I hope you're taking in the many great events at the Banff Mountain Film Festival this weekend. I'm looking forward to MCing the awards ceremony tomorrow night -- my 14th and probably last year of doing so.
WHAT'S THE NEW COUNCIL UP TO?
As you'll have seen in the paper, we've had our organizational meeting and assigned people to the various committees and boards. If you'd like to see who ended up where, you can click on:
and scroll down to page 2 for the list. On page 6 of that same PDF, you'll see the schedule for council meetings for the coming year. I know you'll want to note those on your calendar!
Council will have a strategic planning session for two days plus a couople of evenings this coming week. This is the session where we talk about possible priorities for the coming year. Once those are approved by Council in a public meeting, they become an important consideration in finalizing the budget. We will have a rough idea of the results of the resident satisfaction survey (you did fill one out, didn't you?) to help us in these discussions.
DOES COUNCIL EARN ITS MONEY?
Next week, between regular council, council strategic meeting, and BHC, I have 20.5 hours of meetings scheduled! Just saying ...
COUNCIL MEETING MONDAY
You can see the full package for the Monday council meeting at this link:
Highlights of the agenda include:
3rd quarter results, updated forecast to year-end
Although administration is still forecasting a deficit of $84K at year-end, the good news is that this projected deficit is lower than it was at the last quarterly review. Council has already set aside money in the budget stabilization reserve to cover this.
I have a few questions to ask about some of the forecast amounts in the departmental budgets. I am concerned that we may be being a bit too optimistic about revenues expected in the fourth quarter, and I will be asking for the basis of those projections.
The accuracy of the year-end forecast is very important at this point, because when council is working on the budget for next year, we use the forecast from the existing year to see how realistic the proposed figures are.
You can see this financial report starting on page 16 of the package. Don't let your eyes glaze over at the prospect -- go ahead, take a look! This is important stuff.
First reading of business licence bylaw changes
First reading of a bylaw just gets it on council's table for consideration. When council votes first reading, it doesn't mean that we approve of the bylaw, it just means that we're putting it out there so that people can see it. Then we give people time to comment before bringing it back for second and thrid reading -- second is where the real debate happens.
You can see the report on the proposed changes starting on page 43 of the package. If you have a business licence in the Town of Banff, you will definitely want to take a look. Some of the proposed changes include:
- increasing the business licence rate for people who make under $30,000 in gross revenue from $100 per year to $280 per year.
- making it easier to get a temporary non-resident licence
- increasing some Schedule B fees by 2%
- reorganizing the transportation and service sectors, and changing their fee categories
Right now, it's proposed that the bylaw come back to Council on November 22. I'll be asking whether we could make that the first meeting in December instead, to give people a bit longer to comment.
Options for an outdoor rink downtown
Starting on page 66 of the package, you can see a detailed report on the possibilities for an outdoor rink downtown. The areas being considered are the parking lot between Town Hall and Nesters, or the parking lot in the 2000 block of Bear Street.
The cost for doing this is estimated at around $20,000, but I'm not sure from the report whether this actually includes all the staff time and equipment that would be needed. I'm concerned that we may be overstretching our capabilities, given that our facilities staff is very busy with the new Rec Centre this winter,, and want to be sure that council makes a decision based on the true costs and with full information about what other work would need to be postponed or cancelled. Much as I love the idea of skaters in the downtown, I'll be asking losts of questions about this one.
Regardless of whether we end up with a downtown rink this year, there will be outdoor skating at the Rec Centre this winter, weather permitting.