City council supported an application to Union of British Columbia Municipalities for the CAO to be appointed to the BC/Local Government RCMP Contract Management Committee. The City says it shares a common interest with other similar-sized communities in having an accountable, cost effective municipal policing agreement and having a seat on the committee would provide an opportunity to influence the success of the new RCMP contract.
Permissive Tax Exemptions
Council gave the first three readings to bylaws to approve 2012 permissive tax exemptions, including those for land surrounding a building for public worship and for land surrounding buildings of private schools. Staff recommends that the permissive tax exemptions (that do not involve public worship or school properties) apply only for a one-year period, thus becoming effective for 2012 only. Based on 2011 assessed values and taxation rates, the estimated total amount of taxes that would be imposed on the proposed properties if they were not tax exempt is approximately $176,069, an increase of $5,128 over the actual 2011 tax exemptions.
Transit being reviewed
Council received the 2010-2011 Annual Performance Summary for the Williams Lake Transit Service for information. Following years of consistent growth in ridership, in 2010/11 Williams Lake saw an overall decrease in ridership and revenues as well as a decrease in costs from the previous year. In spite of the decreases in ridership and revenues, the Williams Lake transit system, operating costs per ride and hour are within the average range of the comparable Tier 3 (Paratransit) in B.C. It is expected that with the addition of two new low-floor buses with improved access and seating, transit ridership will increase in the future. Staff will be meeting with the BC Transit Regional Transit Manager to review the performance report in more detail and to identify strategies to improve performance and reduce costs.
Gecko Tree applies for revitalization tax exemption
Council approved the revitalization tax exemption application from Crystalee Baba for interior and exterior upgrades at the Gecko Tree at 54 Mackenzie Ave. North, and authorized entering into a revitalization tax exemption agreement with Baba. The revitalization tax exemption program is available to individuals or companies who own property in the city’s revitalization tax exemption area who have carried out physical improvements to their property valued at $20,000 or more. The exemption would be equal to the amount of municipal property tax payable on the incremental increase (not total property taxes) in assessed value attributable to the improvement for a period of three years, and successful applicants may apply for a further three-year exemption.
Council endorses application to homelessness partnering strategy
Council endorsed an application to the federal government through the Homelessness Partnering Initiative for an amount up to $75,000.
Staff are in the process of preparing an application to the Homelessness Partnering Initiative for the Knowledge Development Fund on Rural and Remote Homelessness. The proposed project will research the movement of homeless and homeless at risk from rural to urban communities and the information gathered for this project will assist in developing the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy.