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2012 budget discussions

Last week saw the beginning of the 87 annual budget deliberations for the Village of Burns Lake.

Last week saw the beginning of the 87 annual budget deliberations for the Village of Burns Lake.

Budget talks kicked off with provisional versions of the 2012 fire department and recreation budgets presented to council by Carla Fox, village deputy director of financial services.

Much of the fire department budget remains unchanged from 2011. Aside from a two per cent increase in wages resulting in director of protective services and fire chief Jim McBride's salary increasing to $93,322 in 2012 from $93,000 in 2011, the majority of the projected spending remained unchanged.

The salary for deputy fire chief during 2012 is budgeted for $6,000, unchanged from 2011. There is $12,000 allotted to education and training, as per 2011 and $10,000 allocated to travel during 2012, as in 2011.

The budget for the fire department's telephone is set to decrease by $1,000 during 2012, down to $4,000.

The introduction of the 911 emergency service to the local area last month will require additional funds be spent during 2012.

According to McBride, a $4,000 upgrade to fire department's pager systems is a necessity.

"Nearly half of our present pager system has been rendered obsolete, in part because they cannot be reprogrammed. Some of the units we have are 10 to 12 years old and they don't fit the criteria to function with 911," he said.

A new fire truck is also set to arrive in February 2012.

During November 2010, the Village of Burns Lake issued a tender package for the fire truck, which will replace 13 year old pumper number one.

As reported in the Lakes District News issue of Oct. 3, 2010, the village has $216,000 in reserve funds to put towards the purchase. A further $37,000 will be contributed to the reserve fund for the fire truck from the 2012 budget.

The total cost of the replacement truck is $400,000.

According to Fox the shortfall will be covered by the sale of pumper number one, with the balance coming from a lease [municipal financing for equipment] from the Municipal Financing Authority.

McBride said he is planning to list pumper number one for $110,000.

"If we get $100,000 I will be quite happy, but because of finances I can't take anything less than that," he said.

McBride said, "Interest has been shown from a mining company North of Fort St. James," he added.

The village owned 2003 Ford F150 pickup, used by McBride, is scheduled for replacement in the 2013 budget, for a total of $45,000.

Fox said, "Due to the low mileage and condition, a possible cost recovery could amount to $10,000 to offset the final cost."

The recreation budget was also up for discussion.

There is a total projected recreation/Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena revenue for 2012 of $363,477. Of that, $59,475 will come from the Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association, $18,513 from the Burns Lake Figure Skating Club, $6,000 from summer rental fees and $2,500 from curling rink ice plant rental fees.

Arena staff wages will amount to $160,135, up from $145,625 during 2011. Village recreation coordinator Logan Wilson's salary is budged for 2012 at $67,145.

Other expenses include hydro at $32,681, down from 2011 costs of $38,000. Pacific Northern Gas is budgeted for $17,921, down from the 2011 cost of $24,363, pellets to fuel the arena's new biomass heating system are budgeted to cost $16,387 and $2,100 is included in the 2012 budget for arena pellet plant maintenance.

The total arena expenses for 2012 are projected to be $363,477, outside of the proposed $2 million grant in funding for arena improvements that the village is applying for.

There is $118,448 allotted for phase two of the arena biomass project in the 2013 budget.

Budgeted arena improvements to be completed during 2012 amount to $18,000. According to Fox, $10,000 will come from grant funding while the remaining $8,000 will come from general revenue.

Improvements include: Installing a water drain at the main entrance of the arena — $7,000, re-roofing the workshop and zamboni room — $5,000, safety netting around the ice surface — $4,000, and adding hand rails and ladders $2,000.

During 2013 a further $90,000 is budgeted to be spent on arena upgrades including repainting the outside of the building — $4,000, installing a carbon dioxide detector — $10,000, covering the East entrance — $6,000, installing automatic hand dryers in washrooms — $5,000 and adding parking lot lighting — $20,000. A total of $90,500 is budgeted from general revenue during 2013 for the upgrades.

Sheryl Worthing, village chief administrative officer said to Lakes District News, "If the grant from the Ministry goes through, the 2012 budget will change. Council will review that once we have confirmation from the Ministry. We should hear from the Ministry in March 2012, which is before the 2012 budget is finalized."

Further village budget meetings are scheduled for Dec. 12, Dec. 19, Jan. 9 and Jan. 23, starting at 6 p.m. Times and dates are subject to change. Final budget approval is scheduled for May 15, 2012.