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REPORTING · 30th March 2010
Walter McFarlane
The Kitimat City Council met for a special meeting on Monday, March 29. The topic of the budget was on the agenda for the evening. Mayor Joanne Monaghan called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. Not present was Councillor Richard McLaren.

Zo Mulder wished to present on the Budget Process. She promised it would be short. She explained the Budget Process to date, and showed Council the Final Budget and the Five Year Capital Plan.

“Right now, the Budget for 2010 is balanced and complete,” said Mulder. She asked Council if they had any questions and Councilor Mario Feldhoff requested that they go through the documents. They double checked several of the numbers and documents.

Councillor Feldhoff wanted to know about some big numbers which were on the list, $12,000,00 in 2014. Mulder explained these were items which were on the list as reminders to City Council of future projects such as building a City Hall. Monaghan and Mulder pointed out building a City Hall had been at the end of every Five Year Plan for some time. Feldhoff felt uncomfortable with these expenditures for the moment and motioned to remove the reminders of the Five Year Plan.

The motion was negative. A motion was made to give the Financial Plan one reading. The recommendation was to give it three readings, and there was no seconder. Councilor Corless motioned to give it three readings. Feldhoff was against the motion because he wanted to give the process sobre second thought. He said the Eurocan Viability Group met with a minister in Victoria last Friday and the tax increase was raised. He expressed they needed to work with the Government and West Fraser.

He suggested Council was being hasty in raising their taxes twenty percent and putting this into their reserves. He thought it would be good for discussion with the Eurocan Viability Group. They have until May 15th to put it in stone. Halyk suggested they could still make changes before the 15th. He was also informed there were leaks from the In Camera Meeting. Three readings were carried.

Mulder stated she would not be ready for two weeks, giving Council an opportunity to make changes.

The Museum budget request came up next. The request was to merge the capital budget into their operating budget. Halyk moved the recommendation. It was carried.

The appointments to the local government Treaty Advisory Committee was pushed in Camera because of strategic negotiations. The next item was canceled so it was received for information.

The Taxidart and Kitimat Transit Operating agreements cane up next. Halyk moved to refer transit back to administration with a 25 cent increase to regular transit. Both Transit and Taxidart were carried.

Council assignments were the next topic. Monaghan wanted to removed the ones which were complete. Halyk wished it in chronological order. All the completed items were removed. Monaghan wanted to delete inactive and items with recommended removal assignments. Feldhoff did not want to delete them without knowing the motion. A motion was passed for this.

Feldhoff also wished to have Industrial Building Inspection to come back, while Halyk inquired about video quality for Council Meetings. Councillor Corless also suggested moving the Council Meetings from the Public Safety Building. Feldhoff wanted this documentation brought back as well.

Councillor Gerd Gottschling pointed out the Alcan Power Sales issue was still on the list of priorities. He wanted to know if a letter had been sent to invite Paul Henning to Council. Monahgan said she talked to him about coming, but he has not indicated whether he could come to Council or not. Gottschling also noted the invitation was rated low on the list of the priorities. Halyk said priorities have to be set by Council rather than by Administration. The invitation was upgraded to top priority; the hiring of a grant writer was also upgraded to an top priority.

Monaghan wanted to know if the Alcan Land gift had been completed. Gwen Sewell pointed out it was on the list twice and was complete. Feldhoff said the kitchen renovation at the museum was complete.

There were several other line items including things from recent meetings, the cardboard ban, the copper smelter and the invitation to the Premier to visit. The Council is still working out a date on the last one.

Halyk wished to update Council on the Retirement Kitimat. He expressed concern Hewlett was spending money from the Economic Planning Industrial Service Development Budget. Halyk said it came down to escalating costs after the $20,000. Referencing the dog pound, he expressed Council could not have this happen while they do not have the budget.

Hewlett stated she wished to help support them and she does have a line item. She saw value in purchasing the ads from her own budget. Corless wanted to know if they were reinventing the wheel. He referenced a pamphlet he had seen. Hewlett said those were drafts created by the Retirement Committee. The motion failed. Halyk was opposed.

The next item was a letter from the City of Burnaby asking for support. The Canadian Government and the European Union have forged a trade agreement. Halyk pointed out this would neglect local business and agreed with Burnaby to oppose this decision. Council voted to send a letter of support to Burnaby