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REPORTING · 30th December 2012
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council met for the Budget Presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 11th and 12th. All Councillors were present and Mayor Joanne Monaghan listened in via telephone.

The night before the budget presentation, Monday December 10th, the Kitimat Museum and Archives gave their budget presentation to Council. Louise Avery, the Museum Curator presented on just what the Museum does for the community of Kitimat and their plans for 2013.

The Museum wants to create a heritage walkway brochure. They are also asking for extra money to increase the hours for the gift shop worker giving them three more hours of work, new cases for the Haisla First Nations exhibits and a new security monitor. A report to Council also asked for exterior leak sealing.

Also this year, The BC Museum’s Association is planning to hold their AGM in Terrace. They wish to hold some meetings at the Kitimat Museum in addition to a lunch and a training session.

The museum asked for $261,300 for an operating budget and $15,000 for supplementary.

The night of the 11th, Fire Chief Trent Bossence presented on behalf of the Kitimat Fire Department. He explained it was a challenge to get his budget below a 2% increase. He explained just what the Fire Department does.

“We are one of the most diverse fire departments in BC,” said Bossence. “We do both fire and paramedic services as well as the specialized rescue the guys do. We are a very looked at Fire Department; we are admired not just throughout BC but Canada for that matter.”

Bossence explained the Fire Department is moving into approximately 900 industrial inspections including inspections for Shell, Apache and Rio Tinto Alcan. This includes the demolishing of buildings. Council discussed just who is liable in the case of an incident. However, this will be a topic for the New Year.

The next item which needed a lot of review was the Emergency Program. Bossence told Council he had put a request in for a new position at the Fire Hall and this would free up time for him to work on it. The Fire fighters are also doing a lot of in house training which saves a lot of money.

“We are exploring cost savings through replacing single purpose vehicles with multipurpose vehicles,” said Bossence.

One of the items the Fire Department is replacing is Service 11. Service 11 was an old ambulance which was donated to the Fire Department from Rio Tinto Alcan. It was converted into a rescue truck which houses their confined space and high angle operations. Service 11 is no longer reliable and it’s at the point where they have to do something.

The Fire Department is also building a specialty truck for emergency responses which will cost over $600,000, taking the equipment from both Service 11 and the current Hazmat Trailer. The truck will also contain an area for Fire Fighters to get out of the way. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know if there were residual values on the trailer and Service 11. Bossence told Council the trailer has a value to it, Service 11 has no value other than a beater truck.

Two items which were prepared for the budget is The Public safety building also needs to be pressure washed and the canopy needs to be replaced. Finally, there is a miscellaneous fund for Fire Department Expenditures.

The Kitimat Fire Department asked for an operating budget of $2,959,487 and a supplemental budget of $713,700.

Municipal Manager Ron Poole was next, concerning Council expenses and expressed the Council should already know what they do and what the Municipal Manager does so he went straight into the budget. He explained there was one increase, where Councillor’s registrations were being integrated into the Council’s budget. It used to be in another category. He is also expecting retirement gifts to be coming up so he budgeted accordingly.

He said additional travel which has not been recognized yet was an issue for them. He went through Council’s travel which has already been budgeted for. He suggested Council add an additional $10,000 for their travel to other conferences.

Deputy Municipal Manager Warren Waychesen went through corporate administration. He explained there initiatives will be to look at the Kitimat Policies and Procedures which have not been changed since 2004.

While there were no representatives from the Humane Society, Waychesen went through their budget with Council. They would be looking at several projects including micro chipping, the spaying and neutering and the crematorium for in 2013. In addition, the Humane Society is also asking for two supplementary grants. The first is for improvements to the non-heated portion of their building while the second was for upgrades to the cat room.

Municipal Engineer Tim Gleig explained this grant was to put lighting in the half of the building which was not supposed to be occupied. Acting Mayor Corinne Scott asked if they had completed the upgrades to the cat room in 2012. She was told the upgrades were ongoing.

Animal Services is looking at a grant of $124,580 for operations and $23,000 for supplementary.

Rose Klucas of Economic Development made the next presentation. She immediately stated they were going to get some new photo stock and joked about how everyone is using her photo of Kitimat in their advertising. She stated she needs another person in the department as their last person was transferred out.

“The focus of our advertising will be on attracting people to live in Kitimat and some of the emendates which make it a good community to come because that is going to be an area where we are going to need to spend time on as the projects that we know about unfold,” said Klucas.

Klucas explained there are 31 major industrial proponents looking at Kitimat. 6-10 of them have made more than one trip to Kitimat. Klucas deals with them over the telephone long before they come to Kitimat. She added they work with a large number of investors in hospitality, retail and small manufacturer.

She expressed she has been working on is the Northwest Regional Workforce table. Their goal is to come up with a skills training plan for this area. She pointed out she has three teenagers who are going to need to get a job and want to stay in the Kitimat area.

One of her suggestions, after meeting with local business owners, was to recommend later work hours for local businesses because people tend to be more active later in the day.

Economic Development asked for an operating budget of $410,570.

The Community Planner, Gwen Sewell was next. She expressed they are going to bring the staff up to speed on how to edit and maintain the District of Kitimat Website. They want to make navigation easier for the public.

There are several plans such as ocean access, several planned initiatives in the Downtown core, all of which use grant money. There are plans for a vehicle charging station which is covered 75% by a grant.

One thing which needs to be done is Downtown revitalization. There is a series of signs down town which need to be updated and corrected, Engineering is going to be working on several sidewalks and there needs to be some lighting improvements on those corridors. Sewell suggested some beautification on these walkways as well with banners or hanging baskets.

One of the final goals involves streamlining development procedures which would change the regulations to put responsibilities for renewal permits into the hands of the CAO and write some development guides to make it easier for people to submit and fill out applications.

She concluded with the goal of preparing for Minette Bay development for 2014 if they can secure a site in 2013.

The Planning Department asked for an operating budget $210,710 and $53,000 for supplementary.

The two largest requests, the Engineering Department and the Recreation Department still had to present. Expect to see a summary of their budgets appear on the site tomorrow.