Port Elgin Council Meeting – January 11 2010

Mayor Judy Scott gave special thanks to the Fire Chief Steve Alward and EMO co-coordinator Terry Murphy at the Port Elgin council meeting last night, the first meeting since emergency measures were declared in Port Elgin on January 2nd when storm surges flooded the town.

Scott thanked neighboring fire departments, the RCMP, the Red Cross and the transportation department for their cooperation. “They came to our needs and they helped us out and we want to thank them”, said Scott. During the night and into the next morning 400 personnel hours were logged as eighteen people were rescued from nine different residences.

Terry Murphy, having seen his EMO plans properly tested, said that he and the council “should sit down to a table top and debrief ourselves. We can see what we did well, and what we didn’t do so well”.

According to Mayor Scott, NB EMO is waiting for figures from the village and the fire department before they calculate who will receive financial assistance.

For those who have lost furnaces and water heaters there may be some financial compensation but not if they are covered by their own insurance. Says Councilor Joanne Trenholm, “ If you have personal insurance , EMO will have nothing to do with you. No one will get rich on it ( financial aid)”.

Fire Chief Steve Alward was one of the residents hit hard by the flood. He estimates that he lost 30-40 thousand dollars of equipment and tools from his garage. Many Port Elgin residents were dismayed to discover that home insurance does not cover floods. Says Alward, “They told me that if they covered floods they would go out of business”. If home insurance includes ‘sewer backup’ that will only cover flooding from floor level pipes.

On the Budget:

Council passed the budget last night with no increase to their tax rate of 1.2796. The total budget was $445,707. and the warrant to be raised was $260,355.

Areas of increase this year included training and education for Terry Murphy and the EMO, and increases to wages and education for the village staff. Increases were also seen in property taxes, insurance for public liability and the Tantramar Planning District Commission payments. There was a loss in income for the village in rentals when Alcoholics Anonymous stopped renting a village room for their meetings.

The council thanked Village Clerk Sonia Wells for her carefully prepared budget that managed to hold on to a surplus of $26,115.00 from two years ago, maintain the tax rate and put aside allocated funds for parks and recreation and a refurbishment of furniture in the offices.

In other news:

Councilor Tanya Trenholm announced that the Port Elgin outdoor ice rink is almost ready to go. Volunteers are needed to help flood the rink during the next cold nights and although councilors offered community members that would offer to do it for free, Councilor Joanne Trenholm suggested that the council find some money to pay the volunteers. “ People appreciate a little cash and we don’t want to wear out our volunteers”.

Councilor Darlene Kenny has resigned from the council citing health reasons. Her letter expressed the pride and gratitude she felt on being an elected member of council. A by-election is set for May.

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