It is budget time once again and groups and organizations have put in their requests for funding for the next fiscal year. Several community services, including the RCMP, the Kitimat Museum and the Public Library stepped up to make their presentations. Mayor Joanne Monaghan reminded Councillors there were to be no decisions at the meeting, everything, with one exception, was referred to budget.
Allan Smith from the Kitimat Halibut Allocation Task Force Stepped up to present first followed by Ron Wakita. Information on the Halibut Allocation Task Force can be found here
. Council granted pre-budget approval to their request for $3000.00.
The second person to step up was Luella Froess from the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group. She explained the committee was formed to recruit and train hospital personnel for the operating room, emergency room and acute care. However, they have also become a group to support and retain specialty services and issues around Mountain View Lodge. She exprsssed KHAG is concerned about changes within the hospital and the loss of services which are slowly being centralized.
Froess stated KHAG has $13,000 remaining in their account. Funds were spent in 2010 to help pay for an Appreciation Dinner at the Rod and Gun, as well as to send Operating Room nurses to Vancouver for further training. She said the expenses for 2011 include training for nurses in a cardiac life support course. KHAG is not asking for any further funds from the District at this time.
Madeline Robinson took the stand next to speak about the Mount Elizabeth Court Renovation Project. She shared the history of the courts. Maintenance on them stopped in the late 90s. Further information can be found here
. She asked Council for $36,494 which would fund one third of the project. She added they have asked Alcan for a grant as well as other industries which are coming to Kitimat, so they might not need the grant.
Tasha Harris from Victim Services stepped up next. She explained Victim Services deal with the victims of crimes as well as families who are going through times which require assistance or referral to a community partner. She further explained how they support people in the community.
Staff Sergeant Steve Corp took the stand to speak kindly about Victim Services. Denise OíNeil stepped up to speak about the success of the project. They requested $35,640 which is less than the sum they requested last year. OíNeil assured Council they were able to offer the same level of service with this reduced amount.
Corp took the stand again to make a request on behalf of the Kitimat RCMP. He explained the cost for each officer has increased and the force is reducing by two officers, leaving 13 officers. He explained two officers were transferring out and would not be replaced. However, the positions will be listed as vacant so they could be quickly filled in the case of an economic turnaround. Necessary expenditures for hard body armour and cell retrofits were covered in the 2010 budget. Corp requested no further supplementary expenditures. The total request made was for $1,331,890
Bill Witty stepped up next representing the Kitimat Seniorís Branch #129. He expressed the money he was requesting replaced a Grant from UBCM for a Seniorís Coordinator. This grant is no longer available. He requested $23,500. He also asked Council to consider a long term agreement of 3 years.
Louise Avery and Judith Halland were next, representing the Kitimat Museum and Archives. She expressed they had a very busy year in 2010, and went through the highlights. Avery requested an increase to the grant this year because operating costs have increased. In addition, the museum staff have gone for two years without a wage increase. They requested $189,147. In addition, the museum are seeking money from Canadian Cultural Spaces to do a feasibility study for the retrofit. They will provide 50% of the money and Council was asked for 50%, an additional $50,000.
Avery switched hats to Kitimat Arts for Youth. She explained they have been working hard teaching youth about performing and visual arts. They funded the band program which is now fully funded by the school district. The organization funds further activities around music while branching into other arts. Avery requested $3000 for KAFY.
Barbara Feldhoff took the stand next to make the request for the Mount Elizabeth Theatre. She thanked Council for the Lighting Board which was provided last year. They requested $61,000. This includes an investment in the sound system. She also spoke very highly of the Mount Elizabeth Musical Theatre performance of the Wizard of Oz. She expressed the theatre was very well used by the public.
Next came Barb Hall from Kitimat Understanding the Environment. She expressed they experienced a cost cutting exercise in 2009 when prices fell. However, the District helped them with a $750 a month grant. In 2010, KUTE received an upgrade to lighting from their landlord which brightened the facilities and lowered their utilty bills, 101 Industries repaired their Shredder and the volunteers worked the equivalent of a full time employee. She said commodity prices were approaching normal levels and drop ins were strong. In addition, 2011 is the 20th anniversary of KUTE. She requested $58,868, which was the amount of money Council granted KUTE in 2004.
Virginia Chiron took the stand to present the Budget for the Kitimat Public Library along with Judith Halland. She expressed despite the cut they took last year, they are still doing well. The library is still receiving praise for itís childrenís programs. Circulation and visitors dropped by 10%, but the number of days open to the public dropped and library staff was reduced by one member due to the budget cuts. She asked for no capital funding as it had already been secured by the Friends of the Library. Chiron asked for $393,000 and asked Council to consider gardening at the library as a part of their gardening budget.
The Kitimat Flying Club was next and they made a simple request for $5000 to help cover their operating expenses.
Art Emerson was the next speaker, representing the Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club. He asked to continue the partnership with the District of Kitimat and requested $10,000. Emerson spoke about the programs they offer at the club including curling, a tobogganing hill and of course, golf. The money the District gives the club is used to keep fees down.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know about the grant which was provided by City Council. It was explained the money went towards paying down their debt. They are still carrying out cost cutting measures. He also expressed the curling rink compressor failed during the season and they lost $10,000 to this.
Bob McLeod of the Kitimat Emergency Plan requested $12,940 from Council. McLeod went over the highlights from 2010. Councillor Randy Halyk asked about the concerns caused by the government downloading costs. McLeod explained the issues have resolved themselves, but they will be focusing on in house training rather than relying on the Justice Institute.
The final presentation was by the Retire in Kitimat Task Force. Magaret Sanou took the stand but told Council there was little she could say as she gave a full report two months ago. She expressed they do what they say they do and they were looking for money from other sources as well. She asked for $30,000 for advertisers and will be going to other organizations for money so they could go to trade shows and advertise in national magazines.
About, $2,705,854 was requested from the organizations in Kitimat. All of it was refered to the budget process.