Uncollectable taxes written off

Council office

Council has agreed with its finance director that $498.31 in property taxes owed by the owner of a mobile home should be written off because they are uncollectable.

The amount dates back to 2020 for a mobile home that was subsequently destroyed by fire in April 2021, council learned in a memo from Jennifer Larson.

Twelve attempts to contact the property owner by mail failed because of incorrect addresses were used and it was only when staffers were planning to go to the address in question that they discovered the mobile home had burned down in 2021, she said.

In total, the District had calculated that $753.07 was owed but staffers then concluded that the amounts for 2021 and 2022 were assessed in error and should be removed.

“This leaves a balance of $498.31 from 2020 which should be written off as uncollectable as it is unlikely that the owner can be convinced to pay taxes on a home that no longer exists,” Larson’s memo stated.

“The cost of collection action wold be cost prohibitive and likely not successful at any rate,” she added.

The mobile home in question was located at the Shady Rest RV Park on 3960 Drive In Road.

With council now giving its approval, a request will be made to the provincial municipal affairs ministry for the minister to issue an official order.

Council members could take to the road

With COVID-related guidance on travel now significantly relaxed, council members are once more being asked to contemplate out of town trips to attend conferences for municipal matters.

Staffers on Dec. 6 asked council for preferences what conferences to attend.

But with just four of six councillors in attendance that meeting, the matter was put off until a full council could respond.

Council travel ground to a halt in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, when $76,700 was budgeted for conference attendance but largely unspent.

Last year, council attendance was in a virtual fashion with $10,999 being expended.

Staffers have prepared a list of eight conferences for council consideration, beginning with a provincial natural resources forum taking place in Prince George from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19, 2023.

Development variance permit granted

DH Manufacturing has been given approval to expand its building closer to the property line than otherwise permitted.

Located adjacent to the Canfor property, the current setback is 15 metres from the property line but the variance will allow a building addition to within one metre of the property line.

DH wants the extra space along its southern property line to add an auto finger jointer machine.

“The addition to the building is well-designed and will provide a significant improvement to the property,” wrote District of Houston contract planner Amy Wainwright.

“No concerns were raised from the referrals, and no input has been received resulting from the notification of neighbours.”

District hopes to hire intern

Another in a long line of administrative interns could be headed to the District of Houston if an application for money is successful.

Council has approved spending $18,000 provided an application for $50,000 submitted to the Northern Development Initiative Trust is successful.

If successful, the District would hire a university graduate for one year beginning May 2023 to provide that person with experience in local government matters.

The internment program has been offered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust for years now as a way of ensuring there is a supply of people experienced in local government administration available to work in the north.

The program has proved successful for the District of Houston with current chief administrative officer Michael Dewar having started his career as an intern as did his predecessor, Gerald Pinchbeck.

Current corporate affairs officer Madelaine Swift was also an intern as was her predecessor, Holly Brown.