Your Fire Department at Work
At left, the parking lot of the Napanee Fire Station on a Sunday morning. Where are all the red half-tons?
2005 Fire Department Salaries: $ 918,732.
2014 Fire Department Salaries: $1,432,956.
Increase: $514,224 = 56% over 9 years = 6.2% per year
Rate of inflation during same period: 2.1% per year
Total cost of fire services in 2014: $2,127,161. = approx 20% of taxes
At left, new Dorland fire station
Of course, a good portion of this is beyond council’s control. As Margaret Wente says (Globe May 19, 2015) “It’s good to be a firefighter, especially if you live in a small town. You’re one of the best-paid guys around. You get lots and lots of time off to go fishing or hunting or run your own business on the side. And your union always gets its way. There’s just one problem. The people you work for can’t afford you anymore… Municipalities that resist the union’s demands can go to arbitration. But they virtually never win. Arbitrators simply hand the union whatever the last guys got… But the number of firefighters just keeps going up. Thorold and other municipalities aren’t able to cut staffing levels because of manning clauses in the contracts.”
Napanee had a 2005 Master Fire Plan which was updated by the 2013 Fire Master Plan. One of the goals of the 2013 plan was meeting Fire Underwriters Survey requirements for “Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation” which required improving capacity to maintain adequate water supply for effective fire fighting for distances of up to 8 km from a fire station with a minimum of 900 liters/min for a 2 hour period. The 2013 Plan notes that as a result of this program many rural residents could see significant reductions in fire insurance premiums.
On November 21, 2015 the Fire Department received a water tanker shuttle accreditation certificate which is on the Town website here and shows all 3 fire stations as accredited stations.
On December 15, 2015 the deputy fire chief reported this to council. The report, which is here states:
As a result of this rating, residents in non-hydrant protected areas that are located within 8 km of a fire station and within 5 km of a water supply, and businesses that are located within 5 km of a fire station and within 5 km of a water supply could see significantly lower fire insurance rates. Staff will conduct a public information campaign using social media and the press to notify the Town of Greater Napanee residents, business owners and insurance companies about the Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation. Once the information is received, residents and business owners then contact their insurance company to inquire about receiving reduced insurance rates (emphasis added).
The Fire Chief issued a press release and a story appeared in the Dec 24 Beaver here.
On January 12, 2016, the fire chief presented an update on the 2013 Fire Plan.
At left, new Roblin Fire Station
A May 2015 report from the Fraser Institute found that, since 1997, in Ontario ,the number of firefighters has increased by 36.3% while the number of fires fell by 41.4%.
Your Police Force at Work…
In 2015 we will pay $3,988,841 to the Province for OPP contract policing. This is by far the largest item on our budget. Almost 40% of our taxes go to pay for policing. The good news is it’s lightly less that 2014.
The bill is broken down into 7,363 properties (6,954 residential & 409 commercial/industrial) at $449.49 each plus $679,237 “phase in adjustment”. Click here to see the OPP bill for 2015
Click here to see draft OPP contract with bill breakdown.
Thanks to the good people in Queen’s Park, public sector salaries in Ontario are totally out of control. And, our council have few options to control them locally.
How to blow a million dollars in 12 years (and have a happy bank manager at the same time).
Nearly a million dollars has been wasted by the zealous protection of the$4million ($3.68 million still remaining) from the sale of the Napanee Hydro assets (earning less than 1% on average) which could have been applied 12 years ago on the arena mortgage, recently renewed at 3.15%. 17 years after amalgamation, urban councillors still regard this as “their” money and refuse to allow it to be used to pay for a building that happens to sit in old Richmond Township.
The average spread has been 2%.
2% X $4million X 12 years = 960,000. With interest on interest well over $1 million.
See: Pages 12-13
As of Dec 31, 2013 the Napanee Electric Fund was invested in:
$2,138,340 in cash
$325,669 invested in Provincial and Municipal Bonds with effective interest rates of 1.66% to 2.57% with maturity dates from March 15, 2014 to December 23, 2014
$1,216,000 invested in guaranteed investment certificates have effective interest rates of 1.15% to 2.05% with maturity dates from February 18, 2014 to November 18, 2014
Total – $3.68 million
The Strathcona Paper Centre bank loans of $5,041,500 had an effective interest rate of 4.98% with a maturity date of April 20, 2014. On April 22, 2014 the outstanding loan balance of $4,707,000 was refinanced. The new loan bears interest at 3.19%, payable in monthly blended payments of $45,778, with a maturity date of April 2024. You can borrow money on your home cheaper than that…
How many Township Halls Do We Need?
One of the motivations for the 1998 amalgamation was to consolidate services with resulting savings. Smaller municipalities all over Ontario were struggling to meet all the new demands for improved services and the Province pushed aggressively to consolidate smaller municipalities to save money and improve services.
It was also suggested that, after amalgamation, surplus Township Halls (three of them nearly new) and other surplus properties could be sold with resulting savings. 18 years later, not a single one has been sold. Regional interests and the ward system may be the culprit.
Maybe Council should order another study. Just kidding. Why not call up the usual local real estate guy to nail up a For Sale sign?
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Hubert Hogle 532-3672
Dennis Mills 354-6375
Arthur Ronald 354-4291
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