Photo: Sven Mieke on Unsplash

Budget talks underway in Trail boardroom for East End services

Trail Coun. reports on 2020 work plans for regional services

Budget talk is what’s happening around the table of elected officials in the regional district this month and next.

On Tuesday, the seven East End directors met in the board room of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, located on Rossland Avenue in Trail. The meeting was to review 2020 work plans and budgets for seven services provided through the regional district specific to Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale, and electoral areas A and B.

Tax dollars from the seven communities collectively fund the following: Greater Trail Victim Services, Culture, Arts and Recreation for the Lower Columbia Service, East End Transit Service, Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue Service, East End Economic Development Service (except Trail), East End Cemeteries Service, and East End Animal Control Service.

Councillor Robert Cacchioni represents the City of Trail on this committee. He says at this preliminary point, all the budgets reflect an increase with the exception of “culture.” (Sewer and landfill services, referred to as liquid and solid waste, fall under the auspices of a different committee as does area recreation.)

“Right now we’re waiting for the reserves from 2019 year end,” he explained. “The biggest increase so far is in the fire service at $186,000.”

With the residential tax rate sitting at a six per cent hike for City of Trail homeowners, Cacchioni says his objective is to keep all regional budget increases as low as possible.

“Trail pays 42 per cent of the East End budget,” he explained. “And of course we will have to pay 42 per cent of the total costs of all the services that are approved.”

The 2020 budget requisition for the regional fire department is just shy of $4 million.

The service, which is the largest in the southeast, is facing significant issues and trends affecting management and oversight, Fire Chief Dan Derby noted in his 2020 work plan.

“Fire services provide a multi-million-dollar monetary benefit to our communities,” he reasoned. “Simply put there is a direct correlation between our Public Fire Protection Classification and Dwelling Protection Grades, the level of services provided and insurance costs for residents and businesses,” Derby explained.

“It is one of the only services I am aware of that provides such a high degree of efficiency of revenues relative to expenses. In some instances, the insurable benefit created by the presence of the fire department represents some property owner’s total municipal tax assessment,” he added.

“If one factors in value added programs and services such as first responder, all hazards rescue, fire prevention and public education, the benefits and efficiencies generated from our fire services are unrivaled.”

So far, the one service that will remain with a status quo budget of $729,000 encompasses operations at the Greater Trail Community Arts Centre. This Cedar Avenue building houses the Selkirk College campus, the EOC (emergency operations centre), VISAC Gallery, Bailey Theatre, the seniors centre, and the Trail Gymnastics Club.

In addition, this service oversees asset management, maintenance of the Rossland Avenue administration building, and assists the fire department with maintenance of the fire stations. The service manager is responsible for overseeing human resources, budgeting, occupational health and safety, project coordination, maintenance coordination, fulfilling tenant requests for maintenance and small projects, communications, staff inquiries, public inquiries, and emergency services for equipment and building failures.

To learn more about all these services and to read the detailed work plans and budgets, visit rdkb.com.

On the left side of the page, under “Help Me To,” click download agenda.

Then under “Board of Directors Meeting Agendas and Minutes,” click ***RDKB meeting link.

Browse through 2020 and click on East End Services Committee – Open Agendas.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

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