Merritt city council unanimously agreed to commit $500 to the Air Quality Committee to update its Merritt Air Quality Management Plan at the regular meeting on May 13.

The plan was written in 2007 and makes reference to a number of things in the community which are now out of date, Coun. Dave Baker told council.

Baker, who sits on the committee, said the group has spent the last several months going through the plan to update it.

“It talks about the burner at Tolko extensively. Well, that’s long gone. There’s quite a few references to Ardew — long gone,” he said. “The graphs that are in there, although they’re very good, they’re very technical. We’ve asked the Ministry of Environment to change the graphs a little bit to make them more readable for the average person, like myself.”

Council has $10,000 in its 2014 budget set aside for air quality.

The committee is also seeking a new member.

Five-year financial plan passes

Merritt’s five-year financial plan was approved unanimously at the regular council meeting on May 13.

The plan includes a two per cent property tax increase for 2014.

About $3 million is set aside in the plan to help fix existing infrastructure, including sewerline and waterline replacement and asphalt rehabilitation.

Another capital project outlined in the plan is the lacrosse box and washroom upgrade to Central Park, which comes in around the $728,000 mark.

The city faces about $30,000 more in electricity costs following a nine-per-cent hike in BC Hydro rates that took effect April 1.

BC Transit agreement solidified

The annual operating agreement between the city, the Nicola Valley Transportation Society and BC Transit for bus service in the Nicola Valley was renewed at the regular council meeting on May 13.

In its 2014 budget, city council agreed to commit about $116,000 to the transit service, which serves Merritt and outlying areas, and is operated by the Nicola Valley Transportation Society.

About 60,000 people rode the bus last year, according to BC Transit statistics given to council from transit operators.

Coun. Kurt Christopherson called the number of riders “remarkable,” while Coun. Mike Goetz said the ridership number proves the service is needed and well-used, and bodes well for future expansion or improvements to the service.

Transit has operated in the Nicola Valley since 2007.