Funding fun as council says 'yes' to museum and 'no' to Seven Summits

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
January 30th, 2014

Monday, January 27th, 2014

It was a long evening — a Committee-of-the-whole (“COW”) meeting started at 5:00, followed by a regular Council meeting at 7:00.  Funding, swimming holes, electric fences, broad-band —Read on!  And please don’t be disappointed by the lack of personal opinion in this column; it is my intention to provide facts, in as unbiased a way as possible for an opinionated human, and let readers form their own opinions.

FUNDING DISCUSSIONS:  starting at just after  5:00 pm with Mayor Greg Granstrom and Council members Kathy Moore, Jill Spearn, and Jody Blomme present,  Council carried on with work begun in December on recommendations for  budget allocations.   Belt-tightening measures were evident, as many requests for grants from the City were “shaved”.   Councillors Tim Thatcher and Cary Fisher arrived later.

The Museum  Society was among the few recommended for  the full operating grant of $48,450.  Blomme and Moore spoke in favour of trimming that amount slightly, in line with other reductions, but the  motion to recommend the full amount carried 3 – 2.

A majority of Council voted down a grant request for $15,000 for the “Seven Summits of Learning”  school;  Granstrom spoke strongly against funding from the City for “private education” and Thatcher agreed with him.  Blomme thought it would set a precedent.  Moore and Spearn spoke about the value to Rossland of keeping K-12 schooling, and about how that is in our Strategic Sustainability Plan, and spoke in favour of making the grant on a one-year-only basis, to give the school a stronger start, but the motion to recommend funding was defeated.

Council then discussed a 43-page document prepared by the Accountant/Comptroller, Lois Hunter,  in response to a number of questions asked by Moore,  seeking  a  detailed cost break-down and summary for the Columbia-Washington  project.  Many of Moore’s questions were answered, but several  were omitted as requiring more time than  Ms. Hunter has available for several more months.  

Council material also included a 17-page document with detailed questions and comments from Councillor Moore, and responses from Ms. Hunter,  on Rossland’s 2014-2018 Draft Financial Plan.

  A letter from the City’s auditor, Berg Lehmann, outlined a number of flaws in the City’s procedures and suggested remedies, including:

·         Amend the Financial Plan by bylaw when significant changes are needed;

·         Put bylaws in place to set up reserve funds, to limit their use to the intended purposes;

·         Do regular monthly bank reconciliations;

·         Present detailed financial reports to Council on a quarterly basis;

·         All staff, including senior management, should provide signed time-sheets to the payroll  clerk for each pay period;

·         Put in place a process to identify “related parties” and transactions with related parties.

Each point was addressed, and it was noted that some of the deficiencies in procedure were not the norm for Rossland, and all of them are being remedied.

   After a very brief break, Council moved into a REGULAR COUNCIL MEETINGat 7:00.  Some highlights include:

·         A delegation from the Rossland Chamber of Commerce  (Blomme left the room, as she is now employed by the Chamber) seeking an arrangement with the City to share the use of the Rotary Health  Centre with Search and Rescue and  the Food Bank;

·         A delegation from Tourism Rossland, noting that accommodation revenues in Rossland for 2013 were a record 3.9 million for the first 11 months of 2013, and seeking Council permission to use their new “splash page” design on the city website (Council passed a motion to this effect at the end of the meeting).

·         Council passed two motions on a request to remove the building scheme from seven lots on Planer Crescent; the first motion approved removing the building scheme upon the consent of the other owners, and the second motion approved requiring the applicant to pay the costs of removing the building scheme.

·         Council considered concerns raised by a resident about electric fences, and passed a motion directing staff to prepare a draft bylaw regulating their use.   There was discussion about the amount of set-back from property lines that should be required,  whether signage should be required or just coloured tape, and whether the fences would pose a safety risk for children.

·          Council passed a motion to allocate $8,000 to a feasibility study on using Star Gulch or Ophir reservoir as a “recreational lake”.   The original motion referred only to Star Gulch, but Moore pointed out that she thought Rossland had higher priorities for the use of $8,000, but that if the study is done it might be better to consider both reservoirs  and decide which (if any) could be better for that use.   Thatcher pointed out that our pool is over 80 years old and “coming to the end of its life.” Blomme said she thought a recreational lake would bring money into Rossland.  Fisher said he hoped that  a main focus of the study will be  ensuring the safety of the City’s water supply, and its quality.  The Corporate Officer mentioned that, if people are going to be swimming in a body of water, there must be water flowing through it, according to Interior Health.


Granstrom and Blomme updated Council on the progress of Rossland’s broadband investment;  the City has done its part for now, and the next step is up to the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation.  Rossland cannot do anything at this point to hurry things along.


Council  moved into an in camera session, and your reporter walked home.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

Other News Stories