put on those people,” Coun. Claude McIntosh added.

In addition to the Monday council meeting, McIntosh said he was already booked to be at three committee meetings this week.

A report will be coming to council at a future meeting which is expected to pinpoint the mandated requirements for council and options on reducing the number of councillors in time for the next municipal election.

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