SUMMING IT UP: Grand Forks city council
As requests for funding from community organizations start to appear before Grand Forks city council Mayor Brian Taylor challenged his colleagues to consider if the city is going to do project-based funding or look at it from the perspective of social planning at their meeting last Monday, Nov. 5.
Taylor mentioned this in context of a potential request from the Phoenix Ski Hill Society which did not receive funds from the city in the last fiscal year, and in light of an annual funding request from the Boundary Museum Society which was received and passed on to the upcoming budget process for 2013.
Along the same mode of thinking, Taylor reported that the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) may be looking at a referendum process in the coming year to deal with fees for shared services. Taylor noted that the current maximums on many services are being reached and the region may be forced to adjust the levels. Included in the talks at the regional table will be a request from the city for a shared service agreement for the local airport which serves as the entire region’s emergency access for fixed wing aircraft.
“We’re really at the height of what we can do there (at the RDKB) without reducing service. I know we’re also trying to keep our expenses under control here at the city and they’re facing the rising cost of power and various other things that we haven’t been able to control,” explained Taylor. “We’re reaching our limit of our allocations of funding to them. I’ll keep you updated as we move forward.”
In other reports councillor Cher Wyers publicly announced that the Rail Trail 200, the regional dog sled race slated for January 2013, has been cancelled for the year.
“This is due to a shortage of volunteers, and the need to do more fund raising,” said Wyers. “Also they need to re-design the event to make it more spectator-friendly. The event will return in January 2014.”
Wyers also noted that volunteers have now taken on the responsibility for data collection on air quality over the winter months using the nephelometer on loan to the city from the University of Victoria after the summer student returned to school.
Along with adding a bear attraction, the new organics waste recovery system (green bins) have raised the bar to challenge council over fees collected for garbage services. Local resident, Dave Milton, suggested in a letter to council that since he produces far less garbage then other neighbours he should be charged less.
The current services costs are what are considered fixed rates – everyone pays the same. But Milton proposed that they should allow residents to pay per bag to be more equitable.
Council discussed the idea, and asked Taylor to get more information from the waste services staff with the RDKB for further discussion on options for service fees.
Councillor Bob Kendel reminded residents to take the time to complete the city’s branding survey at: http://www.grandforkssurvey.com/
A downtown business group is actively meeting and is in discussion on how to formalize their association and move into a downtown business improvement area model. This would allow for the city, if decided, to create a levy to assist in downtown development and activities. A meeting of the group Tuesday, Nov. 13 will continue the discussion started with the city’s economic development group, reported councillor Gary Smith.
Watch council’s meetings online at GFTV with Les Johnson!