Council moves budget to third reading and adoption

Paving of a short stretch of Twelfth Avenue near Pine Park is in the budget for 2011.

Paving of a short stretch of Twelfth Avenue near Pine Park is in the budget for 2011.

Keremeos Village Council received a request for sponsorship of the upcoming Elks Rodeo, scheduled for the Victoria Day long weekend in May. Council agreed to the annual request for $600 towards one of the rodeo events.

Council also agreed to the rodeo committee’s request for access control of Keremeos streets during the rodeo parade, slated for May 23.

Council moved a step closer to adopting this year’s budget after giving the document first, second, and third readings.

The village has $642,000 of capital projects planned for 2011, with a further $680.000 planned for 2012 through 2015. Capital funding will be achieved through reserve funding, senior government grant funding, and other more specialized grant funding such as gas tax and Provincial Community Investment grants. Borrowing will also have to be considered, if necessary, to fund replacement of the village’s aging infrastructure.

Road work on Twelfth Avenue between Sykes Crescent and the west end of Pine Park is scheduled for completion in 2011 along with work on the alley between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue and Fourth and Fifth Street. The village’s 1980 vintage dump truck also needs replacement in 2011. This will be financed through a 15 year capital lease with the Municipal Finance Authority. Elector feedback on this truck purchase will be solicited later this year.

A marginal increase in municipal tax rates this year – 2.1 per cent – was necessary to offset increased costs that could not be absorbed by new construction within the village last year. The resulting increase is expected to add $15 to a property with an average assessment of $230,000; however, decreases in the regional district tax requisition will equate to a $13  reduction for a similarly assessed property.

Also effective in 2011, the provincial government has increased the homeowners’ grant by $200, which should result in a net reduction in taxes for most residents this year.

Several questions were put to council during question period, which was attended by two members of the public. Concerns about the  regional district’s increasing administrative presence in the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department was discussed, and comments surrounding unsightly premises in the valley were also elicited. It was noted by one resident that some people, it attempting to comply with unsightly premises bylaws, were subject to heavy handedness by the bylaw enforcement officer. Council responded that in some cases, clean up attempts had been ongoing for several years, which was frustrating to officers trying to achieve compliance.