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Tax deficit impacts snow-removal procedures

A $3.6-million budget deficit (due to Celgar's non-payment of municipal taxes this year) has Castlegar Civic Works reconsidering how they handle matters like snow-removal.


In a report to council, city director of civic works Chris Barlow said, “During the 2008 budget year, the single largest source of overtime came from snow operations.”


He said the city already has a snow-and-ice-removal policy in place, and that crews currently remove snow and ice in excess of the guidelines set forth in said policy – the extra level of service generally resulting in overtime and increased expenditures.


He said adhering to the guidelines means responding to resident complaints differently – specifically, rather than sending crews willy-nilly to deal with complaints as they arise (often sending men and equipment back and forth across town and wasting both fuel and man hours, not to mention vehicular wear-and-tear), snow removal should be dealt with more strategically.


“If there is sufficient reason for crews to return to an area, staff will be compiling the complaints and dispatching a single piece of equipment to deal with the concerns once all regular routes are clear,” he said.


City councillor Russ Hearne said the whole thing is just common sense.
“We just voted to follow our own policy,” he said. “For the last few seasons, we've been deviating from this policy.


“We have no intention of reducing the level of service,” he added.