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City bringing municipal energy manager agreement with MD back to the table

Cold Lake City Hall

COLD LAKE - It could be back to the drawing board for the city's Municipal Energy Manager agreement with the MD of Bonnyville and Village of Glendon after a discussion at Tuesday's council meeting.

Given the municipality's current financial situation, with news of ID 349 funding still unclear, city council felt a better cost-sharing model could be included in their tri-lateral agreement with the MD and Glendon for a municipal energy manager.

In late January, the city postponed their decision on going ahead with the shared position, which would have the MD hire an energy manager who would work with all three municipalities by evaluating the state of energy practices and policies, developing or updating their energy management plan, completing greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives, and completing an energy audit.

The initial agreement pitched to Cold Lake was a cost-sharing model that would have the city contribute $11,000 per year over the next two years for the position. The city would also be required to provide adequate working space, 20 per cent of the energy manager's wage associated with their work in Cold Lake, complete a quarterly report or review of the manager's performance, and ensure they adhere to the city's health and safety program.

The cost to each municipality was broken down on a per capita basis, resulting in the city contributing 55 per cent of the expense at $22,000, the MD pitching in $17,200 for 43 per cent, and the Village of Glendon picking-up the remaining two per cent at the price of $800.

CAO Kevin Nagoya said during their March 10 meeting council felt that format "weighs heavy on the City of Cold Lake."

"The MD of Bonnyville offered to separate the agreement so the city didn't have to see the Village of Glendon's part of the agreement, so we would have a bi-lateral agreement not a tri-lateral agreement," he noted, adding as of their discussion on Tuesday, there were no changes made to the overall amount the city would be contributing.

Coun. Jurgen Grau stressed his concern with how the bill was split, considering the MD has the most facilities out of the three municipalities.

"The MD has more buildings than we do but we were paying more money," he expressed.

"There are 30 buildings in Cold Lake, 46 in the MD, and eight in the Village of Glendon, but then went for the per capita approach of about $1.50 per person with Glendon taking on about $1.60 per person. I thought that might be discussed before moving on," agreed Coun. Kirk Soroka.

Nagoya responded, explaining council never tasked administration with drumming up a new agreement with the MD at the last meeting, however, that option is available to the city should they decide to go that route.

"Administration never pushed for an alternative agreement, council pushed it off, but we didn't try to renegotiate new terms for a funding formula at this time because the grant submission was based on this. We can definitely do so if council wants to provide that direction to see if there can be changes in the way that we fund it. I know council raised some concerns about it, but we didn't chase a different agreement, we just brought it back to council for direction."

Council directed city staff to test the waters on whether a new funding model is possible, and will have the topic back for further discussion on April 28.

Meagan MacEachern, Bonnyville Nouvelle

 





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