Montague stays with current bylaw officer despite higher price tag

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 9, 2017

Coun. Jim Bagnall, right, speaks during Monday's council meeting.

©MITCH MACDONALD/TC MEDIA

The town of Montague has decided the lowest price isn’t always the law when it comes to selecting bylaw enforcement within the town.

Council voted 4-2 on Monday to award its bylaw services contract for 2017 to the higher of two received proposals, which raised some questions regarding the town’s procurement policy.

The higher proposal came from P.E.I. Bylaw Enforcement, which is owned and operated by Donna Johnson and has been providing services within the town for several years.

Council heard that Johnson’s proposal was about $20 a week, or approximately $1,000 a year, higher than another proposal received by National Port Security Services (NPSS).

Coun. Daphne Griffin voted against the motion since the town’s policy requires any contracts over $5,000 to be tendered.

“We should follow our policy or change it,” said Griffin.

The proposal from NPSS also came with a high recommendation from council in Souris, where the company currently handles bylaw enforcement.

Coun. John MacFarlane said council had been previously warned it could be opening itself up to legal troubles when choosing a higher tender without a valid reason.

“But there are always different stipulations to that and the current provider has done excellent work for us,” said MacFarlane, who voted in favour of the motion.

Coun. Jim Bagnall said he also felt council was justified in continuing to work with P.E.I. Bylaw Enforcement, despite the higher cost.

He noted that Johnson added dog catching services to her job requirements last year at no extra cost, which saved the town several thousand dollars.

“She’s done a great job,” said Bagnall. “When there are any problems, she deals with them. I have no problem supporting her.”

Bylaw enforcement accounts for about $13,500 in Montague’s budget.

The contract required a marked patrol vehicle to provide a visible presence in the town, as well as a uniformed officer who graduated from the Atlantic Police Academy.

The officer is also responsible for retrieving residential complaints from town hall, arbitrating solutions for those complaints as well as investigating and enforcing all municipal bylaws.

Councillors first discussed the two tenders during last month’s meeting, which saw similar concerns raised by Griffin and Coun. Debbie Johnston over whether council was following its own policy.

Johnston, who voted against the motion, previously said she had also expected a committee that looked over the two proposals to give council a recommendation.

Chief administrative officer Andy Daggett told council that although a committee had looked over both proposals, it could not decide on a recommendation to give council.

“The committee could have flipped a coin,” he said.

 

 

Mitch.MacDonald@tc.tc