SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks City Council
Grand Forks residents will see an increase of four percent on both water and sewer rates for the upcoming year. Council approved the first three readings of two bylaws that will enact the rate increases at their meeting on Monday, Feb. 28. If passed at their next meeting in March, the increase will be in effect in April. Councillor Gene Robert talked against the bylaws, and his concerns about the proposed installation of water meters in residences. “Somehow, someway $1.6 million has to hit the table to put water metering in,” said Councillor Gene Robert. “I also am voting against the sewer one because this is basically the sewer service you’re receiving now, you’re going to pay four percent more next year. It speaks to the whole notion of affordability in our community.” Robert raised the issue of other rising costs including utilities that residents will also face this year. The staff report stated that the increase on the user fees is required as a result of the adoption of the five-year financial plan. No increases will be done to the customer, fixed and capital costs charges which remain the same as in 2008 and 2009. “The cost of providing those services increases,” said Councillor Christine Thompson. “We have to generate these funds from users – those who use it. That is a fact that we all have to deal with.” The bylaws passed with Councillor Chris Moslin and Robert opposed. Web Site Council awarded their web design tender to Pro-Creative Design Lab out of Castlegar. Nine proposals were received which were reviewed by a committee of council and staff. The project will cost $10,000 and be completed within 14 weeks from the contract start date – anticipated by July 2011. Trails project extension Council approved a motion to extend their contract with the federal government’s funding program, Recreational Infrastructure for Canada, to Oct. 31, 2011. The trails project being funded through the program still has about $80,000 in funding still available in the government contract; the city requested an extension to be able to use the money for further work. “This is a very positive development for us in terms of having more time to plan,” said Mayor Brian Taylor. Pedestrian safety on 2nd Street As a result of concerns raised to councillors from local residents about pedestrian safety at the two intersections of Market Avenue and 2nd Street as well as 72nd Avenue and 2nd Street, council has directed staff to review traffic patterns and come back to council with recommendations for action.
“This is not the first time that this intersection (2nd Street and 72nd Avenue) has come up in our discussions,” said Robert. “I would like staff to come back with recommendations on how we can make that intersection safer.”