Penticton Council Meeting Highlights

For the meeting held Monday, May 7 in Penticton Council Chambers:

Council gives residents metering options

Penticton Council approved an Operations Department recommendation to allow for an opt-out policy for residents looking for alternatives to AMR electrical and water meters. The opt-out policy defines that it is the role of federal authorities (not utility companies or municipalities) to evaluate the health, safety and privacy concerns relating to AMR meters, and that those being used in the City of Penticton meet federal and provincial regulatory standards.

The department's recommendation also noted the cost of opting out should not be shared with other customers, the utility company or the municipality. The policy covers both individual meters and meter bank installations for strata buildings. Proposed amendments to the Fees and Charges Bylaw to set out rates for meter replacement and manual meter reading were deferred back to staff for further review and evaluation.

Quarterly report presented

Council received an update from staff on the strategic priorities and departmental work plan for the first quarter of 2012. Staff reported that after Council approved the City's vision statement, strategic priorities were identified and the budget to support the priorities has been endorsed; Council's Strategic Plan is now in place.

Alongside day-to-day operations of the City and capital project work, this plan provides benchmarks and performance measures with timelines attached, tying back to the Strategic Plan. These documents will ultimately form an integral part of the City's future annual reports.

The next quarterly update will be brought forward to Council in July 2012.

Fire truck purchase approved

Council accepted the request for proposal submission from Hub Fire engines of Abbotsford in the amount in the amount of $566,344 including HST to buy a triple combination pumper fire truck with optional equipment. Fire vehicles typically have a 20-year life span as recommended by the Fire Underwriters Service, and the Penticton Fire Department's current unit is a 1991 model.

Fire Department staff searched in 2011 for a replacement unit, but could not find an acceptable demo or used apparatus. Council approved $650,000 in the 2012 budget from the equipment replacement reserve to purchase a new fire truck.

Staff were authorized to buy replacement hand tools and equipment for the truck in the amount of $13,000. Typically hand tools are removed from the retired apparatus and installed in the new vehicle, but worn-out or technologically non-compliant tools must be replaced. The pieces of new equipment recommended for purchase include a thermal imaging camera, multi-gas monitor docking station, flashlight chargers, radio and portable radio chargers.

Custom and conventional transit operating agreements passed

Council authorized staff to move forward with the 2012-2013 annual operating agreement for the custom transit system with BC Transit, slated to increase 1.37 percent as compared to the previous annual operating agreement, as well as the conventional transit operating agreement.

The custom transit agreement provides for a slight increase to the service level provided in 2011-2012 by increasing the taxi supplement budget from $15,000 to $24,000, as well as a two percent increase in operating costs. The net municipal share in the agreement was outlined as $34,295, slightly under the 2012 net municipal custom transit budget of $36,400.

The conventional agreement found the net municipal share to be $846,766, under the established budget of $893,300. It features increased levels of service such as adding a Sunday service on seven statutory holidays. It also factors in a three percent inflationary

increase in operating costs as previously agreed to as part of the contract extension. The net municipal share decreased by 2.38 percent compared to the previous year.

Capital works tender awarded for 2012

Council approved the tender for the 2012 capital works contract be awarded to Cantex Okanagan Construction Ltd. in the amount of $2,398,246.19 including HST.

Every year, the Engineering Department tenders various capital works projects in the City – typically water main installations, sanitary sewer installation, storm sewer installation and pavement resurfacing. Yearly upgrading of these City utilities is critical to maintain good asset management practices.

The work is anticipated to take four to five months.

Variance for Finnerty Road denied

Council considered a staff recommendation to issue a development variance permit for 3945 Finnerty Rd. that would allow the owner to subdivide the property into two lots. Soil stability issues in the area have caused previous applications for this lot to be denied; however, a geotechnical investigation has been conducted and the owner wishes to proceed. The proposed lots are smaller than allowed by the zoning bylaw, requiring a development variance permit.

More than 60 residents attended the meeting, with many neighbours expressing concerns about the safety of disturbed soils, insurance challenges and legal responsibilities.

Council moved against the staff recommendation, and the development variance permit was denied.

Tax rates approved for 2012

The 2012 tax rates bylaw received first, second and third readings Monday night. According to the Community Charter, annual property tax rates must be adopted through

a bylaw by May 15. Tax rates are set after the adoption of the financial plan, which in 2012, established a net zero increase in property taxes. The average single family home assessed at $325,700 is slated to see a $119 decrease in their municipal tax notice – down to $1,297 from $1,334. Sewer rates for the average home are also slated to decrease slightly to $73 from $76.

Council reviews SOEC audited financial statements

Council received the audited financial statements of the South Okanagan Events Centre campus operations.

The South Okanagan Events Centre posted a $188,834 surplus last year, coming in under budget in 2011. The campus operations had a budget of $4,419,908 in expenses for the year, but the actuals came in as $4,068,932. Revenues were budgeted to reach $2,754,480 in 2011, but the final numbers came in as $2,592,338. The 2011 operating deficit of $1,476,594 is 32% less than that of 2009 ($2,171,616), and also under that posted in 2010 ($1,776,389).

Campaign finance disclosure report

Council received the staff report of public notice of failure to file financial disclosure statements by two candidates in the 2011 civic election.

The City of Penticton sent several letters and reminder emails to all candidates advising them of their requirements under the Local Government Act to file campaign disclosure statements within 120 days of general voting day. If they had not files by March 19, candidates are given a further opportunity until April 18 to file statements with a $500 late filing penalty to the municipality to avoid disqualification from office.

A candidate who has not filed their statements by the late filing period is disqualified from being nominated for, elected to or holding office on a local government. Under Sec. 92 of the act, reports must be presented in an open meeting detailing the name of those candidates, elector organizations or campaign organizer. Those two candidates were Poonam Chahal and Jason Cox. They are disqualified until after the next general local election.




Penticton Council Highlights are also available for download [PDF - 122 KB] if you require a printer-friendly format. If you would like to read official records from the meeting, they are archived on the agendas and minutes page.