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Taloyoak digs out of debt

Kathleen Lippa
Northern News Services

Spence Bay (Dec 22/03) - The Hamlet of Taloyoak is reporting a surplus of $200,000 after being $1.5 million in debt in April 2002.

Scotty Edgerton credits the turn around with better business practices and an "open fashion system" of discussion about financial issues among hamlet officials in trying to solve the debt crisis.

Edgerton added that former mayor David Aqqaq, who recently resigned, always supported him. Aqqaq is largely responsible for helping clear up the community's debt woes, he noted. "He was a good mayor," Edgerton said.

Taloyoak makes monthly financial statements to the department of community governments and transportation, and also the department of public works.

The hamlet is audited yearly by Avery Cooper.

Edgerton said the hamlet cut 27 full-time positions plus part-time workers to help reduce the deficit. Most of those part-timers are now back to work, he added.

Hiring contractors to do hamlet construction jobs rather than having the hamlet workers do the work has been more efficient, he added. "We don't do renovations anymore. We tender them out."

The debt was a result of "bad business practices, pure and simple," Edgerton said.

The hamlet was overstaffed and it wasn't even being audited properly until he arrived two years ago, he noted.

Edgerton expects $5.2 million in spending this year. Taloyoak has a population of about 850 people.