As municipal administrators continue to work through budget season, this week’s Town of Virden Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday was an opportunity for some human resource management.
Councillors appointed the towns weed inspector, added two new members to the Virden Airport Commission and created two new general labourer positions.
Virden’s municipal maintenance crew has seen a need for additional staffing for the past several years, particularly during holiday seasons and unexpected sick days. The new positions are for general labourers who will be working where required mowing grass, maintaining municipal facilities, reading water meters and backfilling in other departments where necessary.
The positions mean an increase of 1.5 employees to the towns crew. A season, six-month position was cut and replaced with one of the new, full-time roles. The town’s water foreman is being trained for the utility manager’s position, pulling another employee off of the field and placing him in a more administrative role.
It was noted that the hirings have little to do with the town’s water quality issue. Arsenic levels in Virden’s water system were found to be above federally regulated limits in 2017, moving the town to change its water treatment procedures. The water improved, but broke the limit again the following year. The town has since approached the Manitoba Water Services Board (MWSB) for help. Further improvements to the water treatment facilities have been completed to rectify the situation.
Nevertheless, the municipality is seeking a new water source. The MWSB led that effort with test drilling during the summer of 2019.
The new employees will also allow the town’s licensed plant operators to focus on their responsibilities and not worry about other maintenance duties.
Airport commission appointments
Councillors also added two members to the Virden Airport Commission at their meeting on Tuesday.
Tim Howell and Rick Paull will join six others currently sitting on the board. They include Virden Mayor Murray Wright, Rural Municipality of Wallace-Woodworth Reeve Clayton Canart, Neil Graham, Rob Chapman, Mark Gardiner and Greg Penner.
Two seats on the commission remain vacant.
The body oversees the needs of the area’s primary airport facility. Their current focus is on upgrades required to meet new Transport Canada regulations involving its runway approach.
Also at the meeting, Lawrence Langlois was appointed Weed Inspector for the town. His responsibilities include weed and mosquito population management.
The position, which requires licensing to use herbicides and insecticides, is filled on an annual basis.