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Mar 5,2015 Committee of the Whole - budget town hall

Committee of the Whole
Agenda                 Minutes

Mayor Clay introduced Council members in attendance and welcomed the public, inviting them to provide input and ask questions after the presentation by staff.

The City Manager provided an overview of the budget process, noting that the most pressing issue today is budgeting for the upkeep and maintenance of assets and infrastructure in the city.

The General Manager of Financial Services introduced the draft 2015- 2019 financial plan, noting that the average annual cost to the taxpayer for services provided by the City ($2,959) is significantly lower than the average cost of basic utilities purchased by those taxpayers ($4,851).

The City Manager and the General Manager of Financial Services provided an in-depth overview of the proposed budget, cost drivers, and future budgetary challenges, noting that the 2015 budget includes a proposed tax increase of approximately 3.66%.

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

Bruce Gibson, representing Flavelle Sawmill, spoke about the regular tax rates for industry in comparison with neighbouring municipalities. He commented that the tax rates in Port Moody are not competitive with and are significantly higher than those of neighbouring municipalities. He noted that Port Moody's ability to attract industry may begin to decrease with the coming of the Skytrain.

Mayor Clay provided an overview of how the proposed tax increase will affect the average taxpayer.

Bob Flavelle, Port Moody, inquired about timing for the North Shore Community Park artificial turf field replacement (Heritage Woods Soccer Field), noting that there is a very small weather window in which to carry out the project, and asked how the budget process timeline would affect this project.

Mayor Clay noted that the project design has been pre-approved and is currently out for tender. Once that process is complete, the capital project will be brought to Council, likely before May, which should allow the work to be completed within the available window.

Mary Peters asked about plans for the old Fire Hall #1 site.

Mayor Clay noted that Council is still discussing the future of the site and no decisions have been made.

Svend Hansen, Port Moody, commended staff on the presentation, asked about the possible closure of the Burrard Thermal Plant, and inquired about the effect it could have on the major industry tax base. Mr. Hansen also asked about a former civic committee that had been aimed at attracting industry to the city.

Mayor Clay noted that the Burrard Thermal commercial taxes are paid as a grant-in-lieu by the provincial government. He commented that Council is hopeful the plant will remain in operation. Mayor Clay also noted that Council is working toward attracting new industry, including high tech and green employment opportunities to the city.

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

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