The Community of Murray Harbour will be sticking to a tight budget while efforts are made to repay the province $31,000, money wrongly spent from its Gas Tax Fund.
The error involved funds used to invest in a GIC and occurred previous to the current council taking office.
Money from the Gas Tax Fund must be spent on specific projects and investing it to earn more money is not on the list.
Overall, the village’s financial challenges began when the village was forced to use money from its budget in a hushed settlement between council and former CEO Sylvan De Lafontaine in 2017/18.
The community has agreed to pay $6,200 to the province per year until the debt is paid off. This will be done over a five-year period.
The first payment has already been made which means the village can now apply for new Gas Tax funding.
At Wednesday night’s regular monthly meeting Mayor Paul White said, “The mistake has been made, the important thing now is we have to fix it.”
Council continues to discuss ways of raising money of which one is hosting a dinner.
Also reflecting on the tight financial challenges is applying for a permanent liquor license for the Murray Harbour Community Centre. The price tag is $450 so council agreed to defer the application to a later time. In the meantime single-issue permits will be purchased at a cost of $50 each.
The purchase of permanent liquor licenses has already received council support. These are used during sanctioned functions at the community centre. The events are fundraisers or hall rentals.
“We have to move ahead, even with all the bumps in the road,” Mayor White said.
In other council news, the village was invited to reapply to a Maritime Electric Tree planting program. An application was submitted but was turned down because the program had already been filled for this year. Council will get more information on this.
A short discussion was held on a drop-off method for the Public Library, which is part of the community centre.
Suggestions of a hatch or chute where books could be dropped off after regular library hours were bandied among councillors. This too will be investigated further.
A shout-out will be made for volunteers to help clean the whole of the community centre.
A suggestion was also made to look into hosting the next PEI 55 Plus Summer Games. The village has the necessary facilities with the exception of a golf course. However, courses elsewhere could be utilized as St Peter’s did in hosting the 2019 Summer Games.
Cutbacks will be made to a newsletter which is circulated in the community and to surrounding areas. Down-sizing the document was discussed as was distribution. It is usually mailed to residents but council discussed posting its contents on a Facebook page, the village website and in various public locations in the village.