Increasing RCMP costs for new census
To prepare for the upcoming census’ results, the District of Vanderhoof will be raising the Police Reserve Fund limit and increasing the annual Police Reserve Tax.
The Canada Census will be conducted later this year and will provide an update on the population of Vanderhoof.
A municipality with a population of more than 5,000, under the Police Act, pays 70 per cent of policing costs.
According to the last census in 2011, Vanderhoof has a population of 4,480, and thus pays 25 per cent of the district’s policing costs, through a Police Tax, to the provincial government.
For the past years, as Vanderhoof’s population grew close to the 5,000 mark, a Police Reserve Tax has been collected annually from residents to be placed into the Police Reserve Fund, to soften the future impact on property taxes.
$300,000 of property tax is currently collected each year for police services, up to a limit of $900,000 in the reserve fund and excess would be moved to contribute towards capital projects.
The rates were set based on a projected cost of $100,000 per RCMP member, with 10 officers in the police force.
However, Vanderhoof’s police force has now increased to 11, and the cost for each RCMP member — set by the RCMP — is estimated to have increased as well.
Though Vanderhoof’s population may not reach 5,000 during this census — according to indicators such as building permits, new businesses, annual projections from the provincial government, and school district enrolment — it is a possibility at the next census in five years, in light of incoming industries such as mining, said CAO Tom Clement.
The increase allows the district to plan in advance for increased policing costs, whether it begins this year or in five years, he added.
The exact increased amount will be determined later, as council staff provides an estimate based on the policing costs of other northern communities.
Nechako Valley Secondary greenhouse project
The District of Vanderhoof is now a partner of NVSS’s “Living Classroom” project, allowing the school district to apply for funds in conducting a feasibility study for the project.
The facility, potentially including a green energy component — would enable the school to run agricultural-based curriculum— such as project-based learning for biology courses — as well as connect classes with farming and research opportunities in the region.
It’s a logical extension to the district’s current work with the Vanderhoof Community Garden, supporting education on local food and the 100-mile diet, as well as recognizing the role agriculture plays in the local economy, Clement said.
Tennis courts repair
The district council is looking into repairing Nechako Lakes school district’s tennis courts, currently located east of Vanderhoof’s curling rink on Stewart Street.
A local contractor has quoted about $600,000 to repair the courts with concrete, while an asphalt resurfacing is estimated by district public works staff to cost $112,000.
The school district’s proposed budget in 2013 included the tennis courts’ repair, but the amount was reallocated to fund NVSS’ new middle school wing.
According to a report prepared by the district’s operations staff, the courts’ many cracks, bumps, and mal-aligned net posts indicate the need for below-the-surface repairs.
The district will now reach out to Vanderhoof’s tennis players for input on their interest and demand.
– with files from the District of Vanderhoof