The County of St. Paul voted to reduce the invoice for a January fire call in Ashmont. According to Director of Community Services, Tim Mahdiuk, the fire was deemed suspicious and referred to the RCMP, but further details are not yet available.
“The landowner has been working with me regarding cleaning up the site. He did get the site inspected for asbestos and it did come back negative,” said Mahdiuk, noting there is a cost for that inspection which the landowner had to take on in order to dump ten loads of demolition materials at the Ashmont Transfer Station.
The invoice for the loads will be approximately $2,250.
“My recommendation is to reduce the cost somewhat, not to cancel the full bill,” said Mahdiuk.
He recommended reducing the bill for the fire call by $5,670 to $3,800.
Div. 5 Coun. Dale Hedrick said he was very pleased the landowner is working with the county to get the lot cleaned up after the fire and made a motion to proceed with reducing the bill.
“We’ll at least get some money because if he wasn’t to clean it up, we would be the one holding the bag for this to get it cleaned up if he just gave the property back to the county because the lots aren’t worth that much in Ashmont,” said Hedrick.
Div. 6 Coun. Laurent Amyotte asked if the property had been insured, Hedrick said it was not.
Div. 2 Coun. Kevin Wirsta commented the County has reviewed and reduced invoices for a number of fire calls over the past year.
“I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be warranted to maybe have a flat rate. And that flat rate is adjusted after the scene according to the severity of the fire, or the scenario of the situation,” said Wirsta.
Hedrick noted the invoices which get brought to council are the ones received by people who do not have insurance.
“Because if they have insurance, the bill is paid by insurance and away we go,” said Hedrick.
Wirsta wondered why the County is giving reductions for people who do not carry insurance. Div. 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans commented that it seems like a penalty on people who do carry insurance.
Reeve Steve Upham said it was an issue to be brought back in a policy of some kind and discussed further. Council voted in favour of reducing the fire invoice in question.