GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL DEC. 17: Deal for Kettle Falls rail service struck

Rail service between Grand Forks, B.C. and Kettle Falls, Wash. will continue it was announced at Dec. 17’s Grand Forks city council meeting.

Rail service between Grand Forks, B.C. and Kettle Falls, Wash. will continue it was announced at Dec. 17’s Grand Forks city council meeting.

“OmniTRAX Inc. and BNSF Railway Company and the consortium of shippers have come to an agreement basically giving us some security in the railway for the next five years,” said Mayor Brian Taylor.

The companies, which include OmniTRAX (parent company of the Kettle Falls International Railway), BNSF, International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor), Pacific Abrasives & Supply Inc. and International Reload Systems, got together and completed a deal, which meant there was no stoppage in service, according to Taylor.

According to information provided by Taylor, the groups involved in the deal have committed to enabling “rail service to be provided on a schedule that is based on total carload volume being shipped on the line.”

The current schedule calls for service twice a week for all shippers.

“I think it’s been a success all the way around. I would like to thank Grace McGregor (Area C director) and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary for stepping forward and carrying this for the first part of the game but it was the city too that took a leadership role in defining the importance of this to our city,” the mayor went on to say. “I would congratulate council and city staff in the role we played in making this deal come through.”

There was speculation that the railway would be discontinued earlier.

More on this in a future issue of the Grand Forks Gazette.

City procedure of disposing of assets

Council adopted a policy relating to the proper disposal of tangible capital assets

Under the Asset Disposal Procedure Policy (Policy 805), city department managers would determine when the city’s assets had reached the end of useful life or are obsolete and will dispose of the assets while getting the most revenue while minimizing disposal costs.

The managers would then fill out a request form and forward to chief financial officer (CFO) Roxanne Shepherd, who would then decide with the manager what to do with the asset, sell at auction, trade in, sell by tender, recycle, destroy etc.

The form and CFO recommendations would then be forwarded to chief administrative officer (CAO) Doug Allin who would approve or give further instruction.

Shepherd would assist in co-ordination of asset disposal and the department manager would also prep the asset (removing city logos, destroying obsolete computer software and hardware properly) for disposal or sale.

People responsible for disposal of the asset would record date and certify disposal on the form and the completed form would once again be forwarded to Shepherd for record keeping.

“When we have an asset that’s reached the end of its useful life we can either dispose of it in several manners but it will be done in such a manner that everybody would have an opportunity to bid on it in a fair way, so if it ever was questioned, as part of good governance, we would want to have good council policy in place to allow it to be done properly,” Allin explained.

Coun. Bob Kendel proposed the motion, Coun. Gary Smith seconded and it carried.

Adoption of new purchasing policy

A policy regarding purchasing (Policy 802) was proposed and adopted at the council meeting as well.

“Basically, the purchasing policy covers a broad range of purchasing by both the front line staff and we’ve even defined it right down to working staff and whether they can spend $50 or $100 on something they need immediately,” explained Taylor.

Coun. Michael Wirischagin wondered about differences between the old policy and 802 and Allin elaborated.

“The key elements in the changes of this policy are, there are greater controls on the organization,” explained Allin. “The CAO will be responsible for securing purchases over the manager spending authority, so everything that’s identified in the financial plan will require the CAO sign off without each department head basically going and making a significant purchase without full consideration of the CAO to ensure those controls are in place.”

More on this in a future issue.