Fort St. John city hall news in brief

Highlights from the city council meeting held Monday, Jan. 28, 2019:

• Council approved Council Annual Remuneration Council Policy No. 74/19, which increases the mayor’s salary from $81,000 to $89,130, and councillor salaries from $30,375 to $33,424. Council approved the increase to offset federal income tax changes that eliminated a one-third tax exemption for elected official salaries effective January 1, 2019. Read more by clicking here.

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• Council approved Council Allowable Expenses Council Policy No. 98/19, which will see see maximum per diem allowances drop from $200 to $110, in line with national guidelines, while councillors are on city business.

• Council approved Snow and Ice Removal Council Policy No. 37/19, which establishes snow removal levels and priorities, and reflects current administrative practice. 

• Council gave approval to Cannabis Corner, which is seeking a cannabis retail licence from the province to operate in the former Playtime Toys. The company's application will now go back to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for final checks and screenings before a retail licence is issued.

• Council approved in principle its 2019 capital budget, set at $59.2 million. The approval allows city staff to start applying for Peace River Agreement grant funding from the province, which funds the capital budget.

• Council approved $548,000 in base budget grants to nine community groups for 2019. Grant spending is up 10% this year, with the arts council, museum, and tourism board receiving small increases. New spending includes upgrades for the curling club and the return of the summer air show. Read more by clicking here.

• Council approved a steel and wood building for the festival plaza site, and sent the EDS Group back to the drawing board to fine-tune the design and cost estimates for final approval next month. Read more by clicking here.

• The city is nearly finished a decades-long program rebuilding more than 60 kilometres of roads to modern standards, but it has a growing, $190-million bill to replace 90 kilometres of aging asbestos concrete watermains — starting with the downtown core. "It's a big number, kind of a scary number," said Victor Shopland, the city's general manager of integrated services. Read more by clicking here.

• Council approved Employees Allowable Expenses Council Policy No. 28/19.

• Council approved a special event licence application for the Kin Club of Fort St. John and its Rockin' the Peace Talent Show scheduled for June 29 at the North Peace Arena. Coun. Becky Grimsrud declared a conflict of interest and did not vote on the matter.

• Council approved $20,000 in funds for the Fort St. John Arts Council, which is applying to the Canadian Department of Heritage for a grant to help fund public engagement on developing an arts, culture, and heritage strategy for the city. The total value of the grant is $75,000, and the arts council hopes to secure other partners to fund its share of the grant, or $37,500.The city has budgeted $100,000 this year towards an arts, culture, and heritage strategy.

• Council authorized David Joy, general manager of corporate services, to submit his name to the Union of BC Municipalities' Local Government RCMP Contract Management Committee, which serves as a forum to liaise between local governments and the province about the RCMP management contract. There are currently six vacancies on the committee that need to be filled.

• Bethany Smith was recognized with a five-year long service award. Smith started at the city in January 2014 as a part-time custodian. In June 2018, she was awarded a full-time position and works at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.

Bylaws

• Council adopted Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 2432, 2019, which sets new fees for information requests from the fire department. The amendments propose a $150 fee for incident and investigation reports, and $200 for dispatch recording requests up to Nov. 23, 2017, before dispatch services were outsourced to Campbell River. The city had been providing incident reports free of charge, and it projects a small surplus in revenue for the fire department from the requests.

• Council gave first three readings to Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw No. 2455, 2019, which will set the city's operating budget for 2019, and the city's general financial plan for the next five years. A public meeting on the budget and plan will be held Monday, February 11, at city hall starting at 6 p.m.

Proclamations

• February was proclaimed Toastmasters Month. The local Achievers Toastmasters club has been in the city for 25 years and currently has 22 members. It’s implementing the Pathways Education Program this year, focused on innovative planning, master public presentations, and leadership. An open house will be held February 28 at Northern Lights College from 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

bethanysmith-fsjlongserviceaward
Bethany Smith with city councillors, who recognized Smith with a five-year long service award on Jan. 28, 2019. - Matt Preprost
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