Council looks for festival bill during contentious final meeting

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

At the now-former council’s final meeting of the term Nov. 26, members pressed for information on the outstanding bill owing the Amherstburg Police Service for service at non-town festivals.

The festivals, which have been said to be the Harvest Festival and the Mardi Gras, were the subject of a Nov. 13 motion by then-Councillor Diane Pouget. Pouget questioned who is responsible, how much is owing and how the bill will be collected.

A report did not appear at the Nov. 26 meeting as administration cited a “procedural matter” as a previous motion regarding the matter would have had to have been reconsidered. Then-Councillor Joan Courtney said “it would have been nice to hear the motion was not valid” prior to the Nov. 26 meeting.

According to Pouget, she said she conducted her own investigation and that the bill began at $20,000. It now is believed to be at $17,000. She said she has asked treasurer Justin Rousseau and “for two years it has been sitting on the treasurer’s desk.”

“It should be very simple,” Pouget said of her request. “Here we are again.”

CAO John Miceli responded that “the bill has not been sitting on the treasurer’s desk for two years” and contented the Amherstburg Police Services Board had it on their books for one year. Miceli said the town has no evidence of a signed contract with anyone and encouraged Pouget to bring it forward if she found one in her investigation.

“If you have a signed contract, please share it with us,” Miceli told Pouget.

“It’s true the bill came before the Amherstburg Police Services Board,” said then-Councillor Jason Lavigne, who was also a member of the board. “They refused to pay it. To suggest we don’t know who owes the money or how we are going to get it is ridiculous.”

Lavigne added “this is no fault of the Amherstburg Police Services Board.” He further charged that Miceli asked the board not to collect that money.

“Councillor Lavigne, that is not the truth,” Miceli responded, stating again the board had it on its books for one year. Rousseau added that while he and Miceli attended an APSB meeting, he noted that collection of town receivables should flow through the finance department.

Leo Meloche, then a councillor and now the deputy mayor, noted the APSB runs autonomously from council. He also questioned where a contract was.

“Do we have a signed contract?” he asked. “That is part of the process we have to follow.”

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