Connie Bielert of the BC Grapegrowers Association and Roger Hol, a Similkameen Valley grape producer, presented a report on the past year’s activities of the Okanagan-Similkameen Starling Control Program.
Twelve hundred starlings were trapped in the Similkameen last year. The program has captured a total of 443,000 starlings since its inception in 2003. The program hopes to continue its effort to control the invasive species of bird in the coming years.
Keremeos Chief Administrative Officer Laurie Taylor told council that July 3 was the municipal tax deadline. As of close of business on July 3, the village had not received $132,000 dollars worth of tax payments.
“The figure represents 10 per cent of the ratepayers in the village,” she told the board, “Taxes in arrears are up 18 per cent over last year.
She further explained that the shortfall in the village’s coffers would have to carried by the village, at additional expense.
Council received and approved the 2011 annual report.
The 2011 Statement of Financial Information noted that council remuneration totalled $39,327.19 in 2011, which included indemnities ($35,513.73) and expenses (3,813.46). There was one village employee receiving more than $75,000 in remuneration in 2011. Public Works Foreman Jordy Bosscha earned $76,106.74 in 2011, incurring $682.56 in expenses. (Bosscha’s remuneration includes three months holiday payout). CAO Taylor, usually one of the highest paid positions, has not been with the village a whole year.
Total remuneration for the village was $534,581.
A request for a zoning amendment at 418 Highway 3A was also dealt with by council.
The property already has a history of non-compliance issues that date back to 2009 with respect to the construction of an accessory building on the property.
“The building permit has expired and there are a number of outstanding issues with respect to two dwelling units on the property,” explained CAO Taylor.
Council was most recently asked for a “text amendment” to the zoning bylaw to permit personal service establishments in the C2 zone, as owner Karl Schorb was contemplating a business opportunity that required the amendment.
Staff cautioned council not to consider the request for zoning amendment until the numerous outstanding requirements of the property had been satisfied and a completed zoning amendment had been received.
Council agreed with staff’s recommendations, voting to receive the CAO’s report regarding the zoning amendment request, as well as carrying a motion to receive Schorb’s latest letter of request . Council also voted to add an accompanying advisement regarding due process for zoning amendment prior to consideration of Schorb’s zoning request.
A survey of municipalities in the Okanagan-Similkameen reveals similar taxes in arrears patterns. Oliver’s unpaid tax rate is nine per cent, while Osoyoos is 10.2 per cent, up 3.9 per cent from last year.