New fire services agreement approved

Masha Scheele

To maintain an ongoing working relationship between the town of Hinton and Yellowhead County, council approved a new fire services agreement.

The agreement will change on Jan. 1, 2020 and require Yellowhead County to contribute a yearly fee of $350,000 to the Town of Hinton for their support in fire services provided in Yellowhead County.

Increased operating costs, the amount and type of capital equipment purchased, and changes in service levels posed challenges in the current fire services agreement between the two municipalities.

An annual contribution to Hinton’s operating budget was already supported in the current agreement, plus 50 per cent of capital equipment purchases.

The new agreement will no longer see Yellowhead County contribute to capital purchases of equipment. 

Todd Martens, protective services manager, added that Hinton has received anywhere from $316,000 to $355,000 operationally from the county in the past, but that capital will take a hit in the new agreement.

“It will be on administration and myself to be more diligent on equipment and using that $350,000 to put into reserves and making sure we have that money allocated for this equipment,” he said.

Despite the loss of annual capital asset contribution, there was a recent capital contribution of $825,000 from the county towards purchasing assets in partnership with the Hinton fire department, stated Coun. Albert Ostashek.

“That will be amortized moving forward over the next 19 years,” he said. 

Martens added that both parties will review the negotiated amounts in five years, look at the needs, evaluate spikes in activity, and adjust agreements accordingly.