The 2013 budget has been passed. Not many extras or changes really. The increase in taxation reflects increases in the cost of such things as fuel, electricity, tipping charges for solid waste and wages. It seems just like in a personal budget nothing ever gets less expensive as years go along.
One change was that $5000 was put in the budget for running the Bandshell. Last year a number of generous sponsors stepped up to the plate to help put on some entertainment. The Bandshell committee did a great job of getting technical help as well as booking the entertainers. The sponsors and supporting workers were exceptionally generous with both their time and money last season.
We cannot, and should not assume that this largess from a small group of supporters will go on year after year. Council agreed that it might be time to fund the project at the front end and see if a revenue stream could be produced to carry on in the future. Hopefully this will come to be, so the program can not only be carried on, but expanded.
Another change in how the District operates is we are partnering with Barriere Secondary School to run a work experience program for students. This program is not free as wages will need to be paid. This is being done by using the wages listed in the budget for the various line items like parks, ball diamonds and cemetery.
In reality, I suppose the money should have been extracted from those line items and placed into its own portion of the budget so that the program would be funded and tracked easily. However, I am sure this can be done as we go along. Other towns throughout B.C. have run programs like this for years with students returning each year to help mentor new members of the program.
The student work experience program postings are on the District website. Already some interested parties have dropped into the office to apply. I encourage all parents of grade 11 and 12 students to give some thought to the program, and perhaps encourage your students to apply.
The District is not just looking to get summer season workers. The plan is to design the program so that each student involved can get some basic skills and experience that they can put to use going forward in life. Some first aid training is planned, and every student will be given the proper skills training prior to doing a task. I suspect that a good number of students already have skills that can be put to good use in servicing and maintaining our parks, ball diamonds and cemetery, as well as other tasks like greeting tourists.
In the past while, a committee has been looking into building a splash pad as part of Barriere’s 100 year celebrations. There is funding possibly available from the federal government to build projects that will be a legacy of the celebration. These funds cover 50 per cent of the cost of the project. The initial estimates of costs to build the splash pad are variable. They depend on what options are included. Some estimates start at $400,000 and go up as items are added. This is to build the structure only. It does not include any year over year costs, such as lease on the land, electricity, maintenance, staff costs and the list goes on.
I am not saying we should not have a splash pad. What I am suggesting is that before we as a community undertake a project with ongoing costs, that we should know what those costs are.
Further to this, since we all will pay for those costs, is this the project we all want?
Every project that the District undertakes requires proper planning. Council is charged with the responsibility of seeing that this is carried out. Project plans must include such items as research into ongoing and future costs, possible liability issues, what revenue stream is in place to pay for the project and so on. Every project is subject to the same due diligence. Unfortunately, in some cases, even the most attractive projects will be shelved until certain issues can be resolved.