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Stephenville council cancelling dog-catching contract, review planned

Mayor Tom Rose is seen speaking on openness and transparency, while Coun. Mark Felix, the town’s finance committee chair, is seen on the right.
Mayor Tom Rose is seen speaking on openness and transparency, while Coun. Mark Felix, the town’s finance committee chair, is seen on the right. - Frank Gale

The Stephenville town council is putting an end to the current dog catching contract within 60 days as a result of a motion made by finance committee chairman Coun. Mark Felix,.

It was in the unfinished business section of the meeting that Mayor Tom Rose brought up about openness and transparency and a subject he brought up in the past about the Government Tendering Agency believing the former town council was operating in violation of the Public Tender Act for municipal enforcement and animal control services.

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He said municipal enforcement has already been done away with as members of the RCMP are tending to traffic violations within the municipality.

“Closing out 2017 and moving into 2018, we need to insure we’re (council) in compliance with the Public Tender Act,” Rose said.

Felix, a new councilor, is not prepared to support operating outside the tendering policies Municipal Affairs mandates council to follow.

He said these policies are in place because they present a transparent, open and fair process for taxpayers of Stephenville to get best dollar value for work required.

Felix said it is nothing against the person doing the dog catching duties, he’s sure that person has been doing a good job for a long time, but just to be handing over a contract worth $40,000 to $50,000, a truck and fuel card in the absence of having this activity properly tendered is not a practice that he, as a new councilor, is prepared to continue to support.

He said during the municipal election he knocked on more than 1,000 doors and 60 per cent of them had dogs, which most people treat like a member of their family.

“I think we’re (town) paying too much for a dog problem we don’t have,” Felix said.

He said in fact the taxpayers of Stephenville would be better served having these funds redirected into a municipal enforcement officer position with dog catching as a secondary duty.

Felix made a motion council provide written notice of cancelling its dog catching contract within 60 days and re-evaluate how it will deal with this situation in the New Year and what funding and tendering process it would commit to getting this service provided.

Coun. Laura Aylward wondered how the cancellation of this contract may affect other towns in the Bay St. George area that jointly avail of the current dog catching services.

A vote was called and all six council members in attendance were unanimous in supporting the motion to cancel the dog catching contract.

Meanwhile, Mike Campbell, chair of a not-for-profit group that was taking over animal control in the Stephenville area, said that group is now null and void and members will now have to wait to see if their services will be required once the town council has reviewed its options in the New Year.

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