Finance Select Committee Meeting Minutes - May 29, 2003


Finance Select Committee




Thursday, May 29th, 2003


Anderson Room
Richmond City Hall


Councillor Kiichi Kumagai, Chair
Councillor Harold Steves, Vice-Chair
Councillor Rob Howard
Councillor Bill McNulty
Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie


Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.






It was moved and seconded



That the order of the agenda be varied to deal with the reports in the following order:  Nos. 3, 4, 6, 5 and 2.











It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the Finance Select Committee held on Thursday, April 24th, 2003, be adopted as circulated.











(Report:  May 22/03, File No.:  4040-00) (REDMS No. 1010593, 709597, 992668)



Councillor Kumagai advised that with the recent changes to the BC Lottery Corporation regulations and policy, the City's policy, which established the maximum number of slot machines, gaming tables and poker tables which a casino could operate in Richmond, was no longer consistent.



Discussion then ensued among Committee members on the proposed change in City policy, and the impact which this could have on the number of slot machines which could be accommodated at the new casino at the former Bridgepoint Market.  Concern was expressed during the discussion about the lack of control which the City would have on setting a limit on the number of slot machines which would be permitted, if the amended policy was adopted.  However, the comment was made even though a majority of Council supported the proposal that one casino be permitted, any decisions on the number of tables and slot machines to be allowed should be determined by the provincial government.



It was moved and seconded



That Council Policy 5040 (Full Service Gaming Policy) be amended (in accordance with the recommendations in the report dated April 9, 2003, from Councillor Kiichi Kumagai), such that the City policy be consistent with the Provincial regulations on this matter.






OPPOSED:  Mayor Brodie








(Oral Report)



Councillor Bill McNulty spoke about the parking problems occurring in Steveston, and stated that although there was a committee working on these issues, reports had not yet been received.



It was moved and seconded



That the matter of pay parking be referred to the General Manager, Finance & Corporate Services, for report to the General Purposes Committee within two weeks with a complete history on:




where the City started;




where the City is now;




the direction in which the City is now headed; and




the feasibility of removing obstacles from City property located in Steveston to allow parking in lanes.



The question on the motion was not called, as Cllr. Rob Howard, Council Liaison to the Richmond Traffic & Transportation Advisory Committee, reported on a meeting of the Steveston Advisory Task Force on Parking which he recently attended.  He advised that staff would soon be reporting to Committee with a number of short and long term recommendations to deal with parking in the Steveston area.



Cllr. Howard further advised that were two or three quick fixes which were being considered by staff to improve the mood in the area.  Reference was made to the parking tickets which had been issued in the Steveston area to the owners of vehicles illegally parked in lanes, and advice was given that the further issuing of tickets had been put on hold.



During the discussion which ensued, reference was made to the Steveston Station development and to the erection of a gate across the road which effectively eliminated access to the public parking lot.  Staff were requested to include in the report, information on the disposition of that issue.



Reference was made to the memorandum written by the Manager, Community Outreach, Don Pearson, on the ticketing of vehicles parked in Steveston lanes, and a question was raised about whether the information contained in the memo had been communicated to the residents of Steveston.  Staff were asked to refer the matter to the Manager, Communication & Public Affairs, Ted Townsend, with the request that he prepare a press release.



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.








(Report:  May 21/03, File No.:  0970-00) (REDMS No. 1011168)



The Director of Finance, Andrew Nazareth, explained the proposed budgeting process and cycle to the Committee.  Discussion then ensued among Committee members and staff on:




when the appropriate time would be in the process for Council to provide direction on what a maximum property tax rate increase should be




the steps which staff would take in the event that Council directed that any property tax rate increase be at the rate of inflation, and the impact to existing service levels if such a decision was made




whether the proposed process was any different than the process currently followed by staff.



It was moved and seconded



That the new budgeting process and cycle for the City (as presented in the report dated May 21, 2003, from the Director of Finance), be approved.







(Report:  May 22/03, File No.:  1085-20-RTEQ1) (REDMS No. 1010657, 1005047)



The General Manager, Finance & Corporate Services, Jim Bruce, advised that an additional source of funding, should Committee approve a grant to the Richmond Therapeutic Equestrian Society, would be the funds remaining from the 2003 grant process.



Ms. Frances Clark, representing the Society, introduced members of the Society who were present this afternoon.  She then spoke about the request for funding from the Society, a copy of which is attached as Schedule A and forms part of these minutes.



Discussion then ensued among Committee members and Ms. Clark on the request for funding.  She advised in response to questions, that the Society was not asking for a large amount of money, and that the amount being requested did not cover all of the Societys operating expenses.  Reference was made to the budget for the Society and copies were provided to the Committee, a copy of which is attached as Schedule B and forms part of these minutes.  Ms. Clark clarified that the funds being requested were intended to offset administrative expenses and would not be used to pay the salaries of the instructors.



Ms. Clark then provided information on the maximum number of children who could be accommodated through the Societys programs; the support given to the Society by other organizations, and the rationale for dealing with the request for funding outside of the grant process.



In response to further questions, Ms. Clark confirmed that if funding for the Society was included in the City's operating budget, a commitment of $30,085 would be required each year.  It was noted that the Disability Resource Centre received $70,000 and the suggestion was made that the Therapeutic Equestrian Society should also be included.



Ms. Clark, in response to a question about the impact to the Society if an amount of $18,000 was approved, stated that the existing programs would be placed in danger of closing, as expenses have increased.  She noted that there were funds remaining from the 2001 budget; that the matter had been referred to the General Manager, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services for review for inclusion in the 2004 operating budget; and that possibly funding could be available from the 2004 gaming revenue.



Questions were raised about the relationship of the Disability Resource Centre and the Therapeutic Equestrian Society.  In response, Mr. James Sullivan, representing the Disability Resource Centre (DRC), advised that the organization was a separate society and its programs were not the responsibility of the DRC.  He recommended that because of the support given by the DRC to the Therapeutic Equestrian Society and the work in kind, that the funds be administered through the DRC to the Society. 



Discussion then ensued among Committee members and staff on the feasibility of the administration of funds to the Society through the DRC, during which it was noted that some of the administrative expenses of each of the two organizations were duplicated and offered the opportunity for consolidation.



As a result of the discussion, the following motion was introduced: 



It was moved and seconded



That the Richmond Therapeutic Equestrian Society be given the remaining $22,000 from the City grant account.



The question on the motion was not called, as the Richmond Committee on Disability and the Therapeutic Equestrian Society were urged to work together to oversee their administrative needs wherever possible to eliminate duplicate expenses. 



A brief discussion ensued, during which concern was expressed about the process.  The comment was made that there were many organizations with worthwhile causes and the Committee needed to be aware of all these causes both now and in the future.



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED with Cllr. Howard opposed.



Mayor Brodie left the meeting at 5:15 p.m., and did not return.








Mr. Ray Aleliunas, 3100 Garry Street, regarding a dispute of a false alarm fee for 3100 Garry Street.  (File No.:  8060-20-7362)



The Chair reviewed Mr. Aleliunas situation, clarifying that Mr. Aleliunas dispute with the City was that he had been unaware of the change in the City's Fire & Security Alarm System Bylaw to increase the amount of the fine for false alarms to $100 for the first and each subsequent false alarm, and that he was seeking retribution from the City for the $100 charged to him for a false alarm at his home. 



Mr. Aleliunas confirmed the statements made by the Chair as being correct, and he voiced the opinion that there were better ways to communicate the change to the fine than placing advertisements in the local newspapers.  Mr. Aleliunas, in response to further questions, stated that his monitoring company had advised him that it had no knowledge of the increase and, therefore, was unable to pass the information on to him.  He suggested that in future, such notices should be incorporated into the annual billings for utility and property tax notices.



Discussion ensued among Committee members and Mr. and Mrs. Aleliunas about the fact that his monitoring company knew nothing about the increase in the fine for a false alarm.  Advice was given by staff that in addition to advertisements being placed in the local newspapers, letters had been sent to all Richmond-based monitoring companies notifying them of the increase in the fine.  Mr. Bruce added that following his initial discussion with Mr. Aleliunas about the fine, staff had checked the list of monitoring companies to which the letter had been sent and had confirmed that the company which monitored Mr. Aleliunas security system, had been advised of the increase.



It was moved and seconded



That the matter regarding the dispute of Mr. Ray Aleliunas with the City regarding the fine incurred for a false alarm at 3100 Garry Street, be received for information.



Prior to the question on the motion being called, the Chair stated that the onus was on the alarm company to advise its customers of any change in alarm and security regulations, and that Mr. Aleliunas should purse the matter of retribution of the fine with his monitoring company.  The Chair asked that Mr. Aleliunas be provided with a copy of the letter sent by the City to the company.



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (5:26 p.m.).






Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Finance Select Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Thursday, May 29th, 2003.



Councillor Kiichi Kumagai

Fran J. Ashton
Executive Assistant, City Clerks Office