In the 1960s and ’70s, local governments were managed and organized differently.
It was common for municipalities to be organized with a clerk and treasurer, and be governed through council committees.
By the time the Local Government Act replaced the former Municipal Act, the management of local government had fundamentally changed, evolving into a modern, professionally managed organization.
The city manager or chief administrative officer was introduced into the legislation, while statutory positions such as corporate officer and financial officer were clarified and strengthened.
One of the products of these changes was that many municipalities restructured themselves to better reflect the newer management and operating parameters embodied in the legislation.
With these changes to the legislation came a continual growth in the responsibilities being downloaded to local governments. Since the early ’90s, these have included the preparation of and reporting of, and/or compliance with the following:
• Statement of financial information;
• Annual municipal report;
• Five year financial plan;
• Five year capital plan;
• Changes to the annual financial statement;
• Tangible capital asset reporting;
• Development cost charge analysis and reporting;
• Capital asset amortization;
• Tax rate bylaw reporting;
• Local government data entry financial reporting;
• Gas tax revenue reporting;
• Community grant reporting;
• Official community plan and green agenda requirements;
• Annual borrowing bylaws;
• Planning and bylaw enforcement;
• Municipal Finance Authority reporting
• Implementation of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act legislation and the system to support it;
• Increased requirement for public notifications regarding disposition of public land, the granting of permissive tax exemptions, development variances and development permits;
• Emergency program development;
• Water sampling;
• Conditions of water system permit (source protection);
• Climate Action Charter and the duty to reduce carbon footprints;
• Standards for roadside mowing has been reduced for the province;
• Building code changes;
• Cemetery services;
• Removal of bylaw contravention cases from the courts to local government/bylaw officer prosecution;
Sicamous in particular has seen an increase of services:
• New sewer system from five to 15 lift stations;
• Litter pick-up on highway;
• Roads maintenance with new subdivisions
• Significant planning, development permits, and DVPs;
• Roadside mowing (24 days a year) which used to be a provincial responsibility;
• Address and title changes;
• Utilities (new sewer connections, installing a water meter – this is a very large job);
•Bank statements and journal entries;
• Accounts payable;
• Recreation and wellness;
• Human resource issues;
• Water, from one reservoir to two, from one pumphouse to four;
• Increase of committees;
• Social media;
• Storm water control – surface/ditches;
• Groundwater control relative to flood levels impacting treatment plant;
• Backflow prevention;
• Cross connections;
• Official community plan amendment and development permit requirements;
• Greater use of development agreements between district and developers;
• Bylaw rewrites;
• Zoning amendments;
• Spring clean-up;
• Collective agreement negotiations.
• Dock maintenance/repair;
• Traffic sign maintenance/repair.
Staff are still dealing with the flood of 2012.
The District of Sicamous staff is a team, and while certain functions fall under certain departments, everything is accomplished through a team effort and overlapping of all departments.
The faces of our team will be changing soon as we lose some staff to other local governments, while others are planning to enjoy retirement.
In my next article I will discuss some of the staffing changes and introduce the community to our team.
Submitted by Mayor Darrell Trouton