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Rising costs rub salt in wounds of Paradise councillors

By Mark Squibb/June 17, 2022

It’s a well-accepted fact that the price of everything has gone up, and municipalities across the province are feeling the pinch along with the rest of us.
Paradise council grappled with the rising cost of living during last week’s public meeting, when they had to accept increased costs for both commercial insurance and road salt.
The cost to renew the insurance, which was set to expire the end of June, increased by 16 percent over last year.
The Town had issued a request for proposals, but received only one submission, that being from their current provider, Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc.
“The insurance market proved difficult again this year, and the town will see further increases, unfortunately, in most insurance categories, in particular commercial general liability and cyber security are challenging areas in regard to coverage,” explained councilor Larry Vaters.
The bid came in at $332,700 plus HST.
“The majority of the increase is in the commercial, general liability category, and relates to market increases and increases in the town’s population,” said Vaters. “The cyber security category also saw a large increase due to a significant increase in insurability standards in this category.”
Vaters said the Town had anticipated increases in insurance premiums and had budgeted $335,500 to accommodate them, but with the taxes applied, the actual cost overshot the budget by over $11,000. Extra funds would be pulled from the General Government Operational Budget to cover the overage.
The motion sparked a conversation on the rising cost of living.
“Increases are going to be a common theme,” said councilor Glen Carew. “A 16 percent increase in insurance is obviously very disappointing and very concerning… but I guess we’re at the mercy of the market, and we’ve got to have insurance.”
“It’s the reality of where we’re at with inflation and the climate in which we live going forward,” agreed Mayor Dan Bobbett, adding that preparations for Budget 2023 will be underway soon and the increases will be top of mind.
Carew used the discussion as a launch pad to raise a topic he had intended to bring up later.
“In the public council meeting of the third of May, I had asked that council, on behalf of residents, formalize a letter to the three MHAS and two MPs that represent the residents in our district and ask them to recognize the critical financial position that many of our residents are facing,” said Carew. “Of course, we’re all facing it, but there are residents out there that are on fixed incomes, retirees, seniors, and people are feeling it. I talk to people all the time in this town and I hear it quite a bit.”
He suggested that provincial and federally elected officials could possibly mitigate some of the burden felt by residents.
Vaters said such a letter was in the works, which Carew was glad to hear.

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