Merger open house set for Thursday

Trail and Warfield residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns they have about the two communities joining at an open house on Thursday.

Trail and Warfield residents will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns they have about the two communities joining at an open house on Thursday.

Phase 1 of the amalgamation study was handed to Trail and Warfield on Friday and both parties are pleased with the findings.

The study looked at all things financial — industrial and business tax rates, capital projects, garbage fees, expenditures, services provided and more.

It took into account three amalgamation scenarios — “business as usual,” “increased efficiencies” and “enhanced services.”

“It’s a fairly simplistic analysis looking at the tax implications and at this point in time it looks like it’ll be marginal decreases in taxes if the two communities decided to get together,” said Trail city administrator David Perehudoff.

Warfield Mayor Jim Nelson said he thinks it’s a positive approach for the village.

“I think we’re making some positive steps here,” he stated. “I’ve reviewed it thoroughly myself several times and there doesn’t seem to be a great impact immediately on residents but I think we’re making a progressive step forward.”

Both men said it’s important to get a feel from the public about the findings before going ahead with the next step.

“I think it’s necessary for everybody to participate,” Nelson said. “It’s the future of the two communities.”

“After that (open house) the steering committee would get back together and determine how they want to proceed, so definitely understanding the public’s issues at this point is an important part of the exercise and once Thursday’s over we’ll debrief and determine how best to go forward,” Perehudoff stated.

If it gets a green light, Phase 2 would explore what the new community would look like and also see talks begin with the province regarding small community grants.

“One issue in the report is the loss of small community grants and that’s one issue we’d want to take up with the province, (work out) some sort of transition so we can protect that revenue source moving forward as part of a transitionary period,” explained Perehudoff.

A decision to go ahead with Phase 2 would have to be made by the end of August, and if continued, the consultant’s work would be completed by the end of October.

Representatives from the amalgamation committee, some council members from both communities and the consultant, Urban Systems, will be at the open house that will run from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Cominco Gym at the Trail Recreation Centre.

Informational panels will be on-hand and residents will be able to ask questions about the findings. A formal presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by an open mic question period.

A PDF document of Phase 1 can be found on the city’s homepage for further information.