A 56-page report detailing the Town of Creston’s activities in 2013 is now available on the town website (www.creston.ca) or for pickup at Creston Town Hall.
“Each year we get better at this,” Town manager Lou Varela said at the June 24 regular town council meeting as she presented the 2013 annual report.
Included in the report are updates on what each department has accomplished and annual audited financial statements.
“Consolidated operating expenditures were just under budget by $16,646, which is very close to target considering the 2013 financial plan was $8.9 million,” reported finance and corporate services director Steffan Klassen. “While the budget is an effective tool to control municipal expenditures, it is, however, a forecast and therefor subject to a number of outside and internal factors which may result in variances. When an overage is expected, savings in other areas are sought in order to meet the overall budget target.”
Long-term debt rose by $1.13 million in 2013 to a total of $7.16. The increase was the result of borrowing, in large part for upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant. However, Klassen said only 20 per cent of the long-term debt is paid for by tax dollars or user fees. FortisBC pays for prepaid capital lease loans and the province pays for more than half of the RCMP building loan. Columbia Brewery pays for a substantial portion of the upgrade loan for the wastewater treatment plant through sewer charges.
“Council and staff have made a great effort in operating in a transparent manner and the 2013 annual report is an important tool for all taxpayers and residents,” Mayor Ron Toyota said. “I encourage people to go to our website or to pick up a copy at town hall.”
•A request for permission to paint murals on the retaining wall at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market was approved pending approval by the Creston Spirit Committee. The work will be done in part by students with developmental disabilities. There is no cost to the town for the project.
•A composter rebate program will be offered to purchasers of commercial composting units. Town residents qualify for a $25 rebate on such purchases.
•Bev Caldwell was appointed as chief election officer for the 2014 local government election. Bhar Sihota and Cherine Klassen will serve as deputy election officers. The expenses for the election are budgeted for $11,000, an amount unchanged since the 2011 elections.
•A request from the United Steelworkers for support in its campaign to enforce the Westray Act was received for information.
•Creston Fire Rescue will host four summer events designed to interact with families on public education, summer safety tips and recruitment. Hot Summer Nights will be held at Centennial Park (July 8), Prince Charles Secondary School (July 22), Adam Robertson Elementary School (Aug. 5) and Erickson Elementary School (Aug. 19).
•Approval of spending $1,350 from the advertising budget will allow for ads in the Creston Valley Thunder Cats game program and on a rink board.
•A letter of support was approved for Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 29’s application for funding to replace flooring under the New Horizons for Seniors Program.