The city still has to pay out millions of dollars to contractors who worked to protect Yellowknife from wildfire during this summer's evacuation.
As of Monday, the city has received $10.5 million in invoices, and has paid out $2.2 million of that amount.
Sheila Bassi-Kellett, the city manager, acknowledged the work that businesses did to help keep Yellowknife safe in a city committee meeting on Oct. 23.
"We know that we're receiving a number of invoices that are coming in from the local businesses that were so proactive in terms of lending their support, wholeheartedly providing their services under really, really dire circumstances," she said.
"We don't want to hold up paying them, but we know there's a number that have come in, and there's more that are coming."
With more invoices expected to come in the total amount that the city would be higher than $10.5 million, although they don't have the total number of costs at the moment.
When Yellowknife was being threatened by wildfires, contractors stepped up to help the community while others were evacuated. The type of work they did included building firebreaks and installing a sprinkler system.
For the remaining $8.3 million that's been invoiced, the city said staff are reviewing the invoices as they come in and are make sure that the requirements for payments are being met.
That includes making sure contractors present backup documentation that would allow the city to apply for disaster assistance funding to cover the costs.
In the meantime, the contractors hired on during the wildfire response are currently being paid from the city's regular operations revenues.
Taking that into consideration, a city spokesperson said they are trying to make payments as quickly as possible.
The normal wait period for contractors to be paid for from the city is 30 days, depending on whether additional supporting documentation is needed to back up the invoice.
But the city said there is no legal hard deadline that the city must adhere to.
'They asked us to be patient'
Despite the wait times, some contractors said they are understanding of the city's situation and aren't in a rush to receive their money.
Blair Weatherby is the owner of Weatherby Trucking Ltd. His company helped cut trees and build fire breaks for the city.
He said the city had communicated that it was going to take time for the payment to come.
"It's going to be a little while," he said. "They asked us to be patient and nobody is going to go without being paid. They just need a little bit of time to get through it all."
Another contractor — Darwin Rudkeditch who owns Arctic Farmer — said his business worked on the fire breaks in the city. He said he's been in Yellowknife his entire life and was all in to help out when he found out what the city wanted to do. He said he's also understanding of the situation that the city is in right now.
"We knew all along that it was going to be a drawn out process, so we're OK to wait," he said.
The city put out a tender to help deal with the high volume of invoices. The RFP was awarded to Crowe MacKay Financial Services Limited, who has been working on the invoices as of Oct. 19.
Protection against fraud
Bassi-Kellett said for most of the contract work, the contractors are being paid Alberta's rates plus 10 per cent.
She said the city wanted to make sure that contractors were being compensated fairly, while protecting themselves against fraud.
"Make sure that we were not being gouged or that there was any opportunism going," Bassi-Kellett said, adding that she was quite confident that was not happening.
Lisa Vass, the manager of financial services with the city of Yellowknife, said contractors were given a template where they had to track their work day by day for labour, equipment and materials. The templates are supposed to be sent in along with the invoice, along with the backup for those costs.
Vass said the City has contracted a third party via an RFP to make sure that all of the invoices are backed up. She also added that the city is going through the invoices to make sure that there is no duplication invoices between contractors to make sure that duplicate payments aren't given out.