Mulgrave conducts repairs to former school, projects surplus

MULGRAVE: The presentation of the town’s financial statements and audit report, expression of interest for the former Mulgrave Memorial Education Centre, and the installation of a traffic light were all topics of discussion during Mulgrave’s September town council meeting last Tuesday night.

The town’s auditor, Jonathan Veinot, from Grant Thornton, delivered the financial statements and audit report for the fiscal year of 2017-2018. Mulgrave ended the year with a $98,000 surplus in its general operating budget.

“The town had strong performances throughout the year from a large portion of funds invested in what are essentially high-interest savings accounts,” Veinot said. “Those funds performed very well, earning the town considerable return for their investment.”

In addition, Veinot said property sales that weren’t budgeted for, higher performance from recreational facilities, increased water rates, and conditional transfers from the provincial and federal governments all played a role in the surplus.

Mayor Ralph Hadley said he’s very pleased with the operations in the last year and the town is holding its own.

“We’ve been doing some projects and instead of going out to tender, we did it in house and saved quite a bit of money,” he said. “We’re doing quite a bit of work in our area, we can’t do big projects but we’re fixing up our school – looking at some sidewalk work coming up, and small projects that we can do without government help.”

To save money on wages from contractors the town hired public works employees to carry out repairs on the former Mulgrave Memorial Education Centre. Hadley said the town received $20,000 from the Strait regional centre for education to complete renovations that weren’t done.

“We had $30,000 in our budget that we weren’t going to use, so we combined the two of them together,” he said. “We came up with $50,000 and we hired a couple guys in town to do the carpentry work and to the facelift. It’s coming along very good.”

Extensive work as been done to the old section of the school, including repair work to the windows and the wood around the windows, the building has been re-stained, and in some parts, new siding has been installed.

With the repair work carried out on the former school building, town council has requested expressions of interest for the propery. Town officials assumed ownership of the building following last school year when the school shut down for good.

Hadley said the town hopes they can find someone who can utilize the space that will in return suit the needs of the Town of Mulgrave.

“Anything from senior care, to offices, to rental storage – the goal is to get an operator [to] come in here, look at this and take it over,” he said. “Because we only have a year funding to run it.”

The town received provincial funding of $80,000 to operate the building for the next year, but Hadley notes they ultimately need to have a plan.

It was also brought up by one of the town councillors during the meeting that a traffic light should be installed at a busy intersection in the area. Hadley agreed the town should look at talking with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal with construction about to start on the Auld’s Cove Irving Big Stop, which is going to add to the already difficult intersection on Highway 104.

“There’s going to be quite the bottleneck there for traffic and we’re hoping the Department of Transportation takes this into consideration,” he said. “Looking at people coming in or out of Mulgrave, sometime it’s very hard to get out of there, with the construction and all the trucking, it is quite a concern.”

Hadley believes a traffic light would be a solution while they’re on a construction route.