Talking bylaws among the falling leaves
The regular Council meeting originally scheduled for September 29, 2014, was cancelled for lack of quorum; too many Council members were unable to attend because of illness. This Special Council Meeting, called to order at 4:00 p.m., had a shorter agenda.
Present: Mayor Greg Granstrom, and Council members Tim Thatcher, Kathy Moore, Jill Spearn, and — arriving only slightly late — Jody Blomme.
No one appeared to provide Public Input, and there were no delegations.
The first order of business was a motion that Council continue to support the approved grant application for the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, which has been ongoing since 2009, and approve the additional expenditure required to obtain the grant funds, up to a maximum of $12,000 to be funded from the general operating fund accumulated surplus. Carried.
Next up, the Youth Action Network Service Agreement renewal, with amendments: a motion to approve a service agreement with Mike Kent. Kathy Moore commented on the high quality of his work, and moved to send a letter of thanks to Mike Kent for his excellent efforts. Motions for the renewal and the letter of thanks both carried.
Council then briefly discussed the contract for “as and when” engineering services, with ISL Engineering and Land Services. The contract had been slightly amended after Moore sought input on the draft contract from engineers Ken Holmes and Sean Thornton, and met with Holmes and Public Works Manager Darrin Albo. Moore and Albo both expressed appreciation for their advice, and the motion to approve the amended contract carried.
Council then dealt with bylaws.
First, Bylaw #2578, “a bylaw to close, remove highway dedication and dispose of a portion of dedicated road” — in this case, the boulevard adjacent to 2306 Second Avenue. The home encroaches slightly on the boulevard, and acquiring a section of it (a section the City does not need for snow storage) will enable the homeowner to improve the property. Thatcher said he had viewed the property and agrees that the application should be granted. He noted that he had opposed a similar application in a different location in the past, but thinks this one is warranted. Moore opposed the application, speaking about sight-lines and potential problems with future building, saying that she thinks the City should have a policy of “never selling off right-of-ways unless there is a compelling reason.” Spearn noted that an owner could later apply for a variance to reduce the set-back. Moore spoke of a “slippery slope” but Granstrom stated that each application is a “one-off” to be decided on it own merits. The motion for first and second reading carried, with Moore opposed.
Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw #2577: this bylaw allows the following properties to be “exempt from municipal property tax valuation in 2015”: Sacred Heart Catholic Church; St. Andrew’s United Church; Rossland Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses; Rossland Child Care Society; Rossland Light Opera Players; Rossland Health Care Auxiliary Society; Canadian Legion; Seven Summits Centre for Learning; and Golden City Manor. A motion for first, second and third readings carried.
A motion for second and third readings of the Reserve Fund Establishment Bylaw #2576, which was given first reading on September 8, carried with no further discussion. A bylaw performing these functions has been recommended in the past by the City’s auditors.
The mayor then adjourned the meeting to an in camera session for discussion of “labour relations or other employee relations and litigation.”
And your reporter walked home to the whispery music of falling leaves, hoping that Rossland’s civic election next month will have a record turn-out of well-informed and thoughtful voters, and wondering when it will snow and whether Rossland and our surrounding hills will ever again be blessed with a winter like that of 1996-97 (though it was a very expensive winter for the City in terms of snow-removal); and then happily anticipating a dinner of roasted organic free-range chicken raised in Rossland, with lots of fresh vegetables from the rather messy garden.