Reprint from latest Coast Watch in the Local, November 10, 2011:
In their elected role, the Sunshine Coast Regional District directors monitor the budgets for drinking water, solid waste programs, hospital, fire departments, recreational centers, Emergency 911 services, sustainability programs, regional parks, and walking paths. Within these major areas, there are over 100 other smaller functions, such as recycling, which is a sub-function of solid waste management. The regional areas, A, B, D, E, and F, are in these budget functions but could also be in a function for their area only. For example, the Roberts Creek Fire Department is funded by the taxpayers in that area only. The regional district budgets are controlled by a silo system, which means tax funding for parks can only be used for parks, while and another function, such as water, must have its own budget. A director must understand the funding of each function in order to make an informed decision on the budget. This means a director must attend each meeting going into the budget process and listen to the work plans and proposed budget changes by each department. This budget process takes about four months each year and the bylaw for the SCRD budget must be passed by March 31. Regional District budgets cannot run a deficit.
An effective understanding of the budget process is only gained by reading all of the material produced, as well as the bylaws associated with each department. A director cannot change any of these budgets without the support of a majority of the other directors. This means that no director can put an individual project or initiative forward without support from the board
There are several areas or concerns that are not part of the Regional District’s mandate: fishing (fish farms, fish ladders, and fish hatcheries); forestry (logging, forestry roads, operations, and policies); highways and roads (ditches, potholes, and snow clearing); coastal waters (Georgia Strait, Sechelt Inlet, and Howe Sound); mining (mining claim process and environmental assessments); independent power projects (planning, construction, and environmental assessment of IPPs); and subdivision applications (responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation).
The regional director might monitor the above and lobby the federal and provincial government for changes in policy or to address local constituents’ concerns.
There are situations where the people of the Sunshine Coast request support on issues such as affordable housing, tourism, economic development, arts and culture, and youth programs; if the whole board agrees, the SCRD will fund these programs. Whenever something comes forward that might not fit into provincially legislated SCRD functions, a legal process to make a change must be followed.
Please feel free to contact me either by email or phone on any issue. Cell: 604-741-7729 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check my website at www.garrynohr.blogspot.com