It was a short Council meeting this past Monday, October 2nd, although one particular closed session item may warrant attention.
You can view the Council agenda at: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?expanded=542,543,79798,1965,79902&preview=86994
Now, onto that particular item we teased you with… we will have to wait and see what comes out of this into open Council in the future:
A closed Session under Sec. 239(2)(c) of the Municipal Act, 2001, a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board
- TM-17-15, Economic Development proposal
Who is buying, who is selling is anyone’s guess… but on an unrelated note, with a municipal election in about a year, timing is about right to start looking good for the big date.
Some of the other meeting highlights included:
- The term length for citizen appointees to committees. Alderman Johnston noted that 4 years is a long time. If changes are suggested, Council would have to review. Mayor Bentley noted that citizen appointments are already a lengthy process and it takes lay members some time to get up to speed once in the position.
- Lack of community gym space for user groups and the new fee structure that the Niagara Catholic District School Board is implementing.
- A 5 year lease agreement has been finalized for the tourism kiosk at Casablanca. Brian Purdy extended his thanks to Regional Councillor Bruce Timms for championing the cause.
GPI/NPI dividends – Show me the money…
Further to our previous notes on the September 18 Council minutes, Alderman Johnston stated that she was not comfortable with the 2010 GPI/NPI $122K dividend forgiveness. She suggested that a “sit down” with them was needed and that it should never have happened. Mayor Bentley suggested that the cumulative dividend amount owing to date is now closer to $734K.
Alderman Mullins interjected that the dividend was never included in receivables so there was no “write off”. A memo is being prepared as to how the monies were handled (for taking over the CO-GEN she stated) and will be broken down for Council. Watch the upcoming agendas for this one …
There seems to be quite a history of these “phantom” dividend funds in past Admin & Finance minutes – – interesting reading:
September 14, 2015 Admin & Finance Agenda: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?preview=63535
The August 12, 2015 memo from then Town Manager Keith Vogl (page 54-58) regarding Grimsby Power Inc. dividends is enlightening (and is also attached as a separate PDF).
“Following discussion by the Committee, Staff were directed to follow up with Niagara Power Incorporated to clarify the provisions of the shareholder agreement and any amendments thereto as it relates to the payment of dividends to the Town. Staff wrote NPI and recently received correspondence from Mr. James Detenbeck, Chair of NPI. In summary, Mr. Detenbeck indicated the following:
NPI has no revenue to cover it’s expenses other than the Grimsby Power Dividend.
NPI, through it’s subsidiary companies incur expenses that include:
- Grimsby Energy’s Bio-digester.
- NWTC/GPI amalgamation.
- NWTC invoice to IESO ($50,000).
- NRBN closing costs.
- NPI circulated to the shareholder a proposed amendment that would provide for the retention of dividends to meet projected operational expenses. A copy of the proposed agreement dated April 2, 2014 is attached.
Based on financial statements Niagara Power Inc. has retained dividends as follows:
- 2010 dividend payable in 2011: $122,157 payable, None Paid.
- 2011 dividend payable in 2012; $73,503 paid, (full amount paid).
- 2012 dividend payable in 2013: $384,021 payable, $300,000 paid.
- 2013 dividend payable in 2014: $253,604 payable, None paid.
Based on the above, currently there dividends outstanding in the amount of $464,702 not counting any dividends from 2014 payable in 2015.
Clearly there is an issue that Niagara Power and the subsidiary companies (other than Grimsby Power) have ongoing expenses without any assigned revenue. From the Town’s perspective there is also the matter of not receiving monies in accordance with an agreement in place, as well as the fact there has been no communication on what or when the dividends are forthcoming. We understand that there has been discussions regarding this matter at the Shareholder meetings, but that has not relayed to Town Administration.
It is strongly advised that this matter be addressed and a process put in place to address the issue.”
The Town’s 2014 audited financial report presented by Delight Davoli, Southcott Davoli Professional Corporation at the April 11, 2016 Admin & Finance meeting shows some glaring concerns:
Dividends from NPI
We reported to you in our letter of May 4, 2015 that during 2013, the Town ‘ s subsidiary company Grimsby Power Incorporated (GPl) declared and paid a total dividend of $426,690. As the Town owns 90% of NPI, the Town should have received a total dividend payment of $384,021 from NP!. However the Town received $300,000 in 2013 leaving a difference of $84,021 which was not yet received. We are able to report that the Town has received $84,021 in 2015.
According to NPI’s article 3 of the Articles of Amalgamation of June 17, 2009, and the legal agreements of October 16, 2008 and June 17, 2009, “the Board of Niagara Power shall declare and Niagara Power shall pay, subject to applicable law, dividends on its Preferred Shares equivalent to any dividends received from Grimsby Power as soon as practicable following receipt thereof.” The Articles of Amalgamation further provide that “If on any payment date for any dividends declared on the Preferred Shares… the dividends are not paid in full on all of the Preferred Shares then outstanding, any such dividends that remain unpaid shall be paid on the subsequent date” and further more such dividends are cumulative.
We would remind you that this same situation arose in 2011 and that the Town’s cumulative dividend not yet paid now stands at $122,157. This amount owing has not been recorded in the accounting records of the Town. Our review of the minutes of Council, which acts in the capacity of the shareholders of NPI, did not contain any references to this issue. It is our responsibility as auditors to make you aware of financial agreements that may not have been complied with and seek your response as to how you wish to address these.
Town Council has been made aware of the outstanding dividend of $122,157 based on GPI’s 2010 net income. Currently, there are no arrangements or timelines in place with regard to the collection of the dividend.
Committee of Adjustment Minutes – September 5, 2017
Just an interesting tidbit in the minutes of this meeting. Quite a number of residents turned out to voice opposition to this infill development for 61 Terrace Drive.
The proposal is to allow for the construction of a new single detached two storey dwelling with sideyard setbacks of 1.3 metres and a rear yard setback of 6.8 metres for an unenclosed porch in a dual zoned property of Residential Detached (RD-3.45) Zone Section 7.0 and Convenience Commercial (CC) Zones.
Nearby residents raised concerns regarding the size of the home, privacy and overlook, and that the sideyard setback was not adequate.
Mr. DeFilippis, authorized agent for the owner appeared before the Committee in support of the application and stated that the house plans were originally designed to meet the 1971 Zoning By-Law of 1.3 metres for a one-storey sideyard and 1.8 metres for two-storey.
The Plot Plan was changed to address the 2014 Zoning changes and during layout the sideyards were placed incorrectly. Residents inquired if a penalty was warranted for this error.
Committee members granted the minor variances.
That’s all for now…