Rossland Fire Services Requisition from RDKB may exceed $1 Million in 2024
REPORT: REGIONAL DISTRICT OF KOOTENAY BOUNDARY
RDKB Fire Services Requisition for Rossland expected to exceed one million dollars for the first time.
Below, Rossland Mayor and RDKB representative Andy Morel’s (unedited) notes on the Regional District’s meetings and plans to date this year:
RDKB BOARD ACTIVITIES:
Liquid Waste Management Plan Working Committee Meeting- January 9, 2024
Committee members/partners in this service include City of Rossland, Village of Warfield, City of Trail and Rivervale (Area B). Staff report provided by Goran D., Manager of Infrastructure on the Columbia Pollution Control Centre upgrade project. Final construction figures will be available shortly from contractor after extensive project evaluation looking for engineering and cost efficiencies. Project scope changes need to be approved by both Federal and Provincial granting authorities prior to contract signing and project start. Actual project start for mid-late 2024 anticipated.
Utilities Committee Meeting – January 10, 2024 by Teams
East End Sewer partners – Liquid waste management budget and workplan review for 2024. Small, necessary projects include smaller infrastructure upgrades – e.g. Murray Park pump replacement. Small increases in staffing costs anticipated. Workplan approved, budget deferred for further consultations and final 2023 costs tallied.
Board of Directors Meeting – January 10, 2024 by Teams
The staff report from Janine Dougall, General Manager of Environmental Services, requesting authorization by way to borrow funds to purchase a wood grinder in the amount of $1,077,000 through BC Municipal Finance Authority. This equipment is to replace an older unit and will be shared between the two RDKB waste disposal sites – McKelvey Creek, Trail and Grand Forks Landfill. Board approved.
Scheduled a governance check-in for RDKB Board Members and Senior staff for February 5, with consultant, Tracey Lorenson, Civic Excellence. This will be building on Tracey’s 2023 visit to RDKB Board early in new tenure.
East End Services Committee – January 16, 2024 in Trail
Parks and Recreation Report – Mark Daines, Manager provided update on a couple of relative items: invited Stew Spooner, Manager, KCTS with 2024 workplan for regional trail work – maintenance will be 2024 priority with minor trail alignments. Planning as well for eventual succession for organization. Genelle Green Space Park Development along Columbia River. Completed concept design (CBT financed). Potential $ for phase 2 of project, estimated at $1.2M being sought. It will be a great addition to regional park system supporting ecosystem enhancement and management being a priority.
Victim Services – Staff report by Jenn Penny. Anticipated budget increase supporting service of 4.08% for 2024. Small increase in Provincial subsidy towards this service in support of budget.
Regional Fire Service – Chief Dan Derby reporting on 2024 Work Plan and potential budget increase of 12%, reflecting increased costs to provide emergency services – salaries, equipment. Career firefighter contracts expiring in 2024 and up for negotiation. Anticipated Rossland allocation expected to exceed 1M for first time in 2024. Chief Derby provided 2023 Service call statistics showing substantial increase in first response medical call-outs supporting unhoused population. Paid on call firefighter recruitment continues to be a challenge in many partner communities in East End.
East End Economic Development Service – contracted to LCCDTS, Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society. 2024 Workplan finalization being negotiated between LCCDTS Staff and RDKB Staff. Proposed budget increase of 18+% at this point. East End Directors agreeing to support sustainable agricultural strategy including supporting Farm Advisor investment in Lower Columbia for 2024 and a continuation of $30K support for InCredible Farmer markets coordinator position. Rossland Farmers Market, if re-birthed, could utilize this positional support.
East End Transit – Staff Report – anticipating a large -33.5% proposed 2024 increase of which 10% being the addition of route 98, a new bus added between Trail and Castlegar to align with Central Kootenay commitment to support adjoining line from Nelson to Castlegar. RDKB staff and Directors are still looking at 2024 budget numbers to determine final 2023 costs and potential savings, with anticipated operational variable being +-15% of overall increase currently. Budget deferred to further deliberation by Committee and Staff. Ridership numbers still not back to pre-pandemic levels, however continuing to climb in 2023. BC Transit has recently tendered and approved a new operational contractor for Lower Columbia transit services.
“After 42 years of operating the local public transit bus lines, NextGen Transit — formerly known as Trail Transit — has lost the West Kootenay service contract. The last day of NextGen Transit services in the West Kootenay is March 31. BC Transit announced Tuesday afternoon that PW Transit Canada was awarded the new contract effective April 1. The base contract is for five years with allowable extensions to nine years.”
Policy and Personnel Committee – January 24, 2024 – Grand Forks Board Room
Review of multiple RDKB policies including Closed Meeting Agendas & Information policy, Correspondence policy, Management Hiring policy, Flag Half-masting policy, Service Analysis Kit policy, and Website Monitoring policy.
New Administration hire explanation – with personnel change due to retirement, the previous Executive Assistant title now Manager of Corporate Administration. Some duty changes including more direct assistance provided to Human Resources Department.
Lunch and Learn – January 24, 2024 – Grand Forks Board Room
Meeting Mastery – Corporate Officer A. Windje presenting on Roberts Rules clarifications and opportunities to streamline Board and Committee meeting efficiencies and management.
Board Meeting – January 24, 2024 – Grand Forks Board Room
Conference notification -Keeping it Rural Conference – May 21-23, Four Points Hotel, Kelowna. Registration currently open.
Delegation – Boundary Community Ventures Association: Food Recovery Tammy Battersby and Vicki Gee presented on the Boundary Food Hub successes, changes and continued improvements. Small Business options with development of commercial kitchen as well as feeding youth through school programs, rural soup kitchens for those in need.
Delegation – Community Futures: Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot Project – Erin Rooney and Andrea Wilkey looking for financial support of $19,725. over 3-year contract period. Working through Selkirk College.
AKBLG Conference sponsorship – Staff report with Board approval for $5000. towards conference support approved.
Workplan and Budget Presentations for 001 General Government Services – The proposed General Government Services (001) Five Year Financial Plan presents a 25.1% / $283,721 increase in the tax requisition. Overall, the service budget expenditures are decreasing by $92,956 compared to the prior year due to several factors. Much of the changes relate to the following: Salary, Wages and benefit costs increases; Consultant Fees decreases; Contingency for cost pressures has been removed; Capital project cost decreases (all funded by reserve). * Substantial proposed increases noted in this budget and others will be further investigated by both Staff and Directors in upcoming Budget specific meetings. Concerns about new proposed staff hiring will be discussed and debated.
Solid Waste Workplan and Budget 2024 proposing a 23.72% increase in current analysis. More number analysis once 2023 actuals determined. Anticipation of lower tipping fees with curbside compost program rollout. Need to maintain reserves of $500K to support future capital expenditures. Notable salary increases and benefits impacting this budget of $157,366 for 2024 anticipated. Reduction of operational hours for McKelvey Creek – alignment of weekday and weekend hours.
Emergency Preparedness Services Workplan – proposed increase of 16.68% – $75K over 2023 budget numbers. Again, further budget meetings will dig into numbers and confirm proposed numbers.
9-1-1 Emergency Service Communication Budget allocations for 2024 anticipate approximately 8%increase to support planned regional communication infrastructure upgrades. Budget and workplan approved by Board.