Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rum Runner Days 2012 Making it pay

Rum Runner Days 2012

On Monday I requested that Councilor Saindon send me a copy of the budget for the Rum Runner Days, which he kindly did yesterday. So I will describe in very simple terms what I found. (Please lets keep in mind that at this point these numbers are projections they may well work out, they could also be out in left field, time will tell)

The weekend is projected to make a “profit” of $8,780 how is this number achieved.

With revenues of $160,500 and costs of $151,720.

Where does the revenue come from?
$16,000 cash on hand
$25,000 municipal soft costs
$50,000 Municipal contribution
$2,500 Carnival rides
$3,000 Business Licenses
$6,000 Vendor permits
$10,000 Camping
$1,500 Friday Night wine and arts
$2,000 Lions Club
$15,000 Saturday night concert
$2,500 Saturday night food and beverage
$15,000 Merchandise Sales
$2,500 Show and Shine revenue
$9,500 Parking and Shuttle Revenue

Total revenue $160,500

Where is the money spent?

$19,200 Municipal Staff costs
$6,600 Municipal Office
$3,000 Advertising
$3,500 Website design/modifications
$2,000 Promotion
$1,500 Wine and art night
$8,500 Saturday night concert
$3,000 Gazebo Park Entertainment
$3,500 Kids Show
$13,500 Stage Rental
$4,000 Show and Shine merchandise
$20,000 Merchandise Purchase Costs
$12,500 Washroom rentals
$4,000 Waste pickup and disposal
$1,500 Security Fencing
$2,500 Tent and Accessories
$20,000 Rcmp Policing
$15,000 Regional Peace Officers/Sheriff
$1,920 Bus Rentals
$1,500 Donation to Boys and Girls club
$1,500 Donation to Coleman Society
$1,500 Donation to Kanaskis Rodeo Assoc
$1,500 Donation to Quad Squad

Total Expenses $151,720

I am sure a lot of people besides myself will be waiting to see how this weekend turns out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Canada Census 2011 For those that love numbers

Canada Census today’s released some very interesting numbers on the age of the Canadian population.

Canada has a total population of 33,476,690 broken down into three age groups 0-14, 15-64 and 65+.
For the whole of Canada 16.8% of the populations is between 0-14, 68.4% is between 15-64 and 14.8% is 65+ with the median age for the country being 41.5.

Alberta not surprisingly is younger than most of the rest of Canada the 0-14 represents 18.8% of the population the 15-64 group 70.1% and the 65+ is 11.1% with the median age for the province being 37.1.

On a local level how do we compare in the Crowsnest Pass, the 0-14 group sits at 12% the 15-64 is at 66% and the 65+ makes up 21% of our population with our median sitting at 51.3.   

Best Western Hotel Development

Received emails and calls this morning about the Best Western coming to the Pass.
I hope this is true but please keep in mind that the Municipal process for hotel development on the Centre site only closed on May 18th.
So I think people are getting what's going on in Sparwood mixed up with what is hoped to happen here.

Check out the following

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bellevue Seniors Centre Mixed messages

After reading the article in the Herald today I am getting a little confused, was the direction of the municipality to get rid of the Bellevue Seniors Centre after they had received the facilities audit report.
Or did it become such a hot political potato that the direction on the facility suddenly changed?

In the Pass herald article titled "Facility Audit encourages demolishion" dated March 13,2012

The following was stated "The Bellevue Seniors' Centre was found to be in very poor and unsafe condition, and Thompson recommended that the building be decommissioned as soon as possible"

In today's paper article titled "Bellevue Seniors raise their voice" Mr Thompson stated the following "I do not think that we have made any indication that we are going to demolish the building" additionally he also stated "Overall, the Seniors Centre was deemed as marginal"

Several concerns the statement made at last weeks meeting provides a different much softer tone than the previous statement made back in February. (That potato getting hot?)
Then going back to that same first statement a determination needs to be made very quickly is that building safe or not? because if the municipality has a report in it's hands that says the facility is unsafe and something happens who is liable?

Side note: Can't wait to see those $70,000 Community Peace Officer vehicles our tax dollars are going to be paying for over the next year.
I remember sitting in a meeting listening to a consultant tell council that the peace officer program would pay for itself including start up costs by January of next year ?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why didn't we think of that?

Today I was having a conversation with a couple of newer residents of the Crowsnest Pass.
Quickly the discussion turned to the issue of the Crowsnest Centre, one of the folks started applauding the present council for not attempting to run the centre, for moving ahead with the demolition and for finally attempting to take advantage of commercial opportunities on that property.
To this point I totally agreed with this couple, then he totally floored me with the comment "I can't believe that previous councils didn't deal with this issue".  Well if I had false teeth I would have spit them out. I asked "where have you been?, haven't you read the papers the last five years?". In all fairness they have only lived here since 2009.
So I ordered another tea and spent the next ninety minutes filling this couple in on the history of the facility.

If present council gets rid of this property and realizes the commercial opportunity that this community so desperately needs I say good for them, and good for the Pass.

I argued for the last ten years that there is no where else along highway 3 that provides the opportunities for commercial development that the Centre property allows for. I asked the naysayers over and over to tell me where else you could go? nobody had an answer.

If the proposed venture for that property comes true I am sure the entire present council and administration will line up for all the glory.

I would like to think that somebody will stand up and say  lets give some credit to the majority of the previous council that had the brains to have a vision for this property that saw it being turned into a tax base for this community, a provider of employment and revitalization for this community. I hope somebody has the courtesy to recognize that the majority of the previous council had the "balls" to take this issue on. Believe me over the last three years of my time on council, my life could have been spared a lot of grief if I had backed off on this issue.

This council was given the opportunity to ride in and claim victory way after the battles had been fought for them.
But isn't politics all about timing?

I hope that council finds a buyer for this property quickly, I hope they do the sale with conditions  that force a buyer to have a vested interest up front, with very strict conditions that force the buyer to develop quickly.
I hope they don't spend a considerable portion of our municipal reserves to demolish that building to have the property sit vacant for the next ten years.

The last thing this community needs is another developer that promises the world, and delivers nothing but holes in the ground.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Is this the direction we really wanted?

The following was posted has a comment on my recent post
It originated on the Municipal Web site under minutes the commenter copied and pasted it to my blog.
I am reposting this to high light the issue. People need to read the minutes below and think about where we has a municipality are really going with this.

"The Protective & Community Services Summary Worksheet for Enforcement- Peace Officer was
• Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) was researched by Donna Tona, Interim Manager
of Protective Services. The Solicitor General requires a population of 5,000 to begin the
process of obtaining ATE. The Crowsnest Pass does require a policing agreement with
the RCMP as per the Crowsnest Pass Regulation.
• In order to provide proper chain of command within an enforcement unit, one of the
peace officers will be required to have a Sergeant’s Rank which will require a salary
• Peace Officers require updated training including a 40 hour Emergency Vehicle
Operations Course, Animal handling, and Use of Force.
• Formal documents are being prepared for the order of two Peace Officer units and their
equipment. Each vehicle will be equipped with Camera systems, radar, laser, onboard
computers, work consoles, prisoner transport system, rubber flooring system, OnStar,
lighting and siren system, vehicles are equipped for off road and factory tailored for
towing, and one unit will be equipped with a winch system, bumper guards with LED
lighting, shotgun system for wildlife only and a digital evidence work station. Cost of
each vehicle with the associated equipment is approximately $70,000.00."

My comments: 
First of all lets go back to what the municipality is trying to achieve here, I have heard lots of fanfare about cleaning up the community and straightening out the yahoo's driving up and down main street with loud mufflers disturbing the law abiding citizens. 
There is no question that there are people around here that need to clean up their properties. With a crack down on the worst offenders and some hefty tickets the problems above will get resolved. So there will be justification for a bylaw/peace officer until those issues are resolved. 

In the long term what are two Community Peace Officers going to do? they are going to become a cash cow. They are going to tap into the 12000 vehicles a day on highway 3 plus with the  Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) that will be set up in high volume areas they will attempt to bring in a lot of money.

A lot of money well think about it they will have to, we see above $140,000 just to set up the first two vehicle's let's give them a life of five years that's $30,000 a year for capital costs.

Now operational costs two community peace officers one of which we now find out will be a Sergeant your looking at 2080 hour a year each. One Officer in the range of $35 per hour and the other around $45 per hour that's $166,400 a year plus a 10% allowance for overtime and 25% for benefits. That number now becomes $228,800, then you are probably going to need another $40,000 a year to pay for all the other stuff required to operate this department (computers, cell phones, fuel, Insurance, uniforms, training, certifications, etc) .

Then it will only be a matter of time if you are writing a ton of tickets before you have to make the decision, do you want your officers sitting in the office doing paperwork or out on the road generating cash. So knowing the way government works after the first year they will be asking for "part time clerical support" which in year two will turn into the support staff is so over whelmed that we need to make this into a full time position. (Another $60,000 per year)

It wouldn't be long before between Capital costs, Officer costs, Clerical support, Other costs that this department will cost us the taxpayers a minimum of $360,000 per year. We have not even began to talk about court appearances, legal costs etc, because yes some people will fight these tickets.

At  an average of $100 per ticket that is 3600 tickets a year divided by 200 days per year that means our officers will have to write 18 tickets per day. 

Lots of questions with a program like this. Is that potential here for that volume of tickets?  Is it sustainable in the long term? How long before it becomes common knowledge that the Crowsnest Pass is a speed trap? How long before all the locals figure out where the enforcement is? Not trying to justify breaking the law but how many tourists will say to hell with the Pass when they receive their photo and bill in the mail?  

Mayor Decoux made a speech in council chambers last year about how famous the Crowsnest Pass has become thanks to Thunder in the Valley. Do we now wish it to become famous for being a speed trap?      

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Council meeting of May 1,2012

  • The Municipality now has its own Facebook page.
  • The closing date for the hotel development proposals on the Crowsnest Centre site is May 18.
  • The tender for the demolition of the Crowsnest Centre calls for a date of August 30 for the completion of the project.
  • There was an announcement that a collective agreement containing “numerous changes” was concluded with CUPE last week they are waiting for CUPE to ratify it.
  • Administration requested to continue the new meeting schedule until September, and re stated their preference to go to two meetings a month.
  • Municipal Off site levies are suspended until the end of January 2013, then to be reviewed at that point.
  • Taxes for the Food bank were waived.
  • Mayor Decoux asked the rest of council what kind of reaction they received to the budget information letter, most of council stared at each other and gave the impression that they  received little response. Mayor Decoux announced that he had received “146 emails and 15 phone messages” most of them very favorable to the newsletter.
  • Administration requested that council approve the release of half the funding for the Museum now and the other half after administration meets with the new Historical Society board. Administration is also looking at ways to assist the museum with their Insurance, Utilities, and Maintenance costs. They were instructed to report back to council on May 15.
  • Request to allow the use of quads for the Sinister seven event approved by council, lots of comments around the room about how great it is to have an event that brings thousands of people and lots of money to the community.
  • Bylaw 847,2012 Peace Officer/Enforcement Bylaw, Passed first reading
  • Bylaw 849,2012 Municipal Emergency Management Committee and Agency Bylaw, Passed first reading.
  • Bylaw 846,2012 False Alarm Bylaw, Passed first reading
  • Councilor Gail requested that the municipality write a letter to the provincial government supporting the push to twin Highway 63
  • Rum Runner Days web site has been updated. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Price we pay.

Well received my 2012 Property Assessment and Tax Notice today.
Couldn't open the envelope fast enough to see if the 2.5% tax increase was real or not.
First of all my assessment went down $1420 on a $327,000 property a difference of less than half a percent so a virtual non factor.
So I took last years taxes $2,721 times 2.5%, I should be looking at a tax increase of $68.03 shockingly my taxes went up to $2,873 a difference of $152. My trusty calculator tells me that is an increase of  5.6%? why am I surprised? have we been misled?

Will be interesting to see what other people have experienced?