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Jan 27,2014 Budget Town Hall - Committee of the Whole

Committee of the Whole / Budget Town Hall
Agenda              Minutes
Mayor Clay welcomed the public and invited them to provide input and ask questions after the presentation.
The City Manager and the General Manager of Financial Services introduced the draft budget, noting that it proposes the second lowest combined tax increase in the last 20 years. They provided an in depth overview of the proposed budget, cost drivers, and future budgetary challenges.

Mayor Clay then invited the public to ask questions and provide input.

Bill Ansten, Port Moody, requested clarification on the recycling of glass and plastic film, and requested that the Annual Spring Clean-Up e reinstated. Mr. Ansten also suggested that a local recycling depot should be established to receive all recyclables.

Mayor Clay noted that plastic film should be accumulated and bundled, and glass must be kept out of recyclables as glass is not accepted in curb-side recycling and its presence would contaminate the rest of the recyclables. Mayor Clay also noted that the Environmental Protection Committee has been reviewing alternatives to the Annual Spring Clean-Up, such as the City-Wide Garage Sale. Mayor Clay also noted that the City is working with Metro Vancouver on lifting the ban on mattress disposal, as well as on the establishment of a servicing depot as per MMBC mandate.

Ann Kitching, Port Moody, thanked Council and tax payers for allowing the Arts Centre to expand with the addition of the Centennial Appleyard House. Ms. Kitching noted that they expect to be in the new facility as early as May 2014, and invited everyone to visit and use the Arts Centre. Ms. Kitching noted that Arts and Culture is not an extravagant expense, but rather an essential part of the community.

Dr. David Teertstra, Port Moody, noted that housing and land costs are rising at an alarming rate, and that the cost of borrowing can become an overwhelming burden. Dr. Teertstra reminded Council that residents' disposable incomes continue to shrink as a result of rising costs and urged Council to address budgetary challenges with creativity and by tapping into unlimited human potential.

Mayor Clay thanked Dr. Teertstra for his input and suggested that he share his ideas with the City by, joining a civic committee.

Sven Hansen, Port Moody, asked whether one police constable makes $87,000.

Mayor Clay noted that the $87,000 is the full cost to the City ofmaintaining a constable and is not the salary received by a constable.

John Callaghan, Port Moody, respectfully requested that money be set aside for tree maintenance on Parkside Drive to improve safety and ensure that arboreal assets are included in the asset management plan.

The General Manager of Engineering and Park Services provided Mr. Callaghan with his contact information, and noted that he is working with the City Arborist to manage the City's arboreal assets.

Nick Coleman, Port Moody, thanked Council for the information and commended Council and staff on the good management of the budget and services. Mr. Coleman noted that private citizens are not seeing the wage increases that Council has decided to grant itself and that savings may be possible through combining services with neighbouring communities to achieve greater economies of scale, such as in solid waste disposal.

Mayor Clay noted that the solid waste disposal is operating at maximum efficiency, and that the protective services participate in various integrated teams and mutual aid agreements. Mayor Clay noted that council indemnity was extremely out of sync with the workload that is now required of members of Council, and that major readjustments of this type are unpopular but necessary.

Jim Millar, Port Moody, requested clarification on the absence of increases for Fire-Rescue wages.

Mayor Clay noted that the Fire-Rescue collective agreement is currently under negotiation, and while the budget includes the anticipated settlement amount, it has been left out for the purposes of negotiation.

Bob Charbonneau, Port Moody, asked Council to share their chief concerns and worries about the budget.

The Mayor and Councillors each shared their chief concerns, which include the $3 million annual deficit in asset maintenance, rising costs of policing, loss of the industrial tax base, downloading from senior levels of government, over-reliance on real estate development, and the lack of affordable housing for the next generation.

Mr. Charbonneau thanked Council for their comments and thankedthem for their work.

Mayor Clay noted that the business tax base is expected to increase, and that the development permit for Onni's office tower was recently approved.

Nick Coleman requested clarification on the industrial tax base, and asked whether the decline of the industrial tax base as a percentage of total tax revenue is due to an actual decrease in tax revenues fromindustry or from the growth of the residential tax base.

Mayor Clay noted that the change includes both a decline in the industrial tax base and a growth in residential tax base. Mayor Clay noted that the conversion of refineries to storage facilities resulted in a significant reduction of tax revenue.

A question was posed on Twitter asking for the total advertising budget used to attract visitors and new residents to Port Moody.

Mayor Clay noted that there is no such advertising budget, but that the City does undertake Economic Development programs.

Mayor Clay noted that there were no further comments from the public and invited Council to make their closing remarks. Councillors provided their closing remarks, thanked staff for their work, and thanked the public for their participation and support.
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