Council spending responsible, says Truro mayor

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TRURO – There were some noticeable differences in Truro town council’s spending during the past fiscal year.

Costs ranged between $137.60 (Coun. Tom Chisholm) and $5,433.01 (Coun. Greg MacArthur) for items such as airfare, miscellaneous, travel and conferences.

Mayor Bill Mills, whose expenses totalled $2,206.94, believes council’s spending is appropriate.

“I think I’ve been responsible all along and (council) has made progress. We are upfront and transparent,” Mills told the Truro Daily News. “And the trend is coming down regarding phone bills.”

Mills said a new cellphone policy being implemented for council indicates if a bill exceeds $85 the user must pay the difference “unless it can be

justified.”

Mills’ cellphone bill ranged between $80 and $86 in the past fiscal year, from April 2013 to March 2014.

His overall budget, as a mayor, is $10,000. Of that available money, he spent $2,206.94, which included a mayor’s congress in P.E.I., working lunches, a Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting in Niagara Falls and special events such as honouring Truro resident Jeanette Brown’s 105th birthday, to name a few.

“Citizens deserve that kind of recognition. It’s not a lot of money (spent) but from time to time it’s relevant,” said Mills.

Councillors are allotted a $6,000 annual budget while the deputy mayor (Danny Joseph) has $7,000 to spend.

Two councillors did not have any expenses: Brian Kinsman and Joseph.

“I make it a point of being frugal,” said Joseph. “I didn’t feel it was necessary to go to conferences.”

Joseph did go to Bolivia, as the town has an ongoing relationship with that country, but the trip was funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, said Joseph.

Chisholm is another councillor who spent minimally, a total of $137.60.

“Just because you have a budget doesn’t mean you have to spend it,” Chisholm said.

MacArthur, who spent part of the last fiscal year as deputy mayor, spent $5,433.01, the most of the councillors.

“I believe the money is there to use” for such things as relevant conferences and events, MacArthur told this paper.  “I follow the policies and I was under my budget,” he added.

Some of the conferences MacArthur attended included a focus on planning, heritage, and recreation, among others, and he travelled to Moncton, Sydney, Halifax and Toronto.

MacArthur’s phone expenses decreased from the previous year as well.

His cellphone bill has reached $600 in the past, as was discussed in a spring town council meeting when council talked about implementing a new phone plan. More recently, his bill has been between $295 (April 2013) and $94.15 (March 2014). MacArthur credits that new phone plan for the decreased balance.

“If I go over, I pay that (difference) … and some of (the other councillors) don’t use their phone,” he said.

Coun. Raymond Tynes, who had the greatest phone bills, reaching a high of $342.95 in October 2013, could not be reached for comment.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

 

Organizations: Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Truro Daily News

Geographic location: Niagara Falls, Bolivia, Moncton Sydney Halifax Toronto

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