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McMurrich/Monteith discussion gets heated over Burk's Falls, Ryerson, Armour's share of regional fire training

McMurrich/Monteith decided to defer its decision on the regional fire training program until its next meeting
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(stock photo)

The Township of McMurrich/Monteith is still apprehensive about the one-fifth funding model used to calculate the financial contribution towards a regional fire training program. 

At its Jan. 12 council meeting, the discussion got heated once again, with councillors raising concerns about Burk’s Falls, Ryerson and Armour’s funding. 

Here is the discussion encompassed in quotes by council: 

“I have some grave concerns about what I’m reading in the newspaper  regarding the (funding formula) and I believe I have voiced that,” said  Coun. Alfred Bielke. “I have some further concerns about what has  transpired — the number is quoted as $95,000 in this document here — the  cost of the RTO agreement was $95,000 when in fact the numbers in that  agreement come down to 92,900. Divided by five, it isn’t the number we  were quoted in December.” 

“The tri-county has always had a cost-sharing model of 50-25-25 (per  cent) but in the last couple of years, Armour wanted it one-third,  one-third, one-third. It’s the very same discussion we are having right  now,” said Coun. Lynn Zemnicky. 

“(This current agreement) buys us three more years to come up with a  solid argument on paper saying, ‘look, this is what it’s costing  everyone — we don’t care that you have your own cost-sharing agreement.  If you’re going to have seven votes, seven municipalities then that’s  how it should be split,” said McMurrich/Monteith Reeve, Angela Friesen. 

“I’m not saying I agree with this process, but I just don’t want our  fire department and our residents to suffer because we make a decision  here tonight that doesn’t give our people the protection they need,”  said Coun. Dan O’Halloran. “I totally agree that that this thing needs  to be looked at in the next three years and hammered out … I think we  need to get this on the table, get this thing passed and then sit into  negotiations to get this straightened out so we don’t have these  discussions anymore.” 

“… I think you also have a responsibility financially and I resent  subsidizing someone larger than ourselves,” said Zemnicky. “It’s always  been a couple of townships pushing for the one-fifth and if you look at  the numbers it relieves them quite a bit.” 

McMurrich/Monteith decided to defer its decision on the regional fire training program until its next meeting. 

- Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative, Parry Sound North Star