Operating budget briefs

  • Jan. 18, 2012 4:00 p.m.

Centennial planning

City council allocated $40,000 in the budget for Centennial Planning separate to the funds that had been approved for the Centennial Committee to go ahead with. The funds were intended for the City to make some decisions regarding celebrations for the Centennial year which will take place in 2013 while working with the Centennial Committee so as not to duplicate plans.

“I can not say that $40,000 would be the exact number,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

IPSOS Reid survey

Council debated about whether or not to change the figure allocated to the IPSOS Reid survey. The original number was $10,580 which would allow for the increased cost per question on the survey as well as allowing for an additional six questions.

Councillor Tara Veer said she wasn’t sure six additional questions were necessary.

“The IPSOS Reid shouldn’t be the only way we ask our public their opinions.”

A motion was moved in to change the amount to $7,000 but it failed.

“The IPSOS Reid survey is great value. We save money by putting questions into the survey rather than doing open houses. It gives us excellent information that is statistically significant,” said Councillor Chris Stephan.

Snow and ice control

There were some suggestions regarding the Snow and Ice Control policy including the fact that it is hard to allocate money when the policy isn’t completed.

“We need to find some balance between street clearing and pedestrian accessibility. I think we need to figure out some way they can both occur at the same time,” said Councillor Paul Harris.

Councillor Buck Buchanan wanted it pointed out that of the increase in the 2012 budget, was one of the largest. “This is where money is being put.”

The total amount allocated to this policy is $572,028.

Criminal analyst for the RCMP

A recommendation by the RCMP to fund a criminal analyst position was approved by all of council except Councillor Buck Buchanan.

City Manager Craig Curtis said that the specializations required for this position made it such that it could not have been any municipal employee who gained this title.

“I think it takes a specialized body of expertise to do this. We probably don’t have a municipal employee who could do this job and we need accurate information if we’re going to be making decisions,” said Councillor Lynne Mulder.

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said she sees the City as continuing to grow all of the time. The criminal analyst position would provide a map of where crime happens.

“When we look at the policing review this was a recommended position. It will be an added resource for the RCMP and for the City as a whole,” said Wyntjes.

Library planning

Council approved $25,000 for library planning with only Councillors Frank Wong and Chris Stephan opposed.

“Libraries are a huge part of our lives. When we fund education it impacts safety in the community and the potential that people have to fulfil life’s goals,” said Councillor Paul Harris.

Some of the $25,000 will be put towards the already approved Timberlands library but the vast majority of it will go towards the planning of a new location on the southeast side of the City.