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The municipal council is elected for a 4-year term, and is comprised of the Mayor and six Councillors.
What is the role of a municipal council?
Elected officials are meeting as a council and represent the population; they decide of the direction the municipality will take and select the priorities which need to be addressed in the general interest of the citizens, while administrating the affairs of the town.
Elected officials must always make decisions in the best interests of the citizens, whom they represent, in terms of quality of life, through by-laws and resolution during council meetings. On an individual basis, elected officials cannot make decisions in the name of the municipality outside assemblies, except the mayor who can exercise his power in emergency situations.
Council generally makes decisions with the majority of members present. Ordinarily it meets once a month, but can meet more often, and call special meetings.
To be able to apply its decisions, Council adopts resolutions at public hearings. These sessions take place every 2nd Wednesday of each month, starting at 7:30 at the Town Hall, located at 567 Village Road.
All municipal council meetings are opened to the public. Since June 2007, Council meetings are held using laptops.
The main roll of the Council is to make sure the services which are offered meet the needs of the community.
Council must adopt a budget and ensure the fiscal balance of the municipality. The Council accepts the rights and duties given to them by law, according to the Code municipal du Québec, an Act respecting municipal competencies, an Act respecting municipal taxation and an Act respecting Town Planning.
Hence, Council can make decisions regarding various aspects affecting the quality of life of its citizen’s, such as economic development, town planning, drinking water supply networks, treatment of gray waters, social development, recreation and culture, etc.
What is the role of an elected official?
Aside from their administrative and legal responsibilities, the Councillors and the Mayor alike must play a political role, not described in the Code municipal. This role involves listening to the citizens and being available to hear their requests, grievances, and suggestions.
The person elected as mayor represents the entire municipal population, chairs Council meetings and works in conjunction with the other councillors. He or she has a right to monitor, investigate and control the running of the municipal departments and ensures the municipal Council’s transparency in the community’s interest. It is also the Mayor, who conveys the mandates given by Council to the municipal administration, supervises the enforcement of by-laws and resolutions as well as communicates any information of public interest.
The Mayor must particularly see that revenues owed the municipality are collected and spend according to the law. The Mayor can also sit on other government bodies or committees, for example, sit on the Municipalité régionale de comté (MRC)’s council and on the Board of directors of the Conférence régionale des élus (CRE).
Let us mention that the Mayor can have a right of veto on the decisions made by Council by refusing to approve them, and consequently, sign documents regarding these decisions. This right of veto is suspensive, meaning it can be reversed if the absolute majority of council members adopt a new decision.
At all times, the Mayor can participate to the decision making process during a Council meeting, but has no obligation to vote. In an emergency situation threatening the life and health of the population or the integrity of municipal equipments, the mayor can, on his or her own initiative, authorise expenses and grant the contracts deemed necessary to remedy the situation.
Councillors can influence the decisions making process in the interest of the community.
As well as assisting to Council meetings and putting forward their milieu’s interest, Councillors can bring to the Council some light on particular subjects. They can be nominated to be a part of a commissions, asked sit on a committee or be given dossiers they will need to investigate to support various Council decisions.
Councillors have an obligation vote for each proposition debated during the Council meetings, except if they are in a conflict of interest.
At the beginning of each mandate, Council has designated one of its members, by resolution, adopted during a public session, to act as substitute mayor, according to a schedule.
The Councillor acts and exercise the powers granted to the mayor when he or she is absent from the territory or prevented from acting as mayor.