What’s over- and under-budget at the Village

Photo: Evan Matthews The proposed site for the new gas bar and restaurant is just inside the Valemount sign, and to the left.
Photo: Evan Matthews
The proposed site for the new gas bar and restaurant is just inside the Valemount sign, and to the left.

by EVAN MATTHEWS

The Village of Valemount has offered residents a glimpse into the corporation’s 2016 finances, so far.

A report to Council says explanations are given for discrepancies, but the overall budget is on target.

The report shows the Village has used 32 per cent of its overall budget between January and June.

The report shows the Village is expecting to bring in $2,647,810 in revenue in 2016, while spending $2,629,314.

Total grant revenue sits at $604,048, which puts the Village on pace to acquire its expected total of $1.2M in grants. Grants are applied to a variety of things like seasonal Village positions (grant writer, CBT water smart program), non-profits, etc. Grant money comes in and out of Village accounts, as the corporation often essentially acts as a go-between.

Being on or under budget is always the goal of any municipality, and Valemount did just that on a number of its expenditures including: general government charges, protective services, transportation services, environment and health, public health and welfare, recreation culture and services, and general capital.

However, while the Village is meeting its goal on a number of general expenditures, it’s also over budget on a few of its more specific expenditures such as professional services, administrative wages and benefits, employee recruitment, auditors, dust control, street lighting hydro and maintenance, postage and freight, and garbage truck maintenance.

A line in the budget is designated as $100,000 for the Official Community Plan (OCP)/Zoning Review, a process that occurs every 10 years.

At the July 12 council meeting, Mayor Jeannette Townsend motioned to have an outside consultant do the OCP and Zoning Review, which according to Townsend, wouldn’t cost the full $100,000.

Counc. Sandy Salt questioned the motion, saying Village staff should also be involved, as local staff know the struggles and needs of our community.

Mayor Townsend retorted, “I was here for the last two (OCPs) in 1996 and 2006. I know how things are done, and they were done efficiently.”

Coun. Salt said consultants are supposed to “assist staff on the report.”

“To me that’s saying because staff’s time is limited, we bring in a consultant to help, not to just do the job,” Salt said.

CAO Mark Macneill jumped in, saying, “We’re making some assumptions… We haven’t reached out to consultants yet to know their timelines or cost.”

Councillor Peter Reimer agreed with Macneill, and motioned that the decision wait for two weeks.

“We need to do our diligence here.”

Councillor Owen Torgerson seconded the motion.

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