Present: Mayor Wren; Councillors Leggett, Litster, Mackay, McPherson, Caisley, Snyder
Revitalization Tax Exemption Agreement
A report from Candie Laporte, chief financial officer (CFO), requesting Council approve entering into a Revitalization Tax Exemption agreement with Glenn Latimer Ltd. The company already owns a facility here in town. The item was approved, all in favour.
Permissive Tax exemption Bylaw
Report from CFO requesting Council give final reading to the Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw. Bylaw had to be adopted before Oct. 31, 2013. Changes this year include removal of 417 Willow Dr. as a church exemption because the District now owns the building and the usage has changed. A small area of the Public Works yard, which has been leased to the TR Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club has been added to the bylaw. Item was approved, all in favour.
Insurance Broker 2014
The recommendation was that Council appoint Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc. as the District’s insurance broker for 2014. Back in 2011, the District underwent an insurance review, due to concerns of the CFO in regards to insurance policies that were in place. At the time of the review, staff of the day rather than a formal appraisal process determined replacement insurance values. A formal appraisal of District property had not been undertaken since 2006.
In October 2012, Council approved an interim exemption from the current purchasing policy to appoint Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc. as the district’s insurance broker for 2013, and that a formal RFP for insurance appraisal be undertaken.
The above measure resulted in the District saving over $20,000 in insurance premiums for 2013. With those savings, a formal RFP process for appraisal services was undertaken in Sept. and the District now has updated insurance values for all buildings and equipment. The District now has a firm that will update appraisals annually for the next three years.
The Municipal Insurance Association of BC (MIABC) will begin offering municipalities the option to purchase property insurance programs tailored to municipal needs, as the report reads, to “provide benefits not available through private insurance companies.”
For this reason, CFO recommends Council continue with the current broker for 2014, and undertake an RFP process after MIABC is able to get their program in place.
Councillor Mackay, “I think it got out and was made public when the insurance agent in town enquired with the District about some type of insurance she thought they might need and found out at that time it was no longer done locally. The broker we have been using forever was sent a letter to be told we would be changing to Aon. The reasoning was because we were going to save the money, which makes all the sense in the world. They thought they had done something wrong. They feel they were kicked out the door. I think it had something to do with the assessments, especially the rec centre; the figure that was given to them was by a staff member who is no longer here. Significantly over-priced. HUB would honour everything we have in front of us right now.”
After a little more discussion, council voted all in favour to stay with Aon for the next year and then send out an RFP for future years.
Northern Health Meeting
Council approved the recommendation, all in favour for Councillor Litster attendance at the Oct. 31, 2013 meeting of Northern Health and all the South Peace mayors, to discuss ongoing issues in the region. Mayor Wren asked she attend this meeting on his behalf.
UNBC Advisory Council Meeting
The next recommendation was to have Councillor McPherson attend the UNBC Northeast Regional Advisory Council Meeting in Fort St. John on Nov. 4, 2013. Mayor Wren amended the recommendation to include formally assigning Councillor McPherson as the representative for the Northeast Region Advisory Council of UNBC. Recommendation was approved, all in favour.
IT Services RFP
The next item was an on-table report outlining the need to have an RFP process to use a third party for the IT services and server replacements for the District. The report reads, “The District has an expired contract with IT North Network and Consulting Services Ltd. Our monthly contracted amount with IT North is $3,200 per month. They have informed us we are utilizing $8,000 in additional services per month.”
The main problem is the server system, which is six to seven-years-old and unstable.
The cost for a third party to handle the RFP process for the IT services and server replacement can be in the range of $2,500 to $4,000 and can be covered within the Finance Department operating budget.
Council was a little concerned about finding a third party in the area that wasn’t affiliated with any of the other IT companies.
The recommendation passed with Mayor Wren opposed.
Wildfire Mitigation Program
Council has approved for the Community Forest (CF) to go ahead and begin the process of the Wildfire Mitigation Program. Before anything is done, the site has to be walked over by an archeologist, and this must be done before the snow lies on the ground. If the proper steps aren’t followed before logging, there can be significant fines. Councillor McPherson, who in previous meetings had his concerns about the plan says, “In talking to him [Duncan McKellar, forest operations manager], and walking through the bush, I really got the sense he is committed to doing it right.”
Councillor Mackay explained a group of them went on a walk to the different CF sites. He says, “The last place was in behind lot 18, we went in from the highway side. When we talk about trying to make it into a park, it is perfectly suited for that. It could be a beautiful park if logged properly. Go in there and do it right. Be selective about what trees they are taking down. The roads going in will be very limited.”
All councillors were in favour of supporting the CF to begin the Wildfire Mitigation program.