SCUGOG: After deferring the decision for several weeks, Scugog Council will finally award the contract for an operational review of the township's fire department.
During a rare summer meeting last Wednesday (July 10), councillors discussed the review contract in a lengthy closed session, after which council opted to award the contract to Dillon Consulting, as was previously recommended by Fire Chief Richard Miller. According to the chief, the review will encompass the department's service delivery, including areas such as fire response and prevention, administration and training and mutual aid agreements.
The July 10 meeting was organized following a June 24 decision by council to defer the awarding of the review contract to the firm. In that previous decision, councillors criticized the increased price tag of $50,000 - $10,000 more than originally budgeted - quoted by Dillon as well as the lack of a more specific timeline.
Mayor Chuck Mercier said that councillors needed more time to discuss the item, which will also be the initial part of a larger fire department master plan to be undertaken in 2015, a document that would examine broader issues such as population growth in the township and how it will affect fire service.
"The discussion we've had is that this is a much bigger review than others we've done before," said the mayor regarding the decision's deferral. "But we can either start it now or wait until 2015."
According to Mayor Mercier, a final price for the review will be negotiated by CAO Bev Hendry, although he expects the cost to ring in at close to the $50,000 quote.
"There are some items we could remove to reduce the cost, but we've been advised by our legal department to not pursue that," said the mayor.
As for the review's timeframe, the mayor said that the township is hopeful that work begins by early August, with an anticipated conclusion prior to the start of the township's 2014 municipal budget discussions.
"As this review is important," said Mayor Mercier, "the last thing you want to do is rush a consultant. Our goal is to have it done in time for the budget cycle and we anticipate it will be done by then."