December 2, 2008 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

General Purposes Committee





Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Chair

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Derek Dang

Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Ken Johnston

Councillor Bill McNulty (4:13 p.m.)

Councillor Harold Steves

Call to Order:

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








It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on Monday, November 17, 2008, be adopted as circulated.












(Report: November 24, 2008, File No.:  03-0970-01/2008-Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2508367v5)



The Manager of Fleet and Environmental Programs, Suzanne Bycraft, accompanied by the Director of Finance, Jerry Chong, and the General Manager of Engineering and Public Works, Robert Gonzalez, provided a brief overview of the 2009 Utility Budgets and Rates report, noting that City’s budget increases were primarily due to regional increases for both water and sewer rates. 



Ms. Bycraft spoke about the additional funding requirements that had been approved in July 2008, for the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District (GVS&DD) sewer operations and maintenance costs, and advised that those increases had impacted the 2009 Utility Budget rates.  She also spoke about budget increases for the provisions of the capital infrastructure replacement program.



A discussion then took place among Committee members and staff on the differences between the three options presented in the report.  Staff explained how the various options would impact each of the programs, and the related infrastructure replacement plans:




Option 1 -

would provide funding necessary to recover cost increases, and sustain operations.  It would not allow for an increase to the infrastructure replacement program;




Option 2 -

would provide partial contribution to the infrastructure replacement program, meeting approximately half of the City’s Long Term Financial Strategy objectives; and




Option 3 -

would provide the full contribution to the infrastructure replacement program, fully conforming with the City’s Long Term Financial Strategy objective for ageing infrastructure.



Councillor Bill McNulty entered the meeting (4:13 p.m.).



Discussion also took place about:




the difference in cost savings by replacing infrastructure rather than having to repair breakdowns;




the influence of current market trends and construction costs on infrastructure replacement costs;




water conservation strategies, and recycling programs;




a public consultation process undertaken by Metro Vancouver about long range planning of liquid and solid waste management plans; and




key factors taken into consideration when calculating cost sharing and funding formulas amongst neighbouring municipalities for replacement of major infrastructure components.



During the discussion, staff was requested to provide Committee members with information related to Metro Vancouver’s long term projections for infrastructure related expenses.



Discussion also took place about Richmond’s volunteer water meter program, and in particular on:




the importance of promoting and creating awareness about the program,  and its benefits and savings. It was noted that the program may come to an end at the end of 2009;




specific issues and difficulties related to converting two-family dwellings to a water meter program, especially if one owner/occupant was not in agreement with installing a water meter; 




financial assistance available from the City of up to $3000, to two-family dwellings for required plumbing work to provide two separate connections for metering purposes;




the difficulties incurred in converting apartment buildings to a water meter program, and the associated costs of approximately $30,000 to $50,000 dollars; and




the mandatory installation of water meters in all new buildings.



It was moved and seconded




That the 2009 Utility Expenditure Budgets, as recommended under Option 3 for each utility in the staff report dated November 24, 2008 from the General Managers of Business & Financial Services and Engineering & Public Works, be approved as the basis for establishing the 2009 Utility Rates; and




That staff be directed to report directly to Council with the necessary amendment bylaws to bring into effect the proposed Sewer Connection Charges, amendments to the Waterworks and Water Rates Bylaw, Solid Waste and Recycling Regulation Bylaw, and the 2009 Utility Rates option, as outlined in this staff report.



The question on the motion was not called as staff was requested to review the measures taken to promote the volunteer water meter program, and to collaborate with Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE) with regard to additional advertising efforts.  It was also suggested that information about the volunteer water meter program may be sent out with the annual utility bills.



The question on the motion was then called, and it was CARRIED with Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt opposed.





(Report:  November 5, 2008, File No.:  03-0925-01/2008-Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2505078)



Andrew Nazareth, General Manager, Business & Financial Services advised the Committee that the level of quality and quantity of municipal programs and services had not been taken into consideration upon drafting the report under review. 



It was moved and seconded



That the attached comparison study of residential taxes per single family and strata property in Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, and Vancouver be received for information.



The question on the motion was not called, as a brief discussion took place about the City’s various sources of income, as well as it’s level of expenditures and rates in comparison to other municipalities. 



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




The Chair advised that Items No. (4) and (5) would be dealt with simultaneously.





(Report:  October 7, 2008, File No.: 01-0385-01) (REDMS No. 2486087)




(Report:  November 24, 2008, File No.: 01-0385-01) (REDMS No. 2528963)



It was moved and seconded



That the reports on Financial Information for the 2nd quarter ended June 30, 2008, and for the 3rd quarter ended September 30, 2008, be received for information.



The question on the motion was not called, as discussion ensued about several changes that had occurred between the 2nd and 3rd quarters. During the discussion, advice was provided about: 




the RCMP’s ongoing hiring process and the difference between hard and soft vacancies;




the Fire Department’s role in assisting BC Ambulance in response to emergency calls;




the increase in both the number of medical emergency calls, and the length of time taken to respond to those calls; and




the decrease in new development applications being submitted to the City, and the associated impact on Development Cost Charges program.



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









It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (5:41 p.m.).








Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Tuesday, December 2, 2008.



Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie


Shanan Dhaliwal

Executive Assistant, City Clerk’s Office