Chelsea, Quebec taxpayers kept in the dark

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by admin on April 22, 2010

The Editor,

The result of my intervention at the April 6 Chelsea, Quebec council meeting on the subject of outsourced septic-tank inspections had revealed the additional information of compensating the contractor at $16.50 an hour for an estimated cost of approximately $5,000 per season.

This important information was not contained in the agenda presented on the municipal website, despite Mayor Caryl Green’s repeated assurances that taxpayers would be well informed, with maximum emphasis on transparency.

Normally, this highly unusual way of spending taxpayer’s money should be reserved for emergencies, which does not apply here. In support of Chelsea taxpayers, I was upset by the chosen method of a open-ended contract without limitations on the final cost. To protest this, I informed the mayor of my decision to call the newspapers.

Our municipal engineer called me the next day to convince me, during an hour-long conversation, of the benefit of this kind of contract, confirming the estimated limitations. Further confirmation of the hourly rate with the approximate $5000 limitation came from assistant director Bruce Devine in a interview with the editor of The West Quebec Post before April 9, the date that paper was published.

A rethinking of these issues during the April 10-11 weekend compelled me to calculate the possible end cost of this contract, resulting in the discovery of a much higher cost than estimated and previously sanctioned by municipal council and staff, after having done “due diligence,” as quoted by Mr. Devine.

A replay of the council meeting, videotaped with Coun. Edmond Hetu’s equipment, should shed more light on this story, if so desired.

Kurt Burgstaller

Chelsea, Quebec