Highlights from the city council meeting held Monday, May 13, 2019:
• Council awarded a $2.9-million contract to Interoute Construction of Fort St. John (DGS Astro Paving) for 2019 capital roadworks. Projects include paving 87 Avenue from 76 Street to the lane west of 78A Street, including the upgrading of streetlights and storm sewers and the installation of sidewalks; paving the 86 Street frontage from 96 to 98 avenues, including the installation of storm sewers, streetlights and the upgrading of sidewalks; building a sidewalk and adding streetlights on 116 Avenue from 89A to 93 streets, and expanding the city’s RV sani-dump site.
• Council adopted the city’s 2018 financial statements, which was given a clean bill of health from auditor Alan Bone of Sander Rose Bone Grindle. On paper, the city recorded a $30-million surplus, but much of that accounts for capital revenues and reserve transfers, which are reflected in the statements. The city’s operating income surplus was $1.5 million, after $1 million was transferred to capital reserves. The city will be changing the way it reports presents and reports its income statement to clarify for council and the public the city’s bottom line and how surpluses are calculated and accounted for. Read the statements by clicking here.
• Council approved Asset Management Policy No. 142/19. It's part of the city's new asset management strategy to get a handle on just how big the civic infrastructure deficit is and properly pay for the maintenance and replacement of aging assets. Read more by clicking here.
• Council authorized Mayor Lori Ackerman to attend the Canada Gas & LNG Conference and Exhibition on May 21 in Vancouver. The trip will cost $420 for airfare and per diems, charged to council's travel budget.
• Council authorized Mayor Lori Ackerman to attend the "E" Division Change of Command Ceremony on June 6 in Surrey. The trip will cost $1,480 for airfare, hotel, per diems, and incidentals, charged to council's travel budget.
• The city spent $112,000 on this year's High on Ice winter festival, under its budget of $115,000. Read the final report by clicking here.
• Council approved the appointment of Mike Whalley of Tourism Fort St. John to the Alaska Highway Community Society board. Hannah Smith will be his alternate.
• Council voted to support and join the upstart Resource Communities of Canada Coalition, which advocates for resource industries and resource-based municipalities on development issues. There is no cost to the city, Mayor Lori Ackerman said.
• Council voted to revive and refer talks about backyard hen keeping at strategic planning meetings in 2020. The matter was raised by Coun. Becky Grimsrud, who said a local contractor has offered to build a coop at the SPCA to deal with any fallout over abandoned and stray backyard hens should a bylaw be passed in the future.
• Coun. Trevor Bolin wants city staff to investigate and report back on issues Spinal Cord Injury BC and the MS Society are having with HandyDART. Concerns over the service are not being addressed, he said.
• Council adopted Tax Rates Bylaw 2459, 2019. Municipal tax rates have been kept at 2018 levels, however, taxes for the regional hospital district, the regional district, and BC Transit have increased by 2%. The average homeowner will see their tax bills drop by $51 this year.
• Council adopted Factory-Built House Park Bylaw No. 2412, 2019. The bylaw replaces Manufactured Home Development Bylaw No. 1568, 2001, and is updated to reflect BC Building Code and other city bylaw changes, and sets development standards for siting, setbacks, landscaping, and parking for new trailer park developments.
• Council adopted Five Year Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 2463, 2019, which boosts the city's 2019 investment projects by $350,000 and transfers $251,514 from the tax stabilization reserve to this year's operating budget.
• Council adopted Sewer Use Regulation and Charges Amendment Bylaw No. 2464, 2019. The amendments will allow for the costs of building phase four of the Alaska Highway sanitary trunkmain to be recovered through new connections to unserviced areas, and returned to the sewer reserves, according to a staff report.
• May 16 was proclaimed Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day as a kickoff to the boating season. Every year, 161 Canadians drown while boating, according to a presentation given to council. Of them, 87% were not wearing a lifejacket or did not have it properly secured. This Thursday, May 16, the city's recreation department is encouraging residents to wear their lifejackets to work, and share a photo of themselves wearing it to the department's Facebook page.
• May 19 to 25 was proclaimed Local Government Awareness Week. “Municipal governments are local authorities created by the provinces and territories to provide services that are best managed under local control,” said Janet Prestley, the city’s director of legislative and administrative services. Those include the things citizens use and need most in their every day life, from water and sewer services to roads and recreation. This year, the Local Government Management Association, a group representing local government professionals, celebrates 100 years. A tree will be planted at city hall to mark the anniversary on May 21 at 5 p.m.
• May 26 to June 1 was proclaimed Pride Week. A Pride flag will be flown during the week. This year's Pride Walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 1. Read more by clicking here.
• June was proclaimed Philippine Friendship Month. The Philippine flag will be flown at city hall.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at email@example.com.