Municipal Affairs’ investigation into Village of Alix underway

Written by Submitted

Municipal Affairs is investigating the Village of Alix’s management, administration and operations in response to two petitions from residents last year.
During Alix’s regular council meeting March 14, Alix’s new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Troy Jenkins said that Municipal Affairs appointed Ian McCormack and Ted Gillespie of Strategic Steps Inc. as inspectors.
“We are excited to get that process going,” said CAO Jenkins.
Gillespie attended the March 14 council meeting, sitting in the back of the gallery, taking notes while watching the meeting.
Gillespie told the Review he was there to observe the proceedings.
Last March a group of Alix residents submitted two petitions with about 300 signatures each to Municipal Affairs asking them to launch an inquiry into the village council and administration, which was run by former Chief Administrative Officer Bonnie Cretzman. Alix has about 400 registered voters.
The group cited high taxes and how the village spent tax dollars as reasons for one petition. The second petition asked Municipal Affairs to determine the viability of the municipality.
The citizens’ petition stated in part: “We the taxpayers feel that the (alleged) mismanagement of the municipalities resources and the use of taxpayers’ monies to purchase non-profitable business and to loan monies to select business, has resulted in an unfair tax rate to the taxpayers, an unfair competition of businesses, and an increased tax burden on taxpayers for years to come.”
Municipal Affairs held a preliminary review and screening last August, meeting with seven Alix residents as well as the new CAO and council.
The purpose of the preliminary review was to identify concerns that would justify an in-depth review.
In a November 2016 letter from then Minister of Municipal Affairs Hon. Danielle Larivee, addressed to the group’s spokesperson Malonie Grimard, Larivee stated: “The review identified concerns that justify an in-depth review. As such, I will be ordering a municipal inspection.”
Former Minister Larivee’s letter went on to say, “An inspection into the operations of a municipality is an extraordinary measure and is not undertaken lightly.”
Once the inspection is finished, the inspector will provide a report to the current Minister, Hon. Shaye Anderson. Council will be given a copy of the report after the minister accepts the report.
If, based on the report, the minister believes that the municipality is managed in an irregular, improper or improvident manner, the minister may order council, CAO or a designated officer of the municipality to make changes.
If any directives are given, they will have timelines for the action to be completed. If any of the directives aren’t carried out to the minister’s satisfaction, he could issue more directives or dismiss the council or any member of it or the CAO.

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