Hamlet flush with cash, looking for ways to spend it
The Hamlet of Rankin Inlet’s financial situation is the “best it’s ever been,” said Coun. Justin Merritt.
The Hamlet is currently running an operating surplus of $500,000. Merritt attributed that to a few factors, such as reduced travel expenses for mayor and council and Covid funding.
He projected a $350,000 to $400,000 surplus by the end of the financial year.
“I don’t want a half-million-dollar surplus,” said Merritt.
He suggested the Hamlet find some ways to spend that money before year’s end, such as creating recreational opportunities for youth.
Mayor Harry Towtongie suggested the Hamlet could look into making sure people’s homes are fire safe and equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
The council will be determining the best ways to spend the bulk of the surplus in the coming weeks.
Radio station wages to rise
$100,000 from the Kivalliq Inuit Association to sustain services during the pandemic has been put toward drawing down some of the expenses at the Rankin Inlet radio station.
Senior administrative officer Darren Flynn explained that in a normal year, the radio station takes $140,000 to run.
The Hamlet has a $30,000 grant from the Department of Culture and Heritage, with the rest being picked up by bingos.
Flynn said he would look at giving better time slots to the radio station for its bingos, as well as suggesting to raise wages above the previous minimum wage.
“One of the biggest challenges for the radio station has been retaining staff,” he said, adding that several people left because of the low wages.
“Trying to get people to commit to come in for minimum wage has been extraordinarily tough.”
Council agreed to boost wages to $20 per hour, retroactive for current staff to Jan. 4.
Karlik calls it quits
In few words, Coun. Gabriel Karlik announced his resignation.
“As of today, I will be putting in my resignation at the council,” he said, citing missed council meetings and other commitments taking up his time.
He called it an interesting two years of time on council and was thankful for the opportunity.
“We really need your knowledge and expertise,” said Towtongie, with other members expressing that it would be a loss for council.
Before the meeting ended, the rest of council agreed to replace Karlik by appointing a new councillor. The hamlet is now seeking applications to replace Karlik and will be deciding on a candidate at the Feb. 28 council meeting.