Food for thought in final fire dispatch report "$56"- * 5 r  /&84 GREGG CHAMBERLAIN

$3.25 for their fire dispatch. The costs for themunicipalities staying withHawkesbury would then increase from the current $4.46. «If one or more municipalities decide to switch from Hawkesbury Fire Dispatch to Ottawa Fire Dispatch,” the report noted, “the costs for the remaining municipalities will increase, causing the remaining muni- cipalities to also change fire dispatch service providers.” The end result would be that the Hawkes- bury dispatch service could prove too ex- pensive tomaintain and it would shut down, forcing everyone to then contract with Ot- tawa. The report noted that each municipality will have to look at new paging and radio link setup for their fire departments because the current equipment is getting older and will soon reach the end of its reliability lifespan. Municipalities need to start budget planning now for replacing that equipment within the next few years. If one or more choose to switch over to Ottawa for fire dispatch, then they also have to budget for the connection fee to the Ottawa system. For now counties council has accepted the final report and the mayors will pres- ent it to their own individual councils for review and recommendations. Warden Kirby noted he will present the report to his own council in East Hawkesbury Township at its next meeting, and he expects that all the mayors for municipalities that contract with Hawkesbury for fire dispatch may need to get together soon for amutual consultation. “At one point or another,” he said, “we’re going to have to sit down and decide what we’re going to do.” aid request in a letter received during the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council’s (UCPR) regular session on January 28. Du- ring that same session, the council reviewed the revised counties budget for 2015, due for approval by the end of February. The EOWRC asked for a continuation of the $50,000 support funding it has received in past years from the UCPR to help cover its own budget needs for its various water quality protection and promotion projects and programs. Stéphane Parisien, UCPR chief administrator, reported in a phone interview following the counties council session that the EOWRC’s support grant was secure. «We always put that money in the bud- get,» Parisien said. The EOWRC receives equal support fun- ding of $50,000 from both the UCPR and the City of Ottawa. Its year-end financial statement to the UCPR showed that it had a surplus of about $12,700 from its 2013 budget to supplement its 2014 revenue sources. During the past operations year, with sup- port from partner groups, the EOWRC de- commissioned 15 defunct wells in the Pres- cott-Russell and Ottawa areas. It managed a floating wetland project in the Limoges area to both improve water quality and also provide habitat shelter for waterfowl and local fish. It participated in several water quality impact studies in the region, and also sponsored the annual Eastern Ontario Children’s Water Festival in Casselman, in May 2014.

Either things stay the same or the City of Ottawa takes over fire dispatch service for every municipality in Prescott-Russell. Those are themain choices given in a final consultant’s report to the counties council. Peter Gamble, of theWillowFalls Consul- ting firm, presented the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) with a final verbal summary of his company’s analysis of fire dispatch service for the municipalities in Prescott and Russell counties. During a later interview, Warden Robert Kirby said Gamble’s presentation didn’t tell themayors on counties council anything different from what they already knew after reading the pre- liminary report fromWillowFalls Consulting. «There was no surprise,» Kirby said. Right now, both the City of Ottawa and the Town of Hawkesbury provide fire dispatch service for parts of Prescott-Russell.The City of Clarence-Rockland contracts with Ottawa while the other seven municipalities and also North Glengarry and North Stormont townships contract with Hawkesbury. While the final report listed five possible options in the cost analysis for future fire dispatch services, the executive summary noted that the whole issue came down to an «either/or» decision situation for both the counties and themunicipalities contracting for fire dispatch service. «There are really only two viable options for themunicipalities who are currently get- ting fire dispatch services fromHawkesbury Fire,» stated the report. «All municipalities stay with Hawkesbury Fire (or), all munici- palities switch to Ottawa Fire.» The report noted that both setups provide bilingual service for callers. Radio commu- nication between the dispatch centre and trucks out on a call is also bilingual for the Hawkesbury setup while Ottawa Fire Dis- patch uses just English for its radio commu- nication. The report noted that among the UCPRmunicipalities and the two townships

Peter Gamble, of the WillowFalls Consulting firm, presented the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) with a final verbal summary of his company’s analysis of fire dispatch service for the municipalities in Prescott and Russell counties

outside of Prescott-Russell, there is a range of English/French language skills among members of each department with some firefighters fluent only in either French or Englishwhile others have a range of bilingual ability from fluent to functional. The City of Ottawa covers all the cost of its fire dispatch system through its own annual budget. Client municipalities like Clarence-Rockland pay a fixed rate based on local population size. If Ottawa gains more clients for its fire dispatch setup or loses any, it does not affect the fixed rate for client municipalities. Financing for Hawkesbury’s fire dispatch service is more dependent on its clients. Three-quarters of the cost is covered through client fees from the other municipalities based on their population sizes, average

number of calls per year, and the number of fire stations involved. If a new client, like Clarence-Rockland, were added on, then the costs for the other client municipalities would decrease. The report noted that the dispatch service fee for Hawkesbury will be $4.46 per capita in 2016, for its present clients. If Clarence- Rockland signed up as a client, then the fee would drop to $3.33 per capita. Clarence- Rockland currently pays $3.25 per capita for Ottawa dispatch service. Joining the Hawkes- bury setup wouldmean both an increase in the per capita fee plus a one-time $38,000 setup cost for Clarence-Rockland, something the municipality has rejected. If any of Hawkesbury’s present client mu- nicipalities chose to switch over to Ottawa, they would have a lower per capita fee of

Counties support water watchdog group


money dedicated to the group chargedwith helping protect drinking water sources in Eastern Ontario. The Eastern Ontario Water Resources Committee (EOWRC) presented its budget

One funding subsidy item not at risk in this year’s budget for the counties is the

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