Petrolia Mayor John McCharles wants to see if the municipalities of Central Lambton can find ways to save some cash.
McCharles invited the mayors of Plympton-Wyoming, Brooke-Alvinston, Enniskillen, Oil Springs, Warwick and Dawn-Euphemia to Petrolia Tuesday to discuss “if we can save some money.”
The rural municipalities have been hit hard by cuts to provincial grants – many of those invited have lost between 15 and 20 per cent of their provincial cash this year. “We haven’t been affected as the others but are there some services that we can get together on to save money,” says McCharles.
One way to save cash McCharles says could be sharing equipment. Petrolia has its own street sweeper that could be shared for example. “We don’t want to buy a grader but can we source out that work with say Enniskillen?”
He adds there may be some internal services that could be merged such as water billing to save costs.
“Let’s take a look, we’re all doing the same thing maybe we can combine some things.”
Warwick Mayor Todd Case says municipalities already work together in some areas. “We do have some agreements to take care of some parts of Churchill Line for example,” he says adding, “I’m going in with an open mind.”
Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Al Broad agreed saying “we’re going to sit down, throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks to it.”
McCharles admits that while sharing services could save money, it is sometime a difficult discussion.
“There is always the fear if you go this way it helps with amalgamation (of municipalities),” he says adding many smaller municipalities feel the provincial grant cuts are a way of forcing them to form regional governments. “It is a fear.”
But he says the bottom line is driving the discussions. “If you can utilize your dollars better – why not talk?”