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COUNCIL BRIEFS: Sidney
• Town of Sidney councillors approved four recommendations out of their Feb. 4 committee of the whole session. Those include: deferring an events co-ordinator position to 2014 or later; approving a hiring plan for four full-time firefighters; approving the duplication of emergency operations centre documents, and; standardizing the town’s class five (light industrial) tax rate over two years.
• The Town’s annual water and sewer utility parcel taxes and user rates will remain unchanged in 2013.
• As a consequence of water conservation programs and education, the Town of Sidney has seen a reduction in their water service revenue — in the range of $100,000. Staff expect the same shortfall in 2013 and have used money out of the utility reserve fund to make up for it in this year’s budget.
• Council approved an ongoing contract payment to the Sidney Museum and Archives Society of $75,000, plus other costs and in-kind contributions. The total contribution made by the Town to the society that runs the museum is around $100,000 each year.
• The Town will pay $5,000 this year to maintain and upgrade the washroom facility at the Arts Council building in Tulista Park.
• Even as the town goes ahead with a full-time firefighter hiring plan this year, council also approved ongoing funding of more than $20,000 so the department can continue to advertise for volunteer members. Much of that money is used for training purposes, while some $5,000 is in the budget for further recruiting.
• Council saved money in this year’s budget by deferring a Beacon Wharf replacement study and a seawall vulnerability study. Town staff said they have no issues with them being put off for now, as there are no imminent issues with either. Council decided to leave some money in this year’s budget to cover half of the seawall study, which they expect to complete in 2014.
• Councillor Marilyn Loveless noted that there’s a two per cent wage increase for unionized staff in this year’s budget — but she questioned why the same percentage increase is applied to the rest of the municipal employees.
Chief administrative officer Randy Humble and Mayor Larry Cross noted this issue will be coming up in discussion soon.
• The Town will pay around $10,000 to clean up a site at the intersection of Beacon Avenue and the Pat Bay Highway — where once a boat named Wanda rested.
The site will get some landscaping work but the existing log sign will remain.