Coldstream spending draws scrutiny

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick (right) presents the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting to Trevor Seibel, director of financial administration. - Jennifer Smith/Morning Star
Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick (right) presents the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting to Trevor Seibel, director of financial administration.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Coldstream is defending its spending.

A local resident has accused the district of inappropriately using federal gas tax funding.

Coldstream is putting some of its gas tax dollars towards in-floor radiant heating when the new mechanics shop is built.

“Gas tax funds are supposed to be directed towards cleaner air, cleaner water and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Coldstream watchdog John Hegler.

“You could be penalized and have your funds withdrawn.”

But Coldstream officials insist that the use of funds fits the criteria.

“It (in-floor heating) reduces the greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a more efficient type of heating,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

Still, Hegler argues the funds could be better spent. He suggested Coldstream pooling its gas tax funding with Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan to put towards Duteau Creek water improvements.

Financial reporting awarded

Coldstream is being recognized nationally for its financial reporting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded a Canadian Award for Financial Reporting to the District of Coldstream for its 2010 annual financial report.

The award was presented to Coldstream’s director of financial administration, Trevor Seibel. It is the first time Coldstream has earned the award.

“Coldstream council would like to recognize Trevor Seibel for his outstanding work in achieving this award for the district,” said Mayor Jim Garlick. “We fully support Trevor in his efforts to better inform the public on our financial position and the operations of the district.”

In order to be awarded a Canadian Award for Financial Reporting, a government unit must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized annual financial report, the contents of which conform to program standards.

“Its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by government,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, adding that it also motivates potential user groups to read it.

Such reports should go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles and demonstrate an effort to clearly communicate the municipal government’s financial picture, enhance an understanding of financial reporting by municipal governments, and address user needs.

Produce peddling

Coldstream farmers are gaining more freedom to advertise their wares.

The district is allowing rural properties to place a maximum of three signs throughout Coldstream to advertise the sale of their produce.

Pat White, owner of White’s Tree Farm, appreciates the support considering how important directional signs are to farmers.

“How do people really find a rural property unless one can put up a few signs to direct the public?”

A new bylaw, which is the process of being adopted, is intended to assist local farmers selling agricultural products.



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