The presentation of the District of Barriere’s Draft 2013 Budget at the March 18 council meeting saw only six members of the public in attendance.
While the tax rates for the Regional District, School, Hospital, BCAA, MFA, and Police have not yet been received by the District, they have worked out what the Municipal Taxes will be. There will be a slight increase of 1.6 percent for the average residential home and business in Barriere.
A representative house worth $165,430, in 2012 paid $523.72, and in 2013 will pay $532.03. A representative house worth $250,000, in 2012 paid $791.45, and in 2013 will pay $804.01. A representative house worth $350,000, paid $1108.03 in 2012, and will pay $1125.61 in 2013. A representative business worth $283,000, paid $2239.80 in 2012, and will pay $2275.34 in 2013.
Members of the public were also given an opportunity to comment on the Draft 2013 Budget. One question asked was in regards to budgeted amounts for economic development. In 2012, $40,100 was budgeted, while the 2013 draft budget only has $6,400 budgeted. The question being, “Will this significantly lower amount seriously affect the ability of the District to promote Barriere, and what was cut?”
The District responded by stating most of the difference was the amount budgeted for the salary of the then Economic Development Officer (EDO) position, a position that was removed at the end of 2012.
Mayor Humphreys stated, “Things are progressing nicely for Barriere, even without the EDO.” He noted other steps have been taken to promote Barriere, such as the creation of the District of Barriere Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No 101.
The budget for the Parks, which includes the Ball Diamonds and the Community Hall is slightly up from last year, with $83,300 being budgeted in 2012, and $89,675 for 2013.
Council is still putting $30,000 each year into the reserve fund for City Hall, and $30,000 into the reserve fund for Water Improvements.
After hearing from everyone who wished to speak on the budget, the council continued on with the rest of their meeting.
The second and third readings of the District of Barriere Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 101 were passed. The final reading and adoption will be at the April 8, Council meeting.
Council members received a report from the Barriere Fire Department. The District has received approval for 50/50 funding for a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Members moved to take $6000 (the District’s share of the funding) from Fire Surplus for this project.
Council members approved the 2013 Budget Expenditures as presented, with the addition of $6000 of funding for the Wildfire Protection Plan.
Chief Administrative Officer Colleen Hannigan reported on several ongoing projects.
The Septage Receiving Project is progressing well. The water lines and concrete for the outside pads are currently being worked on. Once the structure is completed, work will begin on the installation of the mechanical and electrical portions of the plant.
The final structural drawings for the Solar Aquatics Wastewater Plant will be ready for final review at a Committee of the Whole meeting that will take place on March 25 at 7 p.m. in the District Chambers. The plan is to have this ready to let for tender by the end of the month. Council is hoping that a preliminary assessment of the potential for hot water heat in the area of the first phase of wastewater pipes will be ready for review at this same meeting.
Summer positions are now posted on the District website, with a link on the front page. Successful candidates will receive WorksafeBC and first aid training as part of their jobs. The job description has been kept very general, as students will be expected to work in a variety of situations, mowing, weed whacking, gardening, digging, painting, etc., while rotating through the Chamber’s tourism booth.
At the end of the meeting, questions were allowed from the public. A question was raised regarding the bid process for Road Maintenance, which the District takes over from the Province in September of this year. Mayor Humphreys stated that it will be June before these will be posted for bids, as the District is still compiling information on what will be required.
Another question was asked, this time regarding the anticipated costs for residents to hook up to the sewer system. Mayor Humprheys replied that they will have a better idea about this by the middle of May, as again, they are still compiling information on this.
Next council meeting will be April 8, at 7 p.m.