There are three new hires in the works at Champlain Township.

One new hired would be someone to assist local businesses complete grant applications. The idea was originally put forward by L’Orignal Councillor André Roy a few months ago and CAO Paula Knudsen reported at the regular council meeting on August 6 that she had completed an application for funds to hired such a person.

But the minimum grant application has turned out to be for $250,000, and has to span a three-year period. Knudsen says that she was originally told the municipality would have to put up 50 per cent of the salary for the grant facilitator position, but that amount has been reduced to 25 per cent. She has filed an application for $349,000, of which $262,000 would be provided by Federal Development funding program and $87,255 would be provided by the municipality over a three-year period.

Roy had originally said that the municipality could obtain funding and contribute 15 per cent of the facilitator salary.

Knudsen said that the parameters had changed and that there would likely be no answer regarding the municipality’s funding application for at least three months.

Champlain Township Mayor Normand Riopel said that the township could think of it as an investment in their community, assisting business owners who did not have time to complete complex grant applications.

Roy added that this type of grant application process was complicated and that business owners get discouraged.

Vankleek Hill Councillor Peter Barton asked about the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food rural economic development department and asked if it was not their role to do this type of support work for local businesses.

West Hawkesbury Councillor Sarah Bigelow reiterated that the township would be hiring someone that local businesses could come to for grant application support — at no cost to the businesses.

Barton pointed out that the township had time to consider the idea as no commitment had been made yet.

L’Orignal Councillor Jacques Lacelle argued that there was no room to put any additional staff members. Roy answered that the person would spend a lot of time working at locations away from the municipal offices.

Bigelow asked what would happen if the township was approved for the grant and turned it down, wondering if it would affect other, subsequent grant applications by the township.

Riopel said it would not have a negative impact if the township’s application was approved and it decided not to proceed.

The municipality endorsed the application for funds and acknowledged the financial commitment in a resolution.

Planner/economic development

Champlain Township has hired someone for a new position as a combined planner and economic development person. The new employee will start work in October. The topic was raised when discussion ensued about the pending plan for the Vankleek Hill Business Park expansion, for which the municipality budgeted $25,000 at the end of 2018.

A conceptual plan, how to divide the acreage acquired by the municipality and more will be explored by the new senior employee, Knudsen said.

“Don’t we already have an employee doing economic development and communications? How does that affect that position?” asked Councillor André Roy.

The new position is for a senior planner and is higher-level economic development, Knudsen answered, adding that the municipality’s communications person is not a specialist in economic development.

“She has been there to represent us at events, but she is not an economic development specialist. We need a higher-level employee to do that,” Knudsen said.

Public Works director James McMahon said that there was a lot of work to be done to develop the new lots in the Vankleek Hill Business Park. “There are a lot of unknowns. We have to take a look at infrastructure and think about a road,” McMahon said.

Bigelow suggested asking existing businesses in the business park if they were interested in acquiring additional land before offering it for sale to others. Knudsen said that the municipality’s communications and economic development staff member Aline Gravel would be working with the new planner/economic development person to contact business to that.

Receptionist/Tax Clerk

Champlain Township is also advertising to hire a receptionist/tax clerk, to be first-up to answer telephone calls, process revenue payments, reconcile transactions, to prepare and balance reports, prepare bank deposits and corresponding reports. This position reports to the treasurer and involves other clerical duties and assisting the tax collector.

Working conditions described in the job posting include “regular contact with irate/unpleasant members of the public and meeting some deadlines with frequent interruptions, which causes some stressful situations.” The position is based on a 37.5-hour work week.

Applicants must have a college certificate in office administration or accounting or combination of education and work experience, two years of experience in an accounting environment, and must be bilingual. The salary range is $42,998 – $56, 974.

The application deadline is August 23, 2019. More details are available on the municipality’s website.