Budget presented to public
A half dozen residents turned out to the April 7 regular meeting of council to comment on the 2014 budget.
Chief Financial Officer Rob Hager presented a brief outline of highlights of this year’s financial plan. He noted average taxes for a household in Keremeos was up only $2.61 over last year.
It was also pointed out 40.22 per cent of the village’s operating revenues came from grant funding, with tax revenue contributing 35.28 per cent.
Council entertained questions from the gallery regarding construction costs for village washroom upgrades, commercial property taxation and downtown revitalization.
Dog park petition
Village staff received a 124 signature petition favouring the establishment of a dog park in the community. The issue will be discussed at a future council meeting.
Two of Keremeos’ most popular weekend events made their annual requests to council on Monday.
The Keremeos Rodeo requested sponsorship in the form of an $800 prize for a rodeo event.
The Kars Under the “K” committee also requested trophy sponsorship of $100, in addition to a number of in kind support items such as erection of barricades, sprinkler shutdown in the park over the Kars weekend, washrooms opened and dust control on Veterans Avenue.
Council agreed to the requests.
Business Walk A business walk is planned for the last week in April with representatives from the village, the Chamber of Commerce, and the provincial government.
The goal is to gather information from the business community and identify possible solutions to facilitate business growth.
Three questions will be put to each business and the results of the survey will be captured in a summary report.
Gas Tax Fund update
Staff gave council an update on the current state of the Gas Tax Funding program.
Chief Administrative Officer Laurie Taylor noted that changing criteria regarding grant elegibility made it difficult to know presently what projects in the village could be funded from the program.
Taylor said the village expected to see $84,690 in 2014 from the Community Works Fund, dollars that in the past funded such projects as a road network study, the Victory Hall retrofit, the Village Office retrofit and the Liquid Waste Management Plan. Sidewalk rehabilitation is in the works for this year’s grant.
Other gas tax funds include the General Strategic Priorities Fund and Innvations Fund, and the Regionally Significant Projects Fund.
The village recently received reservoir funding in the amount of $300,000 from the Regionally Significant Projects Fund. Grants from this fund are prioritized by the Regional District Okanagan – Similkameen board of directors.
Taylor told council future funding under the Gas Tax Fund could also include projects such as highways, broadband connectivity, brownfield redevelopment, culture, tourism, sport and recreation infrastructure. The criteria for these expanded products will not be known until the provincial and federal governments sign the new GTF agreements.
Liquid Waste Management Plan
Council received a report from staff regarding future work on the community’s waste management plan.
CAO Taylor told council stage one of the LWMP was complete, with stage two underway.
Taylor said the village needs to re-engage Ministry of Environment officials, the Technical Advisory and Public Advisory Committee, village council and First Nations.
The draft summary report of the LWMP must be updated, with public engagement through an open house and public review to follow.
Taylor said staff hope to complete an updating of the plan in September, after open houses and public review in June and July.