Budget 2022

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Consultation has concluded

BACKGROUND

Municipalities own, maintain, and operate a wide range of infrastructure to support the provisions of needed and desired services for their communities. Examples of these assets include:

  • police and fire stations
  • roads and sidewalks
  • street lighting
  • pipes and facilities for disposal of sewer and storm water
  • arenas, pools, sports fields, and playgrounds
  • and more

Growth in the community requires expansion to existing infrastructure to provide municipal services for new residents and businesses. Councils are continually challenged to maintain current infrastructure and services while also addressing the demand for enhanced and new services—and keeping it all within affordable levels for their communities.

Whether your garbage is being collected, your street is being plowed, or you are visiting the splash park, you are witnessing your tax dollars at work. It is municipal budget decisions, at the direction of Mayor and Council, that set the funding levels for the programs and services that maintain your quality of life. Developing this budget involves making difficult decisions between essential programs, infrastructure demands, and the wants and needs of residents.

The City of Terrace needs to ensure it is budgeting adequately to maintain long-term financial stability for the future of the community as well as focusing on the wants and needs of today.

BACKGROUND

Municipalities own, maintain, and operate a wide range of infrastructure to support the provisions of needed and desired services for their communities. Examples of these assets include:

  • police and fire stations
  • roads and sidewalks
  • street lighting
  • pipes and facilities for disposal of sewer and storm water
  • arenas, pools, sports fields, and playgrounds
  • and more

Growth in the community requires expansion to existing infrastructure to provide municipal services for new residents and businesses. Councils are continually challenged to maintain current infrastructure and services while also addressing the demand for enhanced and new services—and keeping it all within affordable levels for their communities.

Whether your garbage is being collected, your street is being plowed, or you are visiting the splash park, you are witnessing your tax dollars at work. It is municipal budget decisions, at the direction of Mayor and Council, that set the funding levels for the programs and services that maintain your quality of life. Developing this budget involves making difficult decisions between essential programs, infrastructure demands, and the wants and needs of residents.

The City of Terrace needs to ensure it is budgeting adequately to maintain long-term financial stability for the future of the community as well as focusing on the wants and needs of today.

Consultation has concluded
  • Budget 101 - Public Works (Part 2)

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    You asked, and we’re ready to answer. Each Thursday, we’ll be looking at some of the themes and specific questions raised in our budget survey, which took place last November.

    Just like last week, the Public Works and Engineering department is our focus today—since there were so many great questions and suggestions in this section, we broke this department into two posts. Check our previous post for the public works side of the department.

    In our budget survey, many commenters agreed with the Public Works and Engineering budget. Three commenters requested improvements to snow removal. Several miscellaneous comments were also made regarding things like electric vehicles and paving. Below, we’ve addressed some questions regarding the engineering side of this department, looking at reduction of redundancies and how capital projects are tracked. Please note that questions have been edited for clarity.


    Find ways to reduce expenditures and reduce redundancies and repetitive processes. Through your staff, discover more streamlined processes that save money.

    And

    Focus on cost-saving ideas, reducing redundancies, streamlining processes, and examining what we really need vs. what has always been. Operational staff always have brilliant ideas for savings and redundancy elimination; you just have to have a group brainstorming session to get the ideas flowing.

    We are constantly looking for ways to reduce expenditures and spend funds most effectively. One strategy is undertaking as much in-house engineering work as we can. This is made possible by having a multi-talented engineering team with a wealth of experience. For many of our capital works projects, the in-house work completed includes surveying, drafting, storm/water/sanitary system capacity assessments, designs, procurement, contract management, field inspection, and quality assurance. In addition to in-house lead engineering projects, we also offer our services for consultant-led projects to assist with whatever tasks fall within our scope of expertise, such as logging test pit records at the landfill and contract administration on Birch Hill.

    To reduce redundancy, we have been actively working on formalizing repetitive processes by creating procedures manuals. Our team members are encouraged to critically think about the way they execute tasks and bring forward suggestions for improvements. This record-keeping and process formalization will facilitate efficiency in our team, improve the way we execute tasks year-to-year, and create a platform for improvement.

    Some additional related initiatives include:

    • Collaborating with operational staff to ensure designs have a low impact on maintenance activities.
    • Reviewing road and drainage products. Some examples include evaluating various pothole patching products (2 types of cold patch and thermoplast chipfill, etc), incorporating new root removal products, and assessing various road sands.
    • Reusing old parts and materials for building projects. Recently for our leachate treatment system, we repurposed a 20-foot sea can, doors, pipes, miscellaneous steel, and more to offset project costs.
    • Completing cost-benefit analysis for owning or leasing equipment vs. hiring contractors.
    • Collaborating with Leisure Services and other departments to look at equipment needs and remove redundancy.
    • Enhancing our safety program to improve safety and lessen potential costs associated with WorkSafeBC claims.
    • Removing re-distributors from the supply chain for parts for the sewage treatment plant.
    • Auctioning old vehicles and equipment taking up space in our yard.
    • Making energy improvements at buildings, both in the mechanical systems and building envelope.
    • Leveraging in-house engineering capacity to focus on consultant studies and designs.
    • Engaging local consultants and contractors where possible to reduce travel and LOA costs.
    • Employing new software to streamline remote working, including conference room enhancements.


    From Jonathan Lambert, Director of Engineering and Public Works:

    I appreciate the comments made regarding cost-saving ideas, reducing redundancies, and streamlining processes. I also completely agree with the comment made that “Operational staff always have brilliant ideas for savings and redundancy elimination.” Efficiency is at the forefront of every decision we make, and we routinely engage and brainstorm ideas with operational staff. The hundreds of years of experience our City crews obtain is invaluable to improve processes and come up with solutions to problems.

    I am fortunate to work with a truly dedicated team who take ownership of their responsibilities to the City and who are proud to contribute to keeping the city roads, water, sewer, lights, vehicle and equipment, buildings, and other services running. During this period of growth, our engineering department is also fully engaged in many capital projects and committed to realizing the best value for our City. In the coming years, our Engineering and Public Works departments are working closely together to undertake more in-house construction projects to realize both cost and schedule benefits.



    Is there a way to identify the share of administration and engineering dedicated to capital projects?

    Yes, hours spent by engineering staff are recorded under specific project codes and can be correlated to the phase of a capital project. We have plans to further break down these phases in recording to allow for review, improvements, and progress tracking for both projects and skill development.



    Do you have other questions about this department? Post them below.

    Our next installment will be next Thursday, when we’ll look at the next department on the list. Stay tuned!


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  • Budget 101 - Public Works (Part 1)

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    You asked, and we’re ready to answer. Each Thursday, we’ll be looking at some of the themes and specific questions raised in our budget survey, which took place last November.

    Today, the Public Works and Engineering department is our focus—and since there were so many great questions and suggestions in this section, we’ve broken this department into two posts. Stay tuned for part 2 next week.

    In our budget survey, many commenters agreed with the Public Works and Engineering budget. Three commenters requested improvements to snow removal. Several miscellaneous comments were also made regarding things like electric vehicles and paving. Below, we’ve addressed some of these topics. Please note that questions have been edited for clarity.

    Why does building maintenance cost almost a million dollars a year? What exactly does that cover?

    The $707,314 allocated to Building Maintenance covers the maintenance of City Hall, Public Works, RCMP, Library, Firehall, George Little House, Kwinitsa, Park House, Visitor Info Centre, Sewage Treatment Plant, and various lift stations and pump houses around the City. This budget also funds the cost of utilities, contracted services (janitorial, snow removal, elevator maintenance, etc.), and equipment requirements to perform these duties.

    The estimated cost breakdown based on 2021 actuals is:

    • 27% wages (labour)
    • 25% utilities
    • 19% janitorial Services
    • 24% other (materials, contractor wages, etc)
    • 5% vehicle costs

    There are a number of staff that perform maintenance activities for these buildings. Their labour efforts are tracked and charged to the appropriate building where the work is taking place. Some examples of these labour activities are flooring, painting, office furniture, roofing, heating system repairs, vandalism repairs, siding, energy efficiency improvements, and other proactive and reactive maintenance measures relating to the expertise in carpentry, electrical, and other trades that our crews maintain.


    Sidewalks and bike lanes should be plowed faster.

    Our Public Works team follows the “Plowing Route Priority” described in the City of Terrace’s “Snow and Ice Control” Policy. The policy states that streets will be plowed according to the following priority: Hills, Hospitals and School Zones, Downtown Core, Arterial Streets, Local Residential Streets, Cul-de-sacs, and Alleys. Sidewalks will be plowed as resources are available.

    Roads are still our first priority, but Public Works has recognized the need for increased attention to sidewalks during the winter months. We currently have two sidewalk plows and multiple staff that are scheduled on differing shifts to provide as close to around-the-clock coverage as possible. This sidewalk-specific equipment has some limitations (low operating speeds, limited sanding capacity, inability to break up ice and compact snow during freezing events) that lead to slower response times in comparison to our plows used on the roads, but the level of service to sidewalks has been increased and will continue to be monitored for added efficiencies and opportunities for improved service levels.


    Are there any plans to pave my street? My gravel road has heavy travel usage throughout the workweek and has had chronic dust and water pooling for over a decade now.

    and

    Are there any plans to repave my street?

    There are many factors considered while deciding which streets need to be paved and/or rebuilt and added to the five-year plan. These include age and condition of infrastructure (water, sewer, storm, road surface), number of residents impacted, traffic volumes, maintenance costs, budget constraints, and development in the area.

    Currently, the City of Terrace does not offer dust control as a service to our residents. We do, however, offer a subsidy for calcium treatment to our gravel roads. The treatment is applied by local contractors with a portion of the costs being billed to the City of Terrace. For more information on this subsidy, please contact the Public Works department.


    I'd like to see ongoing and timely electrification of the city fleet of vehicles. Will vehicle purchases listed in the budget be electrical vehicles?

    We have recognized the technologies for electric vehicles are advancing, and we are investigating the benefits and disadvantages as they relate to the City’s fleet, climate, and budget. We are seeing some larger municipalities and businesses begin their transition into electrification and are actively monitoring their successes and shortfalls to better understand what a switch to electric vehicles would mean for our fleet. In the short term, we are attending seminars to continue learning about electric vehicle capabilities, power requirements to support an electric fleet, and grant opportunities to explore this transition.


    People are very cavalier with water usage in Terrace and district. I think it's time to recover the costs of providing clean water.

    The City charges residences and businesses for water usage in accordance with Bylaw #1326-1993 “Terrace Water Distribution & Sale.” Most residences and businesses in Terrace are unmetered, so are charged a minimum monthly rate to recover the costs of this service. The city has explored the option of having water meters at each residence to better track the usage per household and charge accordingly, but due to the prohibitive costs of equipment and labour to have these installed, it was deemed unfeasible.

    Rather than water metering, the City is increasing our efforts to educate the public on water conservation techniques. The goal is to lessen the strain on our water distribution system during the summer months and reduce the possibility of water usage restrictions (which restrict lawn sprinkling).


    Why is the water in Terrace so hard to the point where you have to descale a kettle at least once a week? Why is Terrace transferring money to a reserve when its water quality could really use improvement?

    The City of Terrace’s main water source is an underground aquifer located at the Frank Street Well site. Aquifers rely on the natural filtration of ground water through rock and gravel. This process picks up mineral contents from the rock, resulting in hard water. There are no health issues related to the hardness of the water. The City of Terrace’s water is in line with the drinking water requirements set out by Northern Health.

    While the hardness of water can be considered a nuisance to household appliances, aquifers are a very safe and beneficial source of water where the benefits heavily outweigh the negatives (hard water). Aquifers are not susceptible to surface water, do not require significant treatment processes, and are unaffected by spring freshets and high-water events. This results in a consistent, safe stream of water to our community with the rare need to issue boil water advisories.

    Money is being transferred to a reserve to fund ongoing replacement of aging water distribution infrastructure. Typically, this infrastructure is replaced when roads are reconstructed.

    To learn more about the City of Terrace’s water system please reference the “City of Terrace Annual Water System Report.” This report provides an excellent summary of our water quality, sampling procedures, and compliance levels set out by Northern Health. Check our website for recent reports.


    Do you have other questions about this department? Post them below.

    Our next installment will be next Thursday, when we’ll look at more Public Works questions. Stay tuned!


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  • Budget 101 - Fire Department

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    You asked, and we’re ready to answer. Each Thursday, we’ll be looking at some of the themes and specific questions raised in our budget survey, which took place in November.

    Today, the Fire Department is our focus. In our budget survey, 11 respondents indicated they were happy with the Fire Department’s budget; two indicated the budget was too low. Those in opposition were concerned or unclear about what kinds of calls the Fire Department responds to. We have responded to this as well as another question about emergency cooperation between local governments. Please note that questions have been edited for clarity.


    What emergency co-operation/mutual support agreement do we have with the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine?

    The City of Terrace has emergency mutual aid agreements with the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine as well as the District of Kitimat. Without these agreements, the City of Terrace Fire Department could end up being double the size it is now, with a much larger budget.

    For successful firefighting strategies, it is best practice for a municipality to have a ladder truck whenever they have five or more three-storey buildings or other large buildings—in our case, like the hospital, Walmart, and Skeena Mall, to name a few. However, the City of Terrace has an agreement with the RDKS, which allows us to utilize the ladder truck that the Thornhill Fire Department has.

    Our Fire Department is described as a Composite Fire Department—volunteer firefighters work alongside the paid staff during emergency calls. By supplementing the City of Terrace’s paid department, the Terrace volunteer firefighters play an integral role in helping our paid staff with maintaining emergency callout while also keeping the costs lower than a fire department without volunteer firefighters.

    One notices Fire Department presence frequently when an ambulance has been called. What aspect of an ambulance call elicits the Fire Department to respond?

    In the past, an automatic call system meant the Terrace Fire Department was dispatched to every ambulance call, which meant attending many incidents that did not require our presence. Under the new system, introduced in 2019, the City of Terrace Fire Department responds to all ambulance calls that deal with life-threatening events. We also respond to any call that the ambulance attendants feel that they will need our assistance on. By redefining those emergency calls, the Fire Department has dropped from doing over 900 pre-hospital calls, down to approximately 300 calls a year. This drop in pre-hospital calls has allowed the firefighters to get closer to our commercial inspection goals and other fire prevention activities, as well as our training needs, to make sure we are doing our job safely and within WorkSafe BC guidelines for providing emergency help.


    Do you have other questions about this department? Post them below.


    Our next installment will be after the holidays. Look for a new post on January 6, 2022.

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  • BUDGET 101: Leisure Services

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    You asked, and we’re ready to answer! Each Thursday, we’ll be looking at some of the themes and specific questions raised in our budget survey, which took place in November.

    First on the list is Leisure Services. In our budget survey, we heard several comments on the new Social Development Program, expressing hope for the success of the program. There were also some comments on the high costs of building and running both the Sportsplex and Terrace & District Aquatic Centre. In addition, a few respondents asked questions about this department, which we have answered below. Please note that some questions have been edited for clarity.


    Would a small fee increase help with this department’s budget?

    Great question! We are currently undertaking a full fee review across all programs and offerings in our facilities and will update the public on any changes we make to fees in advance.

    Can we get longer TDAC memberships than one month?

    Yes. One- and three-month individual memberships are currently available, and we will be reintroducing family memberships and longer memberships in the new year. Stay tuned on social media and we will also post the updated information at the TDAC. More info on memberships is available here.

    Are there plans to improve the Terrace Municipal Cemetery with a map or other updates?

    In November 2021 (right before the snow arrived!) we installed a new sign at the cemetery, and we are now working on the new map that will be installed early in the new year. In 2022 we will be undertaking additional updates to our Municipal Cemetery, including landscaping enhancements and much-needed improvements to our maintenance building. Planning and design work for the future cemetery expansion will also begin in 2022.


    Do you have other questions about this department? Post them below.


    Stay tuned next week when we will look at the Fire Department!

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  • December 1, 2021: Budget Survey Results Available Now

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    In today's Committee of the Whole meeting, Council heard the 2022 Budget Consultation Survey results and received updates on the 2022-2026 Financial Plan Objectives and Policies, 2022-2026 General Fund Operating and Capital Budgets, and 2022 Draft Sewer and Water Fund Operating and Capital Budgets.

    Watch the meeting here:

    The next steps include the first three readings of the Financial Plan Bylaw as well as Final Adoption. Check the calendar for dates and details.

  • November 8: 2022 Budget Consultation Is Live

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    We want to hear from you!

    The City of Terrace Council is currently considering the 2022-2026 Financial Plan, with a focus on the 2022 Budget. A document containing detailed budget information is now available online or on paper for your review.

    SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK BY NOVEMBER 23, 2021

    ONLINE: Visit the link below to find the document and answer the online survey

    ON PAPER: Find a printed copy of the document and survey at

    • Terrace City Hall: 3215 Eby St
    • Terrace Public Library: 4610 Park Ave
    • Happy Gang Centre: 3226 Kalum St

    Get started now

  • October 20, 2021: Sewer and Water Operating Budgets

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    The next step in the budget 2022 process is tonight! Please join us to learn about the Sewer and Water Operating Budgets.

    The goal of this meeting is to provide an overview of the 2022 sewer and water operating budget, as well as to hear about other general operating budget information requested by Council in previous meetings.

    JOIN IN:

    Wednesday, October 20, 2021
    5:00 pm
    Virtually through Microsoft Teams OR in person

    Learn how to participate

    View the meeting agenda


    WATCH the meeting:


  • October 7, 2021: General Operating Fund Draft Budget Meeting

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    The next step in the budget 2022 process is to learn about the General Operating Fund Draft Budget.

    The goal of this meeting is to provide an overview of the status of the 2022 draft Operating Budget for the General Operating Fund and for Council to have an opportunity to provide direction with regards to the proposed operating budget and required taxation prior to the community budget consultation phase of the budget process.

    Council will also be discussing the requested Internal Vehicle Charges (IVC) increase. Staff are recommending that Council increase the IVC contribution in the 2022 operating budget by $65,965 to allow for additional net contributions needed to bridge the funding gap for the two garbage trucks, fire truck, gravel truck, and sidewalk machine that the City currently requires.


    JOIN IN:

    Thursday, October 7, 2021
    5:00 pm
    Virtually through Microsoft Teams OR in person

    Learn how to participate

    View the meeting agenda


    WATCH the meeting:


  • September 23, 2021: General, Sewer, and Water Capital Budget Meeting

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    Our budget schedule continues! Our next meeting will be a Committee of the Whole on Thursday, September 23, 2021, when staff will present several reports to Council on the General, Sewer, and Water Capital Budget.

    The public is welcome to join this meeting and ask questions at the end, if desired, by joining our Teams call. The meeting will also be livestreamed through the City of Terrace website and Facebook page, as usual.

    JOIN IN:

    Thursday, September 23, 2021
    5:00 pm
    Online only

    Learn how to participate

    View the meeting agenda

  • Citizen Satisfaction Survey Results

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    This year, staff set up a citizen satisfaction survey as a new step in the annual budget cycle. The public was directed to answer this survey to help the City understand their priorities and opinions on the services they receive. The intention was for staff and council to use this information to inform the 2022 budget and 5-year financial plan. The results, when gathered annually, will help rate the City’s performance and track priorities over time.


    Jump to the survey results here.

    Learn more about the 2021 Citizen Satisfaction Survey here.