Former mayor returns to New Perlican council
It was music to the ears of several municipal leaders as they listened to representatives from the Eastern Regional Service Board (ERSB) discuss what they’re prepared to do for towns with fire departments serving unincorporated communities.
Local politicians were in Carbonear last Thursday for the monthly meeting of the Conception Bay North Joint Council. The problem for some towns in that region revolves around collecting fees for fire protection — it isn’t always so easy.
ERSB has legislative authority to collect those fees on a town’s behalf and is on the cusp of establishing its first formal agreement to do so.
Given they’re already invoicing many of these property owners for garbage collection through Eastern Waste Management, ERSB is well positioned to collect the full fee.
This week, the board is set to vote on a proposed agreement with the Town of Holyrood that would see ERSB collect fire fees from residents of Deer Park and Vineland Road.
“We have about nine communities that are waiting for this contract to be approved at our next board meeting and are ready to go,” said Ken Kelly, chief administrative officer for the board.
ERSB will apply an administrative fee to homeowners, with the town receiving the full original charge for fire protection. In the event a homeowner doesn’t pay up, ERSB will look to take the matter to court.
“You’re not going to be able to charge any more than what you’re charging on a per unit basis for your own town,” said Kelly. “But at the end of the day what’s going to happen is this outside group — who have been haphazardly paying at best, that you’ve been obligated to cover — is going to pay. And that cheque will come from (ERSB) on a regular basis.”
An increased likelihood of getting what a town expects to receive from unincorporated areas will pay dividends for the fire departments, Kelly added.
“What this is about is getting money to the fire departments so you have sustainable revenue streams to do what you need to do — pay for training, buy bunker gear, put fuel in the truck,” he said. “You’re not worried about that financial aspect and you’re compensated for what you’re doing.”
Bay Roberts, Carbonear, Harbour Grace and towns served by the Bay de Grave Volunteer Fire Department are currently serving unincorporated areas, and multiple council members from those communities at Thursday’s meeting suggested they’d be interested in ERSB’s service.
Kelly also threw a little bit of shade on expanding municipal boundaries to take in unincorporated areas for the sake of extra tax dollars.
“I would be very careful going down that road,” he said. “Ask the City of St. John’s how much pain it’s endured for the extension of its boundaries to the Goulds, where they’re now providing water and sewer at a huge cost because it’s after-the-fact. Ask them about Virginia Park. Extending your boundaries comes with a huge impact. There might be a little bit of money at the front end, but at the other end is your infrastructure is now going to be extended. Your operations have got to be extended.”
A former mayor of New Perlican has decided to make a return to the council chambers.
Linda Moyles, who was reelected to council in 2013 but later resigned, returns by acclamation as the lone candidate to put her name forward
What this is about is getting money to the fire departments so you have sustainable revenue streams to do what you need to do — pay for training, buy bunker gear, put fuel in the truck. Ken Kelly
earlier this month for a potential byelection.
Former council member Kevin Roberts recently resigned due to work commitments. He first joined council a year ago following the death of Linda Gosling and resignation of Steve Fudge.
Moyles placed second in the 2013 general election to current mayor William Matthews. All council candidates appear on the same ballot in the Trinity Bay community.
The Kiwanis Club of Carbonear held its installation of officers for the year 2016-2017 on Thursday, Nov. 3. Pictured, from the left, is director Gerry Carr, president-elect John Colbourne, Kiwanis provincial Lt.-Gov. John Trend, past-president Bob Wheadon, president Roma Abbott, secretary Gary Myrden, treasurer Frank Parsons, director John Dunne, vice-president Eric Snow and director Milt Peach. Missing from photo are directors Ted Strickland, Dr. Aidan Drover, and Dave Gill. Kiwanis is an international organization whose focus is “Changing
Eastern Regional Service Board chief administrative officer Ken Kelly, pictured standing, says if the board approves an agreement this week with the Town of Holyrood to collect fire protection fees in unincorporated areas, there will be several communities ready to set up similar arrangements.