After several budget meetings, Creston town council gave initial approval to a 2011-2012 budget that holds spending to a 2.6 per cent increase at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
“We worked hard to pare the budget down so that the increase in spending reflects the cost of living increase for the past year,” Mayor Ron Toyota said on Monday. “There were some tough decisions to be made as we tried to balance the need to provide service with the taxpayers’ desire to hold spending in check.”
The budget will be presented at a public meeting before it gets final approval.
•Council allocated $1,000 from the town’s environmental reserve fund to participate in the first annual Dash 4 Trash, a community cleanup initiative on May 14. The event is being spearheaded by Columbia Brewery.
•A rezoning application from Creston New Life Christian Church on Elm Street received preliminary approval. The church recently purchased a neighbouring residence, which it plans to turn into a thrift shop. Rezoning is required to allow operation of the shop on what is currently a residentially zoned lot.
•Council received a request for stairs to be constructed at the back of the covered stage at Millennium Park. With no stairs in place, council acknowledged the difficulty of moving sound equipment from the parking lot to the stage. Consideration will be given to using money designated for lighting improvements for the stairway construction.
•Couns. Ducharme, Judy Gadicke and Joanna Wilson will represent the town on a select committee to advise on the proposed placement of murals on the Pharmsave wall on 11th Avenue North. The Four Seasons mural is scheduled for removal this spring.
•On the recommendation of Creston Fire Rescue Chief Bruce Mabin, town council will write a letter of support for a proposal that would permit private campgrounds to allow campfires during the first stage of provincial campfire prohibitions. Mabin said that campgrounds would be able to apply for permits under the new rule. They would have to demonstrate their ability to keep the fires contained and supervised.
•Council received a letter from Kaminoho, Creston’s sister city, explaining that the town had not been directly affected by the recent earthquake. Toyota will undertake to raise private donations to add to available funds from the town’s Kaminoho budget. Donations will go the to help meet a challenge put out by Castlegar, whose sister city is Embetsu. Castlegar’s largest employer, Zellstoff Celgar, has donated $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross Society to help with relief efforts in Japan.