Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Council receives options and commentary from public at Budget sessions

The numbers weren't particularly large, but those Prince Rupert residents that took part in the public comments portion of Monday's Budget Consultation, provided City council with a number of items for contemplation.

As part of the nearly three hour Budget Session on Monday, the public gallery took close to an hour to provide some thoughts, options and concerns over the City's financial picture.

Among some of the key discussion points of the hour long session, were questions on civic oversight of the RCMP and Fire Service, a suggestion that the City consider once again the nature of a volunteer or volunteer enhanced Fire service and the cost of the Airport Ferry.

Questions on the timeline of savings anticipated from the switchover to LED lighting provided for some discussion as did a request for more information on the 9th Avenue East sewer project, with some discussion on whether it and projects similar to it, might not be better served through a private contractor.

A City worker and CUPE member took to the microphone to express concern over the proposal to close City Hall for one day a week, with suggestions that the city perhaps look to other directions to solve their financial plight.

One questioner offered up an inquiry as to the different terminology that was used in the Budget process, offering Dan Rodin the city's CFO the opportunity to offer up a short tutorial on finances, with an the explanation of the different aspects of budget preparation.

Another of the night's participants had questions on the Atlin Terminal parking lot and any proposed sale of it. As well, there were questions on the nature of where the money previously allocated to the now deferred Emergency Services Building was to be redirected and the suggestion that  the City should seek further revenue from CityWest or consider selling that city owned telephone, Internet and cable provider.

The one topic that did seem to capture council's imagination the most however was the theme of how the City was not benefiting as much as some believe it should from the ongoing development related to the Port. With concerns that the City was not receiving a fair share of the developments and that the City should seek a better financial arrangement from those developments.

It was a theme that would come to dominate a good portion of the end of the Council Session, with Councillor Thorkelson taking on the lead on the issue, offering up a motion that Council seek a meeting with the Port to discuss that and more immediate issues of potential funding from the Port on civic requirements.

We examine that particular aspect of the discussion with this item from the blog.

As for the public participation of Monday night, you can review the full public contribution from our City Council Timeline, following along with the conversation if you wish, by using our timeline as a guide to the video archive on the City's website.

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