Telkwa bylaw creates stir

Erroneous report claims increased property taxes for Telkwa residents

A few Telkwa residents were up in arms last week after it was reported  that the village was attempting to pass a bylaw that would allow council to borrow $200,000 to meet expenditures on the Hankin Ave. building renovation, and that repayment would come from increased property taxes.

Not true, Village of Telkwa councillor Rimas Zitkauskas said.

“There are times, where we are incurring expenditures because of a grant we have received,” he said, in reference to the $644,000 Municipal Green Fund grant the village was awarded to renovate the Hankin Ave. corner building.

“But we haven’t gotten a penny of that money yet and because we won’t receive the money until after the project is complete, we have to use our reserve fund.

“The money would be used to cover the temporary depletion of the reserves for cash flow purposes.”

Put in simpler terms, Zitkauskas compared the bylaw to personal chequing and saving accounts.

“If a person has a chequing and a savings account, they normally won’t touch the savings account.

“But let’s say your boss says your paycheque is going to be two days late, well you might have to use your savings and then pay it back when the paycheque arrives.”

The $200,000 reserve bylaw was a precautionary measure, to cover the village if the grant money doesn’t arrive by the time the reserve fund runs out.

With the building nearing completion, Zitkauskas says he expects the money from the grant by the end of March and, if the money is received by then, the village will not need to use the $200,000. Zitkauskas also said the project has not suffered any cost overruns.

“This bylaw has no impact on what we spent or didn’t spend on the building. It doesn’t increase the planned budget.”

Once the grant money is received, it will be returned to the reserve fund in order to replenish it to pre-renovation levels, Zitkauskas said.

The Hankin Ave. building currently houses the village offices. It was retrofitted with a district, wood burning heating system and two new commercial spaces as part of a federal green fund grant.



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