A public meeting will be held on the 2019 budget on April 1 during the 6 p.m. council meeting. Everyone is welcome. (File photo)

Floods, fires stall some Keremeos village projects in 2018

A larger than normal surplus occurred at the village in 2018

  • Mar. 7, 2019 1:30 a.m.

Flooding and fires pushed off a number of projects meaning the village of Keremeos was left with a significant surplus in the 2018 budget.

The surplus totals $139,696 representing about 9 per cent of the entire budget. The additional monies will be moved to the road reserves.

Nicolette Keith, the village’s chief financial officer, said the average surplus for a municipality is generally around five per cent but the village faced an exceptional year with natural disasters.

Manfred Bauer, mayor of Keremeos,echoed her sentiments adding staff did an exceptional job staying on top of things.

“This was a tough year. We had constant interruptions. We had the flood. We had the fire. We had all the downtown reconstruction. We had the water line behind the school all the way to the bypass and we had all this extra work…,” Bauer said. “It was an incredible year and considering what we had to deal with it’s not surprising some of the projects got behind a bit.”

A report released Monday outlined the level of work and commitment required from public works to handle just the flood season.

Related: Aerial footage shows flooding in Lower Similkameen

Over the course of six to eight weeks last spring, $30,000 in wages including overtime, was spent keeping the sewer treatment plant running. The plant was basically on life support as high water and run off wreaked havoc.

“It’s ver much appreciated and you can’t ask fore more of a commitment from public works staff and what they’ve done,” Bauer said.

Although the $30,000 is not up and above regular budgets, through a tracking system staff was able to quantify the time worked

Bauer said the village will be reimbursed for a portion of that money from Emergency Management B.C. as it was related to flood mitigation.

“Those guys were run ragged for a long time and they really did save the town and I don’t think people realized how hard they worked,” Marg Coulson the village’s said.

Several of the projects that were pushed back or cancelled included training for asset management, $5,000; asset management collection, $45,000; downtown main project, $8,857 (will be completed 2019).

Other areas that saw surpluses included the cemetery which saw fewer wages assigned to operation as only three burials took place in 2018. The surplus was about $9,000. The building inspection and bylaw departments also saw $2,000 each in surplus.

Despite the surplus council is eyeing a 3 per cent increase in taxes collected over last year.

Keith said how that will work out for the average tax payer is contingent on the revised B.C. Assessment role.

“When you have assessment values that go up considerably higher our tax rate could potentially go down because we will hit that 3 per cent that we want because of growth,” she said.

A public meeting to go over the budget will be held during the April 1 council meeting at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

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