Keremeos Village Council received a briefing from Regional District Okanagan Similkameen’s Finance Officer Sandy Croteau regarding the village’s 2014 RDOS budget requisition at the regular council meeting on February 3.
A new line item to the Keremeos requistion this year is funding for the Similkameen Valley Visitors Information Centre, operational costs that are shared jointly with Electoral Areas “G” and “B”. (Prior to this year’s budget, funding for the centre came through the grant in aid process.)
Residents of the village will see increases in spending for the rec facility, the garbage dump and shared services accounting for the biggest increase in tax revenue. Keremeos’ total requisition comes in this year at $302,936, which is $26,434 higher than last year.
The increase amounts to an average of $29 per household.
Croteau also noted that assessment values in Keremeos were also down this year, more than in other parts of the region.
Council adopted changes to the building bylaw, in addition to adopting two fees and changes bylaws (for sewer and building infractions). The municipal ticket information bylaw amendment was also adopted.
Council discussed two separate notice of motion put forward by Councillor Arlow for submission to the Union of BC Municipalities.
The first one requested the province require motels, hotels and other accommodation facilities to change their phone systems to all 911 accessibility from all rooms simply by dialing 911, as opposed to having to dial an outside line first.
Council voted in favour of the motion, by a three to two margin after some discussion.
Mayor Manfred Bauer attempted to point out to council that the motion did not have any scientific data to back up any claims that such a request would facilitate an emergency response.
“We would need to find a way to explain scientifically why this motion is needed, Bauer said, “Otherwise, based on my experience with these matters, I doubt very much it would pass.”
Bauer also expressed reservations about the extra cost such a request might have on lodgekeepers.
Councillors Arlow, Thielmann and Evans disagreed, voting in favour of the notice of motion.
The second motion dealt with a request to petition the province to remain on daylight saving time on a permanent basis. Council saw this as less of an issue, with Evans declaring that he didn’t care one way or the other.
“You go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark,” he said. Mayor Bauer suggested that there were probably as many of the public for as there were against the motion, which ultimately went down in defeat.