FORT ST. JOHN, B.C- Council set its priorities for this year’s North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) meeting.

On Monday, Council approved the three issues including RCMP costs, NCLGA board representation, and BC Hydro universal net metering.

Council is suggesting that “the NCLGA and Union Of BC Municipalities (UBCM) lobby the Provincial Government to implement a police funding formula that fairly and equitably distributes RCMP expenses to all local governments throughout the Province”.

During a January 25th meeting, council discussed the lopsided cost-sharing between municipalities and rural areas for police services.

“The province has seen a single-digit increase in their policing costs over the last 10 years, and we’ve seen a little over double,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman. “It doesn’t matter if it’s regional policing or sticking with municipal police units, the reality is that the cost is not being borne equitably.”

According to the province, Municipalities, such as Fort St. john, with 15,000 people or more pay 90 per cent of the cost base described in the policing agreements. The federal government pays the remaining 10 per cent. Municipalities between 5,000 and 14,999 in population pay 70 per cent of RCMP costs while the federal government pays the remaining amount.

The City is also looking for better representation on the NCLGA board for large municipalities.

The 14-member board includes seven appointed representatives from each regional district to advocate for north-central local governments. The City believes larger municipalities have topics that small communities and regional districts are unfamiliar with.

The City is requesting “that the NCLGA Executive be asked to consider the board member composition be amended to better reflect the members and communities it represents”.

The City is also asking the board to lobby the provincial government to amend BC Hydro’s Net Metering Service and create a net metering virtual service.

“The BC Utilities Commission’s decision [last year] regarding BC Hydro’s request to change the net metering rate adversely affected those municipalities who have net metering generating facility since the rate was drastically reduced,” said the report.

As part of the decision, BC Hydro had to investigate the feasibility of changing their operations to single hydrometers linked to one account.

“This would result in local governments being able to transfer excess power to another meter’s consumption to reduce the expense paid to BC Hydro. Rather than being a suggestion for BC Hydro to consider, this administrative change should be a requirement that Hydro should do,” said the report.

The NCLGA Annual General Meeting and convention is taking place virtually on May 5th and 6th.