Town/M.D. relations getting complicated

Last week we reported about the M.D. of Lesser Slave River deciding to pay substantially less for its share of the cost of running rec facilities in Slave Lake – and for its share of firefighting services. Councillors there feel both reductions are justified, based on their analysis of what’s included in the agreements. Having looked at the details, council tossed out some items it feels it shouldn’t have to pay for.
To the town, the M.D.’s decision is a shock to the system. It is also, they say, a breach of an understanding that the terms of the former agreements would be honoured until new ones were settled on.
Both agreements are up for re-negotiation, and that may eventually result in something acceptable to both sides. In the meantime, though, the town is stuck with about a $250,000 funding shortfall, just for 2016. It’s a big number, and is being regarded (at least by some) as a ‘subsidy’ of the M.D.
So the town has issued a strongly-worded letter to the M.D., saying that unless it pays up in full, M.D. residents can expect to see a new set of fees just for them at town facilities, “and the town will no longer provide fire protection services to the M.D.”
That’s pretty strong stuff, but it appears it could happen. The threat goes into effect on Dec. 15, says the letter, if the invoices by then aren’t paid in full, and an interim agreement in place.
That’s quite a lot for two brand new councils to deal with – perhaps one reason why having a few experienced councillors re-elected would be a good idea.


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