District Core Services Review Position
On September 17, the Chamber President presented the Chamber's position on the District Core Services Review report to Mayor & Council. The presentation highlighted the letter sent to Council supporting six report recommendation and focused on three key areas the Chamber has been advocating for many years. These included end of life costing for infrastructure, one stop and online service delivery, and a communications strategy.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BRIEFING DOCUMENT
Inter-Municipal Mobile Business Licence
On behalf of the Board of Directors and members of the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce we are submitting this briefing document regarding the introduction of a mobile business licence.
To promote the success of the small business sector and reduce barriers to doing business in communities across BC, local governments, chambers of commerce, the provincial government and other key stakeholders, including the Small Business Roundtable, fully support the expansion of existing, and the introduction of new, Mobile Business Licence Agreements in British Columbia.
What is a Mobile Business Licence?
What are the benefits of a Mobile Business Licence?
· For Local Governments: increases licensing compliance, reduces business licence application processing, improves information flow among local governments and increases ability to monitor compliance.
· For Businesses: saves time and money by purchasing one Mobile Business Licence instead of multiple non-resident permits, reduces administrative burden, and allows businesses to operate where their services are needed.
· For Residents: increases choice in service providers
Letters of Support
District of Mission 0% 2012 Budget
Mission Chamber Satisfied that District’s 0% Budget will not Negatively Impact Services
Representing over 450 businesses, the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce is diligent in assessing the value of services provided by the District of Mission against taxes levied. Reviewing the proposed District of Mission 2012 budget, the Chamber is pleased that a 0% increase to municipal property taxes has been achieved. Where it is recognized that reductions will occur, the Chamber is satisfied that this budget will not present a change in service or hinder the District’s ability to provide fiscal responsibility.
At the public forum on March 15, Chamber President Elect Elyssa Lockhart posed the following questions concerning reductions proposed in the draft budget. Key areas of focus included the hiring freeze, the removal of the provision for inflation and the reductions in policing costs.
Q. Is there an intention to not fill open human resource vacancies?
A. There is an intention to not fill vacancies at this time as we await the outcome of the Core Services Review. We will address vacancies that will significantly impact the operation though.
Q. If so, what is the cost to revenue collection? (i.e. bylaw officer)
A. At this time we have not done a business plan to fill any vacant positions, however, once a position is planned to be filled the revenue source will need to be identified.
Q. What positions will not be filled? Will they diminish the ability to provide service or be able to maintain expected levels of service?
A. The vacant positions are in Building, Engineering, RCMP and Recreation at this time. Specific roles are not cited as there may need to be adjustments to ensure operational efficiency.
Q. How has inflation been reflected in this budget?
A. A blanket adjustment for inflation has not been provided to departments within the 2012 operating budget. Local government expenditures are subject to inflation; however, the “basket of goods” that local governments purchase is different than those used to calculate the general consumer price index (CPI). As such CPI is not necessarily the best gauge of cost increase pressures for local governments. The District does provide for cost increases in specific areas, such as hydro rates, separate and apart from general inflationary increases. Capital budgets have been adjusted for inflation.
Q. With the removal of the provision for inflation, what will be implication on the 2013 budget?
A. While general blanket inflation has not been provided for within the 2012 operating budget the current draft 2013 budget does include provision for inflation. 2013 capital budgets will also be adjusted for inflation. As such, the fact that the District is not providing for general operating inflation in 2012 is expected to have minimal impact on the 2013 budget.
Q. What is the long-term implication of reducing the capital contribution?
A. The reduced capital contribution is expected to have minimal long-term impact, as the District is still increasing the capital contribution in 2012 and has been incrementally increasing the contribution over the past few years.
Q. Given the permanent reduction in RCMP officers, what will be the impact to the service provided?
A. There are no permanent reductions in members. The savings should be realized through the typical vacancy pattern through transfers, maternity/paternity leave, and sick time.
Q. Are provisions for access to police service being initiated to offset reduced front counter service?
A. The general public have access to police services 24 hours a day. All emergency calls continue to be actioned by calling 911. For those non-emergency requests for services such as fingerprinting, criminal record checks, etc. the general public are able to attend the Detachment 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday. Should someone attend the Detachment after hours they are able to speak to a dispatcher who can channel their request to an officer or take their complaint over the phone.
Q. How has the reduction in integrated teams been achieved?
A. The reduction in costs for integrated teams was negotiated through the new contract between the Province and the RCMP and will take effect April 1, 2012.
Maintenance of the Fraser River
Mission has utilized the Fraser River to distribute and transport its resources and goods to market since its amalgamation. Dyking the Fraser in the 1800’s allowed local agriculture and the communities on the banks of the river to thrive and grow producing the bulk of agriculture from BC and a driver of its economy.
Members of the MRCC have submitted that lack of maintenance of the Fraser River both for flood management and navigation have created heighted risk and limited use of the river that we have harnessed. It has become imperative that the river needs to be maintained.
In 2007, Mission narrowly missed being flooded by the rising freshet. Impact of that event would have affected the industrial parks and shopping areas and would have disrupted transportation routes to the south, east and west. Due to siltation and lack of maintenance of a main navigation channel, resources that historically have been moved to market via the river now must be trucked through Mission’s downtown. One log boom is equivalent to 50-80 logging trucks. The river is no longer navigable east of Mission for 6-8 months of the year. It is also impacting our tourism industry as both fishing charters and tour boat operators are not able to traverse the shallow waters which can be as low as 15” in some areas.
Looking forward without a navigable Fraser, Mission’s opportunity to leverage industrial River access in a shrinking market, developable River waterfront and growth towards to short sea shipping opportunities will be negligible.
In 1998 the federal and provincial governments stepped away from the maintenance of the River and downloaded responsibility to the municipalities and dyking authorities for maintenance of the flood protection systems; however, they maintained authority over allowing any work to be done. The outcome is a series of bureaucratic processes that take more than two years to complete and if approval is given, windows of work are usually limited to time of freshet when the River is unworkable. Often these works are limited to small areas. Flood control work that was allowed at Tramer bar to alleviate flood risk downstream has been suspended by the Province this fall.
The Fraser is the backbone of the Province, the mouth of the Asia Gateway and a competitive economic edge for Mission.