Tuesday, April 13, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 15 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“You’re rezoning a piece of land that I think is critical to wildlife.”
- Ross MacDonald  
- on rezoning land for   
an RV park   
Council splits 4-3 on final tax plans
Council met on Tuesday, April 6 to finalize the budget, the mill rate, and set taxes for the year. While approving administration’s recommendations on how to reduce the budget, thus increasing surplus to go into dwindling reserves, a new series of cuts was introduced that caused disagreement and delayed finalization.
Director of Finance Marion Vanoni presented council a proposed mill rate bylaw that included a three percent average tax increase for both residential and non-residential properties. The bylaw included a $215,000 surplus to go into reserves, and took into account administration’s recommended cuts as reported in last week’s Pass Herald.
Councillor Dean Ward said that he wanted to cut five new or casual employee positions from the budget to increase the amount of money that can go into reserves. He indicated that he would like to cut a new sewer plant operator for the expanded lagoon in Bellevue, a proposed part-time Human Resources worker, a new linesman for the electrical system, and two casual Public Works employees for the summer.
Councillor Larry Mitchell said that he could agree with cutting some of the positions, but that he felt the sewer plant operator and the linesman were necessary. The linesman, he noted, would help the municipality inspect, repair, and maintain its electrical system, which makes a profit. Council has pushed this position back in previous years as well. “It’s going to catch up with us,” said Councillor Mitchell.
ÒI’ve said right from the beginning that I don’t support hiring these people,” said Councillor David Cole. Councillor Ian MacLeod agreed, saying that municipal staff have to play a part in saving money.
Council split down familiar lines on the issue. Councillor Gary Taje expressed frustration that council was telling administration how many people it needed to do the work of running the community, rather than telling them what work they wanted done and letting administration decide how many people were needed.
He said that if council wants to eliminate positions, they should tell administration what services they want cut, rather than expect services to be maintained with limited resources.
ÒIt’s not a responsible decision,” he said. “Council should not be telling administration how many people they need to do their jobs.”
Mayor John Irwin agreed, saying that he feels the sewer plant operator and the linesman were critical, while the others could be debated.
Councillor Ward argued that no positions currently in place would be cut. He said that a sewer plant operator can be added later if it’s needed, and said that the current single linesman would be enough for the electrical system, as there is not as much development work this year.
His motion to add these cuts to the budget was passed by a 4-3 vote, Mayor Irwin and Councillors Taje and Mitchell opposed.
CAO Gordon Lundy had previously told council that if positions were cut but services maintained, then workers would have to put in overtime to get the necessary work finished. Councillor Cole thus made a motion to give no overtime pay this year except in emergencies and to staff who attend extra meetings as part of their regular duties. This motion passed by the same 4-3 vote.
The 4-3 division continued into the voting on the actual mill rate bylaw readings. First and second reading both passed by 4-3 votes.
In order to give a bylaw three readings in a single meeting, unanimous consent is needed to proceed to the third reading. This was not forthcoming, as the same 4-3 split took place during the vote to consider third reading.
Final reading of the mill rate bylaw is scheduled to take place in a special meeting immediately prior to council’s Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on April 13.
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   Volume 80 - Issue 15 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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