by Tristan Turner
Council hires auditor
After some debate and a defeated motion, council voted unanimously to rehire Edmonton-based accounting firm Hawkings Epp Dumont LLP for one additional year as their external auditor. Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald’s motion to rehire the firm for three years on the condition that a new auditor be given the file was defeated 3-4, with Mayor Holmes and Councillor Boutestein being the only supporters.
A subsequent motion to recontract the firm for one year received unanimous support. Councillors Putnam, Turner and Ladouceur felt that while the Organizational Effectiveness & Efficiency Review is in process, it would be better to only offer a one-year extension. Deputy Mayor Dafoe also supported the one year extension, but stated he “was really not comfortable” with renewing a third one-year extension on the Hawkings Epp Dumont LLP contract, but saw it as a better alternative to the other option of a three year contract or putting it out to RFP while an organizational review was underway.
In a unanimous decision, Council allowed snow removal contractors access to a municipal snow storage site – a local lagoon – on a pay-per-use basis. The charge for the service will be $40 per tandem load.
The initiative is meant to “discourage illegal dumping” and “allow some cost recovery” according to Claude Valcourt, Director of Public Works. However, Mr. Valcourt wished to make it clear to residents and local businesses that they are still permitted to stockpile snow on their property (or on any property where they are permitted by the owner) if they so desire.
Town Group Buys Aerial Photographs
Council voted unanimously to submit an application to join the Edmonton Regional Joint Orthophoto 2015 project, an initiative lead by Sturgeon County that allows municipalities within the region to group buy Orthophotos of their communities. These aerial photographs are geographically corrected to more accurately represent distance. These photos are used primarily to create a Geographic Information System (GIS) that allows Public Works employees to locate town water and sewer lines, allows planning and developed detailed information on the community, and even provides health-conscious runners an opportunity to get accurate measures of distance and other geographical information. The initiative will cost up to $3,000, but town administration expects the final costs to be less. The current GIS map can be accessed in the ‘Services’ section of morinville.ca.
Paint the Town Red
Placed before Council Tuesday night was an option to support a local charity fundraiser operated by the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation on Sept. 26th at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre (MCCC). Funds raised at the 5th Annual Celebrating Life & Culture Gala will be invested in new equipment and technology for the Sturgeon Community Hospital.
Throughout previous years, Council has financially supported the event. In 2011 and 2012 the Council of the day gave $2,000. In 2013 $650 was given in kind for the rental of the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and another $1,350 was given in cash.
Councillors Turner and Boutestein were in support of awarding a total of $1,000 to the event, $650 for an in kind rental of the MCCC and $350 in an event sponsorship. Councillors Fitzgerald and Putnam, along with Mayor Holmes and Deputy Mayor Dafoe opposed the $1,000 donation, and instead supported only offering the $650 in kind donation for the facility rental.
Speaking to her stance, Mayor Holmes said “it’s difficult to use taxpayer’s dollars to make a donation on behalf of somebody else.” The mayor went on to say that by giving the in kind rental, the Town was providing the venue for the event to happen. Holmes said she was concerned that offering cash to events that donate money to non-profits would create a standard.