Joint council to service districts: start paying your way

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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Great Humber Joint Council wants to see local service districts start paying their bills

Municipal representatives gathered at the Reidville Community Centre Saturday discussed what they believe is on ongoing issue of local service districts, such as the community of St. Judes, not paying a fair share for its cost operations.

The Town of Deer Lake recently made the decision to stop allowing St. Judes to use Deer Lake’s landfill site because of debt owed to town. While Deer Lake council made the move to stop St. Jude’s waste from being dumped there, it did not the community’s fire service.

Deer Lake Coun. Elmo Bingle said it wouldn’t be right to deny a neighbouring community fire service, but something needs to be done to ensure service districts pay their bills. Bingle said the province needs to set something in motion.

“I just think that everyone should have to pay their fair share,” he said. “I don’t believe that we can deny fire services, but I do think that something needs to be done.”

Council discussed the possibility of asking the province to look into the matter of local service districts paying minimal service charges for the use of services from larger communities. Bingle said although St. Judes residents cannot use Deer Lake’s landfill, people are finding ways around that which hasn’t resulted in the debt being paid down.

Pasadena Coun. Keith Hillier said he believes local service districts need to be phased out over the next few years, and that the threat of cutting off services completely, while regrettable, may be necessary.

“Sometimes you have to be the bad guy,” he said. “You may not want to cut off services, but if this is to be settled you may have to be prepared to make the threat.”

Problems between towns and service districts are nothing new. Issues between St. Judes and Deer Lake came to a head two years ago when it came to light that St. Jude’s owed thousands of dollars to the Town of Deer Lake.

Organizations: Reidville Community Centre, Deer Lake council

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Pasadena

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