From a smelly sewage-pumping station to streetlights, from bike paths to storm drains — the City’s public works department got requests for almost everything it does at Tuesday night’s budget session.
About 60 people drove through slippery, snowy streets to get to the Interior Savings Centre for the second of three public budget sessions — a bigger crowd than the 50 who attended last year’s utility budget meeting.
New department director Tracy Kyle noted that much of her department’s costs — water, sewer and garbage/recycling — are covered through fees rather than taxation.
Public works takes up 21 per cent of the City’s budget, but 12 per cent of tax dollars because the rest comes from those fees. The department has 200 employees working in water, environmental services, drainage, roads, streets, solid waste and capital works.
Frank Dwyer, a member of the Kamloops Voters Society who is a regular at budget meetings, questioned the City’s cost overruns for the Valleyview bike path and also asked about stepped up maintenance for storm catchbasins after last summer’s flooding.
Mayor Peter Milobar said the City has provided information about the project to anyone requesting it. It was put out in three phases and costs changed with each segment for various reasons. Council approved each of the costs and the project itself expanded as it went on.
City corporate affairs director David Duckworth (who was utilities director last summer when flash flooding hit town), said more work could be done on catchbasins if council approves a supplemental request for a hydrovac truck and two staff.
Several residents of Park Place pushed council to do something about the smells coming from the River Street pumping station near their complex.
Utility services manager Mike Firlotte said an odor bed would take the stench out of the air. It’s in the supplemental budget for $340,000 and could be done possibly by early 2014.
Steve Garner asked for even just one streetlight on Finlay Avenue. The dead-end street has none at all. Garner said he looked up plans and found the developer didn’t include them, and the City approved the plans despite the omission.
Sheila Park returned for the second year to request better snow removal downtown. She made the same request last year, and told the same story about a friend who broke her shoulder three years ago trying to clamber over a windrow.
Council will mull over the requests during a public meeting in chambers on March 12. There’s still one more public budget meeting slated for next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Interior Savings Centre — on tap are development services and safety services (RCMP, fire, bylaws).