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The union that represents Halifax Regional Municipality’s outside workers says new survey results showing residents are unhappy with road and snow removal policies should be a wakeup call to the municipality.

CUPE Local 108 President Mike Young says, “It’s time to go back to the drawing board on how we deliver these services, particularly our reliance on private contractors.

Residents were very unhappy with the level of service last winter but they need to understand that most of the snow clearing is done by a hodge-podge of private contractors who are ultimately unaccountable to the taxpayer,” says Young.

Says Young, “Our hope is that a new mayor and council will take a long, hard look at the current delivery model which consists of an inefficient mix of municipal employees and several small contractors.  It’s at the root of our problems.”

CUPE argues the work can be done in-house more efficiently and for less money, arguing public delivery is cheaper for at least three reasons:

• Private contractors typically make a profit of between 15% and 20%;
• Municipalities can purchase fuel in bulk at significant savings;
• Governments at all levels get an HST exemption for an additional 15% savings.

Says Young, “Private contractors, by their very nature, are looking for ways to save money and maximize profit.  Municipal employees are not subject to those temptations.

We know that HRM residents are quite frustrated right now with the status quo.  We are urging them to ask candidates in the upcoming election how they will address these problems,” says Young.