By Jaxon McGinn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Sunny South News
The 2022 interim operating and capital budget for Coalhurst were reviewed on Dec. 14, 2021, during their special meeting.
Deputy Mayor Heather Caldwell recommended that the budget total be amended to implement a two per cent increase for 2022 and that the town office, community center, miner’s memorial parks caregiver, contract Fire Chief allowance, and the Chief Administrative Officer allowance be increased by two per cent for 2022.
“I think the way it stands right now is that the way we talked about this as the Director of Emergency Services was such that it would be Fire Chief Director of Emergency Management combined position in a full-time position so at this point that’s the proposal,” said CAO Kim Hauta.
“Based on what our case said with the underwriter survey and based on some of the sentiments on the fire department, maybe there’s a lot of awareness, and maybe less consultation with current numbers. I’m feeling that maybe that this is something we should revisit. I do believe you need a regional down and I think that’s something that’s not only required I think it’s in our best interest,” said Coun. Deborah Florence.
Caldwell also noted that they’re looking to have a clearly defined role with the new appointment. It was also mentioned that council wanted to have something that may be flexible.
Hauta added there is a regional discussion schedule for January and that there is a possibility of sharing the cost. There was talk with previous emergency management agency people that it was a good fit. There was also talk that it wasn’t a good fit to have them do both goals, so the basis of the motion that the previous council had put forward to pursue this combined position actively.
“I’m requesting that I believe that at this point we include this in the interim budget, and I do believe that we should have a special meeting where we can get up to date so everyone can have the same information so that we can make an excellent decision and not lose these potential people if we choose to go down this path” Said Mayor Lyndsay Montina.
During their meeting, Mayor Montina had made the recommendation to get the line in the budget, and this is to move forward with the interviewing process and ensure the positions will be filled for Fire Chief. All Councillors except for Councillor Florence were opposed to the motion.
Deputy Mayor Caldwell made a motion authorizing administration to meet with the fire department regarding its structure.
For further information about Coalhurst’s council meeting, you can visit their homepage at Coalhurst.ca