Great Humber Joint Council wants service districts to pay fair share

Paul
Paul Hutchings
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Humber Joint Council members, from left, Leona Gillette of Steady Brook, Roger Barrett of Reidville and Penny Piercey of Massey Drive discuss issues at the council’s weekend meeting on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 in Reidville.

REIDVILLE — Great Humber Joint Council wants to see local service districts become more proactive when it comes to paying its bills.

Municipal representatives gathered at the Reidville Community Centre Saturday discussed what they believe is on ongoing issue of local service districts, such as the community of St. Judes, not paying a fair share for its cost operations.

The Town of Deer Lake recently made the decision to stop allowing St. Judes to use Deer Lake’s landfill site because of debt owed to town. While Deer Lake council made the move to stop St. Jude’s waste from being disposed of, it did allow the community to still avail of fire service.

Deer Lake Coun. Elmo Bingle said it wouldn’t be right to deny a neighbouring community fire service, but something needs to be done to ensure service districts pay it bills. Bingle thinks the province needs to set something in motion.

“I just think that everyone should have to pay their fair share,” he said. “I don’t believe that we can deny fire services, but I do think that something needs to be done.”

Council discussed the possibility of asking the province to look into the matter of local service districts paying minimal service charges for the use of services from larger communities. Bingle said although St. Judes residents cannot use Deer Lake’s landfill, people are finding ways around that which hasn’t resulted in the debt being paid down.

Pasadena Coun. Keith Hillier said he believes local service districts need to be phased out over the next few years, and that the threat of cutting off services completely, while regrettable, may be necessary.

“Sometimes you have to be the bad guy,” he said. “You may not want to cut off services, but if this is to be settled you may have to be prepared to make the threat.”

Problems between towns and service districts are nothing new. Issues between St. Judes and Deer Lake came to a head two years ago when it came to light that St. Jude’s owed thousands of dollars to the Town of Deer Lake. St. Jude’s is still barred from using the landfill site in Deer Lake.

Organizations: Great Humber Joint Council, Reidville Community Centre, Deer Lake council

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Pasadena

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Recent comments

  • Lois Bateman
    January 27, 2014 - 17:59

    As far as I know St Jude's is not a Local Service District. The only two Local Service Districts between Corner Brook and Deer Lake are Little Rapids and Pynn's Brook, both of which pay for fire protection and garbage disposal through agreements with neighbouring municipalities or businesses

    • Lois Bateman
      January 28, 2014 - 11:53

      My apologies - St Judes is listed as an LSD in the Municipal Affairs website.

  • H. Glenndyn Necho B.A. B.ED.
    January 27, 2014 - 17:10

    I am Chairperson of the Local Service District of Horwood and we collect our money and pay our bills like any responsible organization. Why do Incorporated Communities allow these debts get out of hand? Basically I think it's lack of responsibility. The MA Act gives you your options. Sue!!!!!! When you win you get costs for court action. We had problems because previous LSD members didn't want to "hurt" feelings but why should any community give the 'freeloaders" an easy ride. You only hear about the problem LSDs, never a word about the ones that are doing a good, even great job.

  • E.Parsons
    January 27, 2014 - 15:41

    Please note a correction to my comment. It should have said " Please realize that the problem with St. Jude's debt for garbage collection is not proof that LSDs should be done away with."

  • E. Parsons
    January 27, 2014 - 08:02

    Mr. Bingle and Mr. Hillier and the GHJC, with the exception of the problem between Deer Lake and St. Jude's, where is the evidence that Local Service Districts are not paying for the services they use? Please do inside realize that the problem with St. Jude's debt for garbage collection is proof that LSD's should be done away with. I know for a fact that there are LSD's near your communities that are paying for the services that they receive, promptly and in full. LSD's are required to be just as accountable for their budgets as are incorporated communities. They funds they collect are called service fees, the funds you collect are called taxes. The old saying, a rose by any other name ... If the town of Deer Lake has not figured out a way to collect from a delinquent payer, I suggest they consult a lawyer as to their options and that the GHJC and its members leave tarnishing the reputation of all LSD's out of the equation.