A new budget and a new warden for the MRC

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Added: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 11:37pm
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André Macron
(tr. L. T.)

CAMPBELL’S BAY – November 27, all the mayors recently elected in the Pontiac participated in their first MRC meeting. Two main subjects were discussed at the meeting: electing a new warden and the MRC budget for the next fiscal year.
After a short presentation by each of the warden candidates, Raymond Durocher (Fort-Coulonge), Graham Hawley (Otter Lake), Alain Gagnon (Bryson) and Winston Sunstrum (L’Isle-aux-Allumettes), Raymond Durocher was elected. Sunstrum was elected as pro-warden. These positions were filled temporarily until next January when new elections will be held for these positions.
Benjamin Hiard, Rural Agent – Tourism for CDE Pontiac, then presented the projects that will share a $212,000 subsidy from CREO (Conseil régional des élus de l’Outaouais) as part of the Regional and Forestry Development program. Eleven projects had been submitted, with subsidies awarded to: Nova Sylva ($7,500), MRC Pontiac ($58,894), CDE Pontiac ($34,000), Herboristerie La Fée des bois ($78,250), Parc Leslie ($20,495) and Motoneige Pontiac ($9,500). Projects submitted by Golf Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Domaine de l’O érablière Momentum and Pingouin Club were rejected.
To answer a question from Richard Ledbetter about where the wood harvested by the MRC on the TNO in the Pontiac’s forests is sold, Régent Dugas, director of the forestry sector of the Land Use Committee, answered that, for now, the wood harvested in the Pontiac is shipped to Thurso, but that steps are being taken to allow Jovalco, in Litchfield, to receive and process the wood from the Pontiac.
Before the budget was presented, the mayors voted on a motion to increase their income by 2%. Sandra Murray, mayor of Shawville, spoke against this increase but Otter Lake’s mayor, Graham Hawley, replied that this 2% only covers the current increase in the cost of living. Twelve mayors voted in favour of this increase but Alain Gagnon (Bryson), Terry Elliott (Clarendon), Sandra Murray (Shawville), Winston Sun strum (L’Isle-aux-Allumettes), Colleen Larivière (Litchfield) and Kathleen Bélec (Mansfield) voted against the motion.
The income of the  mayors varies from $11,000 to $16,000 depending on the municipality. Each mayor also receives $5,548 from the MRC. Added to the amount of the mayor, the pro-warden is granted an extra $19,418 while the warden receives another $33,288. The MRC Pontiac has to put aside $152,570 for the elected officials. Added to this amount is $8,322, which is paid to the presidents of committees.
The MRC budget was then presented. Rémi Bertrand commented, “The shares that the municipalities must give to the MRC Pontiac have increased by 3%, a lower increase than in the other MRCs of the Outaouais. Papineau’s shares increased by 4%, the MRC des Collines, 4.32% and the municipalities in the MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau must face an increase of more than 6% of their shares.”
When comparing MRC Pontiac shares, there has been an increase of 48.62% since 2010: increase of 17% in 2010, 17.48% in 2011, 6.47% in 2012, 3.95% in 2013 and 3% in 2014. For 2014, the total budget of the MRC increased from 5.1 million dollars to 5.7 million dollars, an increase of 11,2%. 26 people are employed by the MRC, 9 by the CLE, and 4 by the CLD.
The new warden, Raymond Durocher, recommended that this year’s budget be made accessible to the public by publishing the figures in the local newspaper that would have the lower cost for publication.
Some examples of increases in the new  budget: from $537,132 to $752,110 for evaluation, $162,464 for fire protection, from $80,070 to $85,830 for animal        control, $90,864 for sports and leisure, $85,790 for hygiene of the milieu, $226,246 for legislation and $150,000 for fighting poverty.
The budget was adopted unanimously.