COUNCIL MATTERS: Life-saving good citizens recognized; Financial plan; Rocky Horror Picture Show

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
April 2nd, 2019

Rossland City Council Meeting, April 1, 2019  [UPDATED]

Council Members Present:  Mayor Kathy Moore, and Councillors Chris Bowman, Dirk Lewis, Scott Forsyth, Stewart Spooner, Andy Morel and Janice Nightingale.

Public Input Period:

Lisa Henderson spoke on behalf of the Gold Fever Follies about the contract amendment agenda item to accommodate the summer performance “camps” they put on.

Denis Senecal spoke on behalf of the Rossland Light Opera Players about their request to allow a midnight performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in June.

Presentation: Moore presented a “Good Neighbour Commendation Award” to Shane Dixon, who was present to receive the award, and Leanne Cruikshank for their crucial assistance to neighbours recently driven from their home in the night by a fire.  Dixon and Cruikshank noticed the flames and went over to wake the family of four so they could escape the burning home.  Some reports have indicated that the family got out just before part of the roof collapsed, and that Dixon and Cruikshank’s actions saved their lives.  Dixon modestly accepted the plaque, flowers, and a gift basket including coffee and chocolates from local businesses.

Financial Plan Bylaw: 

Council discussed the City of Rossland Financial Plan 2019 – 2023 Bylaw # 2694.  Chief Financial Officer Elma Hamming gave a detailed presentation on the plan, including historical and projected tax increases and their impact on individual households; other revenues; line-by-line expenditures expected; the City’s debt levels, and why we carry debt; reserves being built for future needs; and the evolving Asset Management Plan. Hamming’s presentation demonstrated the benefits of developing a robust Asset Management Plan, and pro-active financial planning for expenditures, rather than old-style reactive spending.

A Public Consultation on the Financial Plan is scheduled for April 8, at the Miners Hall, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

How much will property taxes bite?

The City can control only the municipal portion of our property tax bill, and the Local Services charges; other line items – including the Police Tax Levy, the School Tax, the Regional District Levy, and the WK Hospital Levy — are not under the control of our City Council. 

So, how much will our municipal property taxes go up on the “average assessment”?  And how does that compare with other years?

According to the documents presented at the Council meeting, the average assessment for 2018 taxes is deemed to be $297,717.  For someone with that assessment, the municipal taxes will amount to $2,108; that’s an increase of $98 over the previous year – a percentage increase of 4.88%.

For the remaining years in this financial plan, the tax increases are predicted to be smaller:  3%, then  2.5%.

Below:  one of the slides illustrating Hamming's presentation on the 2019 — 2023 Financical Plan.

Hamming responded to councillors’ questions as they arose.  A resolution to give the bylaw first reading as presented CARRIED unanimously.      

Staff Reports and Updates:

a)           Natural Control Alternatives Society:  Council discussed the Society’s request for a different location for a dumpster for public use on non-collection days, as the Ministry of Transportation has requested that the bin be removed from the area near the Museum during the winter months.  The dumpster operates on the honour system; users are requested to pay $4 per bag – the same as is charged at the landfill site – to cover expenses.  A  motion to allow the Society to store the dumpster in the arena parking lot during the snow season CARRIED. [Note: the dumpster will NOT be available for use during the non-bear season, while stored in the arena parking lot.]

b)           Gold Fever Follies contract amendment request:  The  Follies have run performance based “summer camps” – or workshops – in years past, but they were formerly run through Rossland Recreation.  That will no longer be the case, so the Follies need an amendment to their contract with the City to enable them to run the “camps” – and to allow the Follies performers to keep most of the proceeds, as this is a needed boost to their rather minimal earnings. 

A  motion to amend the contract to include the Follies’ “summer camps,”  with 100% of the proceeds going to the Follies actors, CARRIED unanimously.     

c)           February 2019 Public Works and Water Production Report

Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo was invited to talk about the arena.  He explained the recent brine line leak that brought the arena’s ice to an early end this year, and the options that are being explored; the whole chiller is reaching the end of its life.  He pointed out that in 2018, the City spent over $100,000 for the ventilation system, to ensure a greater level of safety in a facility with an ammonia-based chilling system.  The lead time to order a new chiller is 12 weeks; installation could take about four weeks.  He’ll provide a full report for the next Council meeting.

Morel had a citizen ask him why heavy equipment was being used to remove snow-piles that are going to melt anyway.  Albo explained that they try to remove the snow that contains heavy loads of sand and gravel, to minimize the amounts that will plug up the City’s storm-drain catch-basins – or that some residents will, unfortunately, rake out onto the street AFTER the City has removed gravel from the streets, instead of before.

d)           Council had no questions about the Updated Task List.

Requests arising from Correspondence:

a)           The Rossland Light Opera Players requested permission to use the Miners Union Hall for one late show – starting at midnight – of their next production, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  RLOP President Denis Senecal explained that they plan four shows – three starting at 7:00 pm on Thursday June 6, Friday June 7, and Saturday June 8; but to start the planned fourth and final show at midnight on Saturday, they need special permission from the City.  A motion to give RLOP permission for the midnight show CARRIED unanimously, subject to the RLOP giving notice to the neighbours who  might be bothered by the noise of the party.  “We are such party animals …” mused Moore.

b)           (Gold Fever Follies President Lisa Henderson had submitted a letter explaining some of the details of the planned Follies “summer camps” and the rationale for their request.)

c)           Residents of eight households near the curve at Fifth Avenue and Monte Christo Street submitted a written request to the City to take additional measures to prevent crashes there.  The curve is on a hill, and the City has already installed concrete protective barriers and signage urging extreme caution, but the residents think more is needed – they stated that “another vehicle was struck recently” there, and they suggest bolder signage, reducing the speed limit there to 20 km/h, or perhaps restricting traffic on that section of road to one-way during the winter months. 

A motion to refer the problem to staff for recommendations CARRIED, with Spooner opposed.

Members Reports:

Lewis  moved that the City donate $1,000  to help the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation host a Clean Energy Conference, the first of its kind outside the Lower Mainland.  This conference will showcase, and bring support for, renewable energy initiatives in BC and in our region.  The motion CARRIED unanimously.

Morel reported on the RDKB events, including progress on the liquid waste management plan.  RDBK has a new “join the conversation” link on its website – an opportunity for citizens to “weigh in” on topics that are open for comment on the site.  Here’s the link for interested citizens:


Moore asked Council whether they wanted to do the Community Initiatives Program (CIP) grants at the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting on Thursday April 4 differently than previously.  Nightingale pointed out that limiting grants to capital projects would disadvantage a  lot of groups, and that grants for operating expenses are difficult to  obtain. Apart from that, the group will use the same system.

Moore thanked Les Anderson and the Seniors group for putting on the CPR & defibrillation course, which was well  attended.

Council adjourned the meeting, and your reporter strode home at a good clip to stay warm  (the evening had cooled off considerably),  contemplating car crashes on Rossland’s steep and curvy streets, and wondering whether ANY measures imposed by the City can prevent self-absorbed drivers from speeding in town, driving while distracted or drunk, sliding on ice or loose gravel because of excessive speed for conditions, running stop signs, and otherwise inviting disaster for themselves and others.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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