Fluoridation may be referendum in 2014
There are two distinct opinions among residents when it comes to fluoridating city water.
It’s likely interested parties will get the chance to sink their teeth into both philosophies at an upcoming city council meeting when fluoridating the city water will come up for discussion since ceasing the practice (in order to save the city money) – while providing residents who want to fluoridate pills so they can continue to do so – was one of the suggestions provided to council by KPMG, and one the committee as a whole forwarded to council for further consideration. Council may put the question to the public in a referendum during the next election. Meanwhile, many felt the responsibility for paying for fluoride may belong to Northern Health, and they will be approached about paying the $55,000 it costs for the service.
Twenty of the suggestions provided by KPMG following the core services review were chosen by the select committee for review by the committee as a whole, falling into three categories. One set stopped at the committee level since they were items already dealt with. Another included land sale opportunities, some already in progress, others councillors needed more information about, including whether there was a market for those properties if they were put up for sale.
The committee decided the list would be forwarded to a council meeting, allowing them to obtain an updated property list and putting them in a better position to make further decisions about the lands in question in the future.
The final category included a number of the 20 items chosen by the select committee which required debate as to whether they would proceed to a council meeting for their consideration.
Council will consider raising the cost of ice time, though Coun. Brian Skakun said he felt at some point rising costs could equate fewer users.
Coun. Cameron Stolz, who heads the finance and audit committee, said there had been a slight increase in the rates this season. He added finance and audit were aware the item might come under scrutiny during the core review, leading to a major rate change. He said the committee decided to hold off on a deeper look at those rates until after the suggestions from the core service review came in.
“I’m happy to forward this to council,” he said.
He pointed out if there is a rate increase, user groups will get six months notice of it since rates for the current season were set.
A discussion around bylaw changes aimed at rooting out illegal suites in the city, not only so assessment and utility bills could be ladled appropriately but also for the safety of residents living in those conditions, ensued.
Mayor Shari Green said the primary focus is safety, however she added that water bills should be fair, and if there are double the amount of people living in a suite, than twice the amount of water is being used as well. The utility bill should reflect that.
Coun. Murry Krause, a member of the beyond homelessness standing committee, indicated the bylaws in question had been looked at before, a big job broken into two pieces, the first dealing with the appearance of a residence. Now the interior will be under scrutiny.
“It sends a signal to the landlord that the city is keenly interested,” Green said.
The committee forwarded the suggestion to council.
The committee will also ask council to further look at establishing fees for some community planning services.
“We need to make it clear we are charging for optional services,” Coun. Garth Frizzell said.
A report will be returned to council regarding the location of city tennis courts, if there are any that aren’t regularly used, so a decision can be made regarding their maintenance.
A suggestion will go to council so it can consider smaller lots and strata lots within the city, collect unpaid property taxes including on mobile homes, and seize if necessary, educate residents on how to use the on-line services at city hall and implement a one-stop shop service among front line workers there, an action that will require a budget.
The committee requested a copy of a report that gives further information regarding providing fleet maintenance for RCMP vehicles used outside of the city’s jurisdiction. The report discusses costs thought to be about 75 per cent bodywork and not cost effective.
In an effort to get police away from paperwork and give officers more time on the street, council will look at the city taking over some administrative duties for the RCMP station. Legal ramifications of the offer will be studied.
Council will be asked to consider directing staff to develop a bylaw to increase road cut fees, however a motion to contract out grass cutting for parks and boulevards was defeated.
Since B.C. Transit has the contract regarding advertising banners on its busses (with the city getting a portion of the earnings), committee members said there was no opportunity for the city to do so.
However, there is an opportunity for greater synergy between the city and the regional district, particularly when it comes to the possibility of getting a better rate for health and welfare benefits.
Though the KPMG report asked council to consider not funding the Little Prince, the committee made it clear this is something that will continue to be funded. In fact, because a recent visit to council by railroad VIP’s felt like a donation request when the city has a contract with Exploration Place to run the train, it will become a budgeted item in the community services section.
A review of the usage rate of the city’s fleet has already been completed, so needed no further action. Either did a reformation of Initiatives Prince George’s governance, since it is work that has been completed.