Public Works yard expansion seen as training for staff

Councilor Ernie Gendre says expansion draws funds away from operations

Stettler County councilors appeared to agree to disagree during their regular meeting Oct. 11 when it came to examining hours and staff spent on an expansion of the new Public Works yard.

All councilors were present for the meeting.

The agenda item requested by councilor Ernie Gendre was titled “Hours accumulated on new yard expansion for equipment and personnel.” As the item was introduced by reeve Wayne Nixon, Ernie immediately made a motion that the hours spent by the Public Works department on the expansion and other project details be presented to council.

Councilor Greg Jackson didn’t see this as something council was supposed to be handling. “I think the hours accumulated and work completed is operational and is not council’s duty to micromanage,” said Jackson. Jackson added that the yard is fenced and ready to go and looks good too.

Councilor Joe Gendre asked CAO Tim Fox if this Public Works yard expansion was included in the building’s budget. Fox answered that it was an additional expense not originally part of the budget for the building.

Councilor James Nibourg noted that some of the work in question was considered training work for municipal staff and was a good opportunity for them.

Councilor Dave Grover said if public Works staff needed training work, he would prefer to see them training on roads.

Jackson added that, even though the expansion work wasn’t part of the building budget, such work was always considered a necessary part of the project. Jackson said council talked with staff about doing the work and it was not a secret.

Nibourg pointed out that the Ag Services Board is not asked to submit their tree planting hours to council. “Where do we end and where do we begin?” he asked.

Ernie stated he saw the issue as being such that unbudgeted funds being spent on the new Public Works building eventually come out of operations budgets.

Ernie’s motion was defeated in a 3-4 vote.

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