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Jul 16, 2020

Committee of the Whole Notebook for July 14, 2020

Ladysmith Council met as the Committee of the Whole on July 14, 2020 with a progress update on the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan among the agenda highlights.

The Ladysmith Fire/Rescue monthly reports summarizing calls for January to June 2020 were among the first items on the agenda.

Firefighters responded to 61 calls over the six month period to start the year; motor vehicle accidents, burning complaints and medical aid calls were the top three calls for service.

The Committee recommended to Council that the 2020 annual tax sale be deferred until 2021. The Province is allowing municipalities decide if they’d like to hold a tax sale this year.

As of July 6, there are 27 properties set for tax sale which means the property owner has not paid their delinquent taxes for the past three years.

A tax sale didn’t take place in 2019 because all properties paid their balances owing by the tax sale deadline.

Next, the Committee received an information report on the first and second quarter financial statements, including the period from January to June 2020.

Despite the loss of projected recreation revenue due to COVID-19, the Town is expected to see a budget surplus.

This is due to unexecuted debt payments for the water supply project, savings in municipal payments for the RCMP, and savings from the cancelled annual spring clean up as well as recycling initiatives.

The Committee recommended to Council that the current policy for park bench donations be repealed and replaced with a new policy to include trees, benches and other amenities.

A 10-year term for all dedications is proposed in the new policy after which time donors will be given the option to renew.  The existing policy allows for dedications in perpetuity.

The Committee also recommended that Council direct staff to amend the fees and charges bylaw to increase the cost of a park bench dedication to $3,950 and add a new program renewal fee of $1,050.

A review was recently conducted to assess the long-term sustainability and community access to the program and ensure it operates as cost-neutral.  The review included comparisons to similar dedication programs operated by area municipalities.

Since 2000, there have been over 90 bench and tree dedications in town.

The Committee received the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan progress update for information, highlighting the status of projects and key priorities endorsed by Council.

The report includes a new COVID-19 section to account for resources redirected from other priorities in order to comply with the Provincial Health Officer's orders.

A high-level overview of the progress can been viewed here.

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