City budget 2013: Budget 2013: Approved, rejected and suggested
IN AND OUT
Much of council’s deliberation centered around almost $3 million in supplementary budget asks.
Here are some of the most notable projects to make the grade — or get the axe.
• Streetlight for Finlay Court, $19,000.
• River Street odour bed lift, $340,000.
• Parkside Lounge maintenance, $25,000.
• Westsyde waterpark seed money, $20,000 annually.
• Streetlights for Todd Hill Crescent, $40,000.
Juniper Ridge dog park, $30,000.
• Cowan Street Park upgrades, $50,000.
• Ramp for Heritage House, $40,000.
• Repairs to front stairs at City Hall, $60,000.
• Replacement of cracked sidewalk panels, $100,000.
• Reserve funds for TCC, Hillside Stadium track replacements, $400,000.
TCC FEES TOO CHEAP?
With more than $2-million in repairs to the Tournament Capital Centre on the books for the next five years, Coun. Tina Lange thinks it’s time the city start looking to fitness buffs for more of the centre’s funding.
Council voted to give the TCC a repair budget of $375,000 each year, in addition to its current $30,000 maintenance budget.
This year, that money will go to repairing the Canada Games Pool roof, which is at the end of its 20-year lifespan.
In future years, staff says the building will need upgrades to its bleachers ($350,000 in 2016), lighting ($20,000 each year starting in 2014) and heating and ventilation systems ($575,000).
Lange said the city should start paying for some of that with TCC user fees, rather than property taxes.
“If we look at the cost of a fitness-facility pass, all we cover off in that is what it costs us to have the equipment in the room and the staff there. We don’t look at the capital cost of the building or putting a new roof on or management staff, even,” she said.
Other nearby gyms charge more — $55 a month compared to about $45 for an adult on a 12-month plan at the TCC — and Lange thinks the city should fall in line.
“We’re offering the finest fitness facility in the city at a price below what the market would bear,” she said.
“I think it’s only fair to our competitors, whether that be the Y or Gold’s or Ladies Only, to put a premium on memberships there because of what we offer.”
Major industrial players in the city are asking for a big discount on property taxes in 2013.
In a letter to city council, representatives from Domtar, Lafarge, Tolko and Arclin call Kamloops’ industrial tax rate “inequitable and unfair” and claim it’s hindering development and leading to job losses in the city.
The city gets eight per cent of its revenues from industrial taxes, a rate that is fixed from year to year.
That’s an issue, the letter writers said, because, as the city has grown, heavy industry is “increasingly subsidizing city services,” but isn’t growing itself at nearly the same pace.
The four companies are asking the city to cut the tax rate for their class down to $71.87 per $1,000 of assessed value. That’s $5 less than they paid in 2012 and about $10 less than they are scheduled to pay in 2013.
City director of finance Sally Edwards estimated that request would leave an $800,000 to $900,000 gap in the city’s finances — the equivalent of a one per cent property tax hike.
Mayor Peter Milobar said the city last looked at its rate classes a few years ago and opted not to make changes.
However, he said, Domtar’s plans to lay off 125 workers as it closes down the A line at its Kamloops mill was “a wake-up call” for the city.
The city will review the request at its April 9 budget meeting.