Chamber calls council on decisionsPresident Kirby Groat criticizes late-term purchases, opposes tax increases
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 13, 2015
LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON
Chamber of Commerce president Kirby Groat delivered a presentation to council on Aug. 4 expressing concerns with the way they have been making decisions.
Council members gather for the committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 10, where they hashed out revisions to their bulk water policy for out-of-town customers. - April Hudson/NNSL photo
In particular, Groat took issue with some of the major purchases the village has agreed to late in its term.
With municipal elections only months away, Groat said this puts a burden on the next council, which will be required to shell out the money the current council agrees to spend.
Of particular concern to the chamber president was the recent decision by council to go ahead with the lease-to-purchase of a new gravel truck with sanding capabilities, which will cost the village about $50,000 per year for four years.
"Those major decisions should not be made at the end of an old council, but at the beginning of a new council," Groat said. "You have committed them to this expense."
Groat also expressed the chamber's opposition to tax increases and chided councillors for not moving forward on live-streaming its meetings, noting that video capabilities have been installed.
Maintenance contract signed
The village has formally agreed to sign a contract with P.R. Contracting for vehicle maintenance.
According to the contract, which has been bounced back and forth between council and committee meetings, P.R. Contracting will provide automotive and heavy equipment maintenance to the village on an exclusive basis, at a rate of $120 per hour for automotive and $175 per hour for heavy equipment.
The contract includes a maintenance management software program run by P.R. Contracting which will track all repairs and maintenance of village vehicles.
The village currently has seven automotive vehicles, three stationary diesel generators and fire pumps, six heavy equipment pieces and four fire vehicles.
SAO Beth Jumbo pointed out the contract has been run past the village's legal advisor and approved.
"It's fair to both sides," she said.
"We do get most of our work done with (P.R. Contracting) now anyway."
Bulk water policy on the agenda
A new bulk water policy will be back on the table at the Aug. 17 regular council meeting after being revised during a committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 10.
During committee discussions, members agreed to scrap a part of the policy that stated the village will sell water to customers that can receive top-loading tanks on a water truck or a trailer.
Instead, that clause will be replaced with a section stipulating customers requiring potable water to be used for human consumption must purchase their water through an authorized local water distributor, in order to ensure water quality and safety.
The decision came after the committee discussed safety issues with letting anyone fill up at the water treatment plant, including the possibility of water contamination.