Monday’s Council Meeting could be interesting. Click here to read the full 240 page pdf Agenda and package. The public portion of the meeting starts at 7:00 p.m., on Monday November 14, in the Council Chambers (at the Fire Hall entrance, taking the door on the right).
Among the many listed items on the agenda, there is a request to approve a modified Financial Plan. In our cursory examination of the previously approved and the proposed (changes were not highlighted), we noticed many significant changes.
In Corporate Services, the previously approved budget was for $807,977 (including $559,604 for Salaries and a Contingency of $2,500). The proposed change sees an increase to $970,348 (including $595,475 for salaries, and a whopping Contingency increase to $129,000).
General Government Services are proposing an increase, through the introduction of a new expense amounting to $14,000 in 2016 for a Downtown Parking Lease, which will increase to $24,000 in subsequent years. To our recollection, this expense was not publicly deliberated by Council. Perhaps it was an in-camera decision?
Fire Services costs are proposing an increase as well, going from the approved $790,121 to the proposed $806,155. The main difference there appears to be an increase in salaries, going from $551,561 to $567,595.
Engineering costs are seeking an increase in salaries, from $389,765 to $441,114.
Planning operations are seeking an increase in salaries, from $177,792 to $192,105.
Community spaces is seeking an increase in two new categories: Parks Dept. Operating Costs, for $13,635, and Seasonal Adornment for $40,000.
The Sewer Fund surplus will be less than anticipated, dropping from $243,377 in the previously approved Financial Plan to $175,066 in this proposed amendment.
In the Fiscal Services section, there is a section headed, “Proceeds received that must be transferred to reserves.” In the previously approved Financial Plan, Road DCCs (Development Cost Charges) were listed at $288,750; in the proposed changed, that amount drops to $52,000 for this year only.
In the Capital Fund, Revenue and the Expenditure (matching) sections are both down from the previously approved $4,616,928 to the requested $4,151,239.
Under Revenues, Sales and User Fees are anticipating a significant increase, from the previously approved $1,061 to $69,983. The reason for that is unclear, though it appears to be a one year benefit. Subsequent years return to $1,061.
Also under Revenues, a one-time Conditional Grant – Capital Projects, previously planned at $395,00 is seeing an increase to $433,500.
Revenues from Permit Building fees are being increased by $100,000.
Also noticeably still present was the funds for the contracted services with the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce, who had cancelled their service agreement with the District of Sooke this past summer. The Service Agreements Line Item under Grants still shows that $28,150 is being paid to the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.
We are eager to find out what other financial adjustments are being proposed, and whether or not Council approves them all.
Additional agenda items include a request for Council to approve a fire fighting service level as Full Service, an extension of the Interim Fire Chief Appointment, grant recommendations made by the Grant Review Committee, and a whole lot more.