Transfers inevitable, says mayor
One-year contract is thin edge of the wedge

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 28/97) - The territorial government is getting out of the health and social services business, says Mayor Dave Lovell.

Mayor LovellThe only question that remains is who is going to take it over.

He said the government will be downloading all health and social services, except income support programs, likely within the next two years.

"The question is who do you want doing it, a local hospital board or a regional hospital board?," said Lovell (left).

"If the corporation (the city) out and out refuses to take it over, the territorial government will download it to someone else, and Stanton (Regional Hospital) is the logical choice."

City council agreed Monday to a one-year $105,000 contract to provide administrative services for a one-stop health and social services centre. The government will provide the centre.

Under the contract, the city will provide the equivalent of two clerks, plus benefits and administrative support.

It gives the government the right to purchase other services and supplies from the city, such as maintenance, stationary and fuel, for the centre.

The government would pay the city's costs plus 15 per cent for these additional purchases.

The city is already making property assessments under a contract with the government. Also, it will take over lottery licensing duties April 1.

The government has maintained all along that "empowerment", the term used for transferring responsibilities to communities, is optional.

Last year government officials asked the city if it wanted to be more involved in how social services are provided, said finance director Joe Kronstal.

The city organized a series of public meetings and workshops to determine which course residents want to follow on a variety of fronts, social services among them.

Official said they couldn't respond to the government until the Future Focus series is complete.

But Lovell said that from what he heard from the estimated 350 people who attended sessions, residents want the city to take over the services.

"If members of the public are concerned about us getting into health and social services, I'd like to hear from them," he added.