This is episode 7 (?) of my hopefully-regular pre-council list of what I think are going to be the most important three items on our Council agenda on Monday* in no particular order, so you can decide if you want to tune in.
#1: Queensborough Electrical Substation Loan Authorization Bylaws
We need to build a new substation in Queensborough. It has been in the long-term capital plan for the Electrical Utility for quite some time as load demand has been going up, and the fire on the Q’Bobo bridge last year that caused a protracted power outage in the neighbourhood demonstrated a surprising lack of resiliency in our grid over there. Substations are expensive, and we will need to borrow to pay for it (well, the Electrical Utility will need to borrow to pay for it, but we own the electrical utility), which will require a Bylaw and public approval.
#2: 2019 – 2023 Draft Financial Plan – Utilities
The budget process moves on, and it is time for us to talk about utility rates changes so the appropriate rate bylaws can be drafted. No surprise utility rates are going up, but once again the rates are increasing more than inflation for a variety of reasons. The water, sewer, and solid waste utilities operate somewhat separately from the City’s general revenue, and their increases are directly tied to the increasing cost of the service and the need to plan and finance infrastructure improvements. The Electrical Utility is a special case that makes us different than other cities, but it is still impacted by the increasing cost of wholesale electricity from BC Hydro. Expect a robust discussion here about efforts to keep utility rates in check.
#3: Testing out the new ones!
This is the first real Council Meeting for a couple of new Councillors, Chinu Das and Nadine Nakagawa. They have both been inaugurated and through a bit of orientation training, but nothing like budget deliberations to really turn the heat on them. Fortunately, they both have a tonne of experience working on boards and are pretty will versed on how Council works. I’m not expecting any strangeness, though there are still sometimes unexpected procedural hi-jinks even for us experienced types!
*footnote: The funny thing about Council: it is almost impossible to predict what three items will rise to the top and get the most debate/ public feedback / media coverage. These are only my guesses, and I am only one of seven. For a full prediction of the entire Council agenda, go to the agenda!