A scheduling conflict has pushed back a planning process expected to dissect the very anatomy of the city’s affairs.
First slated to begin June 1, city council has instead elected to begin Oct. 1, once the entirety of city council was firmly lodged back in their seats.
But city staff felt to ensure all of council had input into the five-year plan and to accommodate council’s planned vacations, an alternative was proposed to ensure a five-year plan adoption by year end (end of December) with the “least amount of redo.”
The delay did not sit well with councillor Jody Blomme.
“I disagree that we should be waiting. I’m ready to go,” she said.
Council had been telling the community it wanted to work on the plan all summer starting June 1, said Blomme, and now there was a four-month delay.
“When you sign up to sit around this table that is a commitment with certain sacrifices involved,” she said. “If you can’t make things then that doesn’t mean everything has to halt, it just means you miss out on things. I just think we should get the ball rolling now.”
But if last Monday night was any indication—with three of the six councillors missing—it was a wise move. The chambers were relatively barren without the full complement of council in attendance, and chief administrative officer Cecile Arnott realized how the process could be compromised if that was the case for planning.
“To ensure that this planning process is thorough, objective and engages council discussion, staff
recommend physical attendance at the meetings. This is especially critical at the onset,” she said in her report to council.
In reviewing the list of council and staff availability for the three months commencing July 1, Arnott said it was apparent it was impossible to schedule any meetings where all council would physically be in attendance until Oct. 1.
Although Mayor Greg Granstrom agreed with Blomme that sacrifices have to be made to be on council, he said the process will begin now with background work being done by city staff to compile a lot of data and information when the meetings begin when the entire council was available.
The planning, which will include some public meetings, will include the topics of asset management investment, routine maintenance and revenue planning.
Service levels will be examined—with staff reviewing service levels and identifying areas and risks for changing the service levels—as well as recreation and facilities and consideration will be given to a Community Social Planning Development Plan for the City of Rossland.
Statistics, user revenues and maintenance costs and value of the city’s recreation and facilities will be done.
An RFP will be issued for a contractor to provide the Community Social Planning Development Plan for the city. The contractor will have to have experience in community development theory and practice for social planning.
The cost for the contractor was set with a ceiling of $10,000, moving up from the $5,000 first budgeted for. The incremental extra $5,000 requested for the hiring of a community social development specialist will be funded from surplus.
During the five year planning process of April and May 2013, council decided to proceed with the 2014 to 2018 Financial Plan beginning June 1, 2013. The move was predicated to facilitate the need for “improved public consultation and to address strategies to address the challenges that the city faces.”
The planning process was deemed to include a long term Asset Management Investment Plan complete with a review of service levels and a long term revenue plan. At the time, council indicated a need for social planning that addressed community support and sustainability.
In a small municipality where management wears many hats, the requirements are fulfilled by the same staff members, therefore it is key to have the timelines spread out.
The timeline would be:
a. Financial Plan — October
b. User Fees — November
c. Tax Analysis — December! January (tweaked in March/April)
d. Year End — Feb /March
e. Audited Financial Statements — April
f. LGDE Submission, LGDE Tax — May
g. SOFI and Annual Report — June
Source: City of Rossland