Tuesday, February 8, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 6 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“We are in very good shape and prepared for emergencies.”
- Tully Clifford  
- Chief Administrative Officer   
Following weeks of deliberation, Council voted to accept the proposed 2011 Municipal Fiscal Budget on Tuesday, Feb. 1st, which will include a 0.1 per cent increase in taxes.
The budget includes funding for hiring of additional municipal positions, which Administration says will assist with economic sustainability.
The first position administration recommended was that of an Operational Services Foreman, which is “critical, as there are many needs in Operational Services to ensure core services are being provided in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”
The foreman will assume many of the current duties in the field to ensure work is being completed efficiently, and will review how to gain operational efficiencies, the current allocation of human resources and equipment, and how to best use facilities, freeing up Director of Operational Services Myron Thompson to focus on strategic matters.
The second position is a Human Resources/Benefits Administrative Clerk, sharing the load currently tasked to Director of Legislative and Human Resources Services, Lynn Cox.
The third will be an Agriculture Services Fieldman, a grant funded position which will be responsible for the long term sustainability of the natural environment.
The next two positions are a Recreation Programmer and FCSS Programmer, the latter of which will be funded through FCSS, meaning the municipality would only be responsible for 20 per cent of the costs.
The Recreation Programmer would be responsible for developing and implementing programs that increase the utilization of facilities, thereby increasing revenues.
The final position is a Special Projects/Administrative Assistant, which would serve in the finance department, and would assist in facilitating changes to the budget process, the selection and implementation of performance measures, and ensuring the budget is modified to better reflect the activities and financial responsibilities of the municipality.
“Without these new positions, change will be very slow,” Chief Administrative Officer Tully Clifford told Council during the meeting.
Mayor Bruce Decoux said that through the extensive justification given, Clifford and Administration had dispelled the myth that the municipal office is overstaffed.
“Our community needs are definitely different, and that is why we require additional staff,” said Decoux. “There is no other community which has the same problems we have.”
The budget document also contained information of the status of municipal reserves, projecting a reserve balance of $1.4 million at the end of the 2011 fiscal year.
The water metering project funding of $263,000 is proposed be drawn from the Operational Services reserve, and will require additional analysis and review prior to implementation.
Administration suggested that the program be put on hold until additional information can be brought forward to Council later in the year.
Councillor Larry Mitchell said he felt reserves should be higher, and would support a tax increase in order to achieve that goal.
“Any municipality that doesn’t raise their taxes with inflation is going backward,” said Mitchell. “In order to keep up with the current times and supply the needs of the community, we have to increase taxes.”
In the end, Council voted 5-1 in favour of adopting the proposed budget, including a 0.1 per cent tax levy increase, with Councillor Emile Saindon voting against, and Councillor Andrew Saje absent.
The motion also included the acceptance of the proposed $354,351 in cuts from various programs and agencies which were presented at the previous budget meeting.
Clifford noted the budget is based on current direction and is not final, and that changes can be made throughout the year as needed.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 6 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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