Alberton reviews contractors for road maintenance

With Larry George completing his term as Alberton’s roads superintendent early next month, council spent a portion of last Wednesday’s meeting reviewing three Phase II submissions in order to contract out the road maintenance work Wayne George Grading Ltd. had managed.
Two contractors from Emo and one from Alberton scored the highest on Phase I of the procurement process, where the information requested focused on quality and level of service.
These contractors then were asked to provide pricing information for grading and plowing under Phase II, which was reviewed at last week’s meeting.
But council did not make a decision because there were some questions they needed answered.
“We need to decide whether the pay will be by hour or kilometre,” noted Reeve Mike Hammond.
“And when does the hour start ticking—when they start work or when they leave to come here?” asked Coun. Mike Ford.
Council wanted to know whether these contractors would leave their equipment in the community, or would they be charged floater fees. And if they did keep the equipment nearby, would the township pay stand-by charges?
Coun. Ford said his main concern is about the winter plowing. He hopes the selected contractor will be able to plow the township’s roads quickly and efficiently.
“Winter is the big one,” he stressed. “If our roads are bad, we hear about it.”
Council decided to hold off selecting a contractor to conduct road maintenance services until these questions can be discussed.
But since the next regular council meeting isn’t scheduled until after George’s term ends, a special meeting will take place Aug. 29 to make a final decision.
In related business, Coun. Ford and Coun. Doug Mitchell were appointed to the roads committee, which will oversee the roads with support from the municipal office.
Council opted to re-establish the roads committee—instead of filling the roads superintendent position—because it felt it is important to have immediate access to all critical information and direct input on the roads.
An honorarium of $300 will be provided to the councillors on the roads committee.
However, if this system does not work as expected, council likely will reconsider hiring a roads superintendent.
In other business at last Wednesday’s meeting, Alberton council briefly discussed the Community Improvement Plan (CIP), which it had agreed to look into by suggestion of the Rainy River Future Development Corp. earlier this summer.
But Coun. Barb Cournoyer, who had been selected to find out more information, seemed skeptical about the CIP.
“I don’t know if it fits us,” she remarked. “We still need more investigation.”
Coun. Cournoyer also said she’s not sure if she’s comfortable with the purpose of the CIP.
“I don’t want to us to limit ourselves,” she explained. “If there are some points that work, fine, we’ll pick and choose, but they would likely be of a smaller nature.”
“We’re too small of a municipality for one of those,” agreed Coun. Mitchell.
“But I don’t think not having one would be a problem down the road,” warned Reeve Hammond.
“I’ll continue looking into it,” Coun. Cournoyer said. “And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”
Alberton CAO/Clerk-Treasurer Dawn Hayes said it’s also a possibility to develop a CIP, put it “on the burner,” and not adopt it right away.
The townships of Emo, Chapple, La Vallee, and Rainy River already are in the process of developing or approving CIPs for their respective communities with the help of the RRFDC.
Also at last Wednesday’s meeting, Alberton council donated $120 to the Rainy River Horse Council through purchase of a panel to help finish the new outdoor horse arena at the Emo fairgrounds.
Alberton’s next regular council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13 starting at 7 p.m. in the municipal office.