Sunday, April 18, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Thursday, April 15, 2010)

The city reveals its five year financial plan, Fish Farms are given the all clear by the province and some mayhem in the morning on Third Avenue West, some of the items of the news cycle for Thursday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
CITY PRESENTS 2010 FIVE YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN FOR THE COMMUNITY-- The City's Chief Financial Officer, Dan Rodin has delivered his financial blue print for the city's finances for the next five years. A plan which has seen about 600,000 dollars cut from the original figures before the fine tuning began.Among some of the developments in the process all departments asked to create status quo budgets and the much discussed community grant reductions of January have gone into effect, in addition the Civic Centre is contemplating an additional two closure for the Civic centre in the summer months to help defray costs for the city. The public will have the opportunity to comment on his plans  at the April 26 council meeting.

The province has issued a report giving the province's fish farms a clean bill of health, with 80 percent of the provinces aquaculture farms listed as  having no infectious disease among the stocks of Atlantic salmon. The report was based on an audit of all fish farms on the coast in 2008. Opponents to fish farming in British Columbia have long expressed their concerns over the impact that the farm stocks have on wild salmon in BC waters.

One man who the RCMP described as suffering from schizoprenia went on a window smashing rampage at the downtown location of The Gym on Third Avenue. During business hours on Wednesday morning the  RCMP received numerous calls of a disturbance in the downtown area, though co-owner Linda Lutz suggested to the Daily News that the police didn't intervene with the disturbed suspect until he had lifted the side walk sign outside the establishment and smashed the window to her establishment with it. He reportedly had previously also tried to inflict damage on the Audio Vision and Shoppers Drug mart both are also located on Third Avenue West, RCMP arrested a young male suspect and took him to Prince Rupert Regional Hospital for evaluation, he has been charged with mischief.

The move to eliminate bullying in the schools received its annual day this week as both Prince Rupert high schools commemorate Wear Pink day, a day of creating awareness against bullying and providing options for those that need help to find it.

The Sports section features a profile of former Prince Rupert Rainmaker Connor Agnew who has just wrapped up his fourth year with Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, a team struggling in the competitive Canada West division of Canadian University Basketball.

(Daily News Archives for April 15, 2010 )

City presents 2010 Five Year Financial Plan for the community
Farm fish are feeling good
New direction for forestry needed 
Time to think pink in Prince Rupert
Little learners meet the big teachers

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website for Thursday 

CFTK TV 7 News 
No new items were posted to the Northern View website for Thursday 

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North 
Parkade Casino -- Questions over a casino parkade in Prince George (listen to interview here

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
City presents 2010 Five Year Financial Plan for the community 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
The Daily News 
Thursday, April 15, 2010

 Prince Rupert’s proposed 2010 Five Year Financial Plan has been prepared with conservative assumptions.

So said the City’s Chief Financial Officer, Dan Rodin, at Monday night’s council meeting. Development of the plan started in October 2009, Rodin told council. “Department heads were told to be prudent and create a status quo budget. As time progressed and we went through the months of November through January and our year end, information became more certain and all the estimates were modified and 

According to Rodin, the plan assumes the City will be able to makes its payments and fulfill its statutory requirements and adhere to the extensive requirements of the community charter.

“Staff were told not to find anything new and interesting that was going to be expensive, but basically try and commit to providing the same services that they provided this year as much as possible,” Rodin explained.

It also assumes that costs will increase and revenues have been conservatively estimated.

During the development of the plan, around $600,000 was cut out. There was no adjustment for inflation on services and supplies.

Council met with all of the community partners that grants were given to and as a result of those meetings, about $228,000 was cut out of the community grants, to places like the library, SPCA, museum and the wildlife shelter. All groups took a cut of 25 percent based on 2009 funding.

In addition, council had passed a motion in January that it would not fund any new community enhancement grants, saving another $53,000.

Rodin said a number of public work employees were laid off, a ‘point 5’ of a finance employee was laid off, and a development services and a bylaw officer position were not back-filled.

“Plans are afoot to close the Civic Centre for an additional two weeks and there are going to be a few recreation complex deductions that are still going to be sorted out,” he commented.

Acting Director of Recreation Services, Calvin Grav, confirmed the Civic Centre closed down last year for maintenance.

“We refinished all the floors and with the fumes and things it was good to have the building closed. Money-saving was secondary.”

In addition, the pool is routinely closed from mid August for three weeks. Two weeks for when staff is off and the pool is drained and maintained and one week for staff training, Grav explained. Fees for using the recreation centre will be increased by 7 per cent to reflect the new HST.

“Presently, we charge GST on all our fees. So now that will be increased when the HST comes in on July 1, 2010,” Grav added.

In addition, a survey of staff using the Employee Recreation Pass was conducted. Based on that survey, reported Rodin, it is proposed that effective July 1, 2010, employees be charged $120 per year for a pass. Anticipated revenue from this fee is estimated at $13,000.

“Basically, the pencils were out and a lot of work went into making cuts where cuts were possible. It might be said at this point in time that we’re not trying to do the same with less, but we’re trying to do less with less,” Rodin said.

The public will have an opportunity to give input on the budget at the next regular council meeting scheduled for April 26. People wanting a copy of the plan can find it at City Hall or on the City’s website.

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