The financial five-year plans for town services and expenses were considered by the Finance and Administration Committee, which met for its monthly meeting on March 19.
The items for discussion fell into seven categories.
The RCMP budget: the committee discussed the costs of breathalizer, Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team, the redistribution of Regional Crime Unit Funds if they are cancelled, and overtime at the Subaru Triathlon.
The fire fighting budget: The increased benefits and wages for firefighters were discussed, as well as Level 1 training (required) and Level 2 (not required, but good as incentive), and the costs associated with their upcoming 100th Anniversary Celebration. A motion was passed to remove a fire truck from the 2015 Capital Plan. The annual report for 2012 did not compare easily with the previous years’ budget.
Legal expenses: There were $16,638 in expenses from 2012 that should have occurred in 2011. There was also some discussion about utilizing a “Union of British Columbia Municipalities” or UBCM lawyer to reduce costs.
Administration: The committee discussed staff wage increases, professional development, staffing for building maintenance, increase in electricity costs and BC Hydro rates, ensuring a longterm Capital Replacements Plan before vehicles can be purchased, and overall building maintenance and duct work. They also discussed the merits and disadvantages of hiring versus contracting for parks maintenance.
The roundabout: The motion was passed to defer the roundabout from 2013 Capital Plan to the 2014 Capital Plan.
Sooke Emergency Program: Additionally, the program budget for the Sooke Emergency Program for 2013 to 2015 was received and discussed. There was some concern about promoting and marketing it, to both Sooke residents and members of this Committee.
Sundry miscellaneous: Also discussed were the merits and drawbacks of sponsoring the upcoming BC Mountain Bike Tourism Symposium, as well as the Sooke Public Boat Launch (parameters and timeline of an RFP, signage, and whether or not Sooke residents will get a break.)