Nakusp council, May 10: Budget settled, farewell to CAO

·3 min read

Budget passed

After months of hammering out the minutiae, Village council concluded its budget process with a quick passage of its five-year financial plan. Council will take in just under $7 million this year to keep the Village running, and projects an unusual $783,000 surplus. Much of that’s coming from special funding programs pertaining to COVID recovery, however.

Fees and services account for the largest portion of revenue for the village, at 41%, while 21% comes from property taxes – three-quarters of that, from homeowners.

Taxes will rise this year by 3.58%, which works out to about an extra $27.59 for the average household. That doesn’t account, however, for the other levels of government that also piggyback onto the municipal tax bill – including the RDCK, hospital board, and Ministry of Education.

Zoning review

Council ratified the administration’s choice for a consultant to review and refresh the Village’s zoning bylaws, even though the winner wasn’t the lowest bidder.

Council approved a $64,900 contract submitted by Urban Systems.

Urban Systems will review the Village’s existing bylaws, and look for areas that need additions, corrections, or removal. Some topics may be controversial, like the regulation of short-term accommodations, or allowing RVs to be used as permanent homes.

They’ll hold public workshops and work with council through the development of the new bylaws.

“I just thought they were more bang for the buck,” said CAO Cheryl Martens, in explaining the decision. “They were in the middle, but they definitely offered more.”

“I just feel their proposal really looked to public engagement, which is very important in this community,” she added. “I learned that through the OCP bylaw process, and how many people did get involved in that.”

She also noted the Village has had positive experiences dealing with Urban Systems on past projects, and the company is working to apply for funding on behalf of council to support its development projects.

Organic waste collection

Residents of Nakusp are going to be asked for their thoughts on adding curbside organic waste collection for the community.

The Regional District of the Central Kootenay is in the planning stages for expanding its solid waste collection system to include food waste and garden waste. It’s a concept that’s growing in popularity, with diversion projects in Creston, Castlegar and Nelson slated to commence in 2022.

RDCK officials say diverting organic wastes from the main waste stream can help significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions, thus the drive to add the service in communities.

The RDCK is considering building an organics processing facility at the Nakusp landfill if the Village is interested in going ahead with the service.

But first, the RDCK board wants to conduct an online survey to gauge the level of public interest. Council had no problem with the survey going ahead, and the mayor and several councillors spoke in favour of the concept.

Emergency pads

The Village is going to go head and install two concrete pads at the Emergency Services Building – one for the ambulance service, and one for the community paramedic. Councillors had no qualms in accepting the BC Emergency Health Services’ request for the pads to be built for them. The pads will cost just over $18,500, but the Village can invoice the BCEHS for the cost. Work was to take about three or four days to complete and a few weeks for the cement to cure. The Village is doing the work because it owns the property.

Goodbye to CAO

The May council meeting marked the last for CAO Cheryl Martens. Martens announced in April that she was leaving to return to her family and friends in Saskatchewan. Mayor Tom Zeleznik thanked Martens for her work in the last two years, and cited a dozen initiatives and projects Martens had shepherded through the system, from bylaw enforcement to the new Official Community Plan. His comments were echoed by other councillors.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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