Seven months into the year and according to the Port McNeill financial statements, the town is in good fiscal shape.
The year-to-date (YTD) financial summary for the period ending July 31 was presented to Port McNeill council at their Sept. 16 regular meeting. At that meeting, it was announced that thanks, in part, to a Forestry Partnership dividend of $707,945 from the Tri Port Community Forest, the Town’s finances are performing better than budgeted for.
The summary, which is available online at www.portmcneill.bc.ca, indicates that overall, revenues were ahead of budget and expenses were under budget. Departments going against that trend and with a combined over budget expenditure of $38,716 were: Governance, Corporate Admin, Campground, Solid Waste and Fiscal Expense. Despite that, savings throughout all other departments meant that overall total expenses for the town were nearly $8,000 less than expected.
There were some line-item discrepancies and questions with Coun. Derek Koel asking staff why a new pool cover, budgeted at $20,000 ended up costing $35,000. Staff was unable to provide Koel with an explanation, but promised to investigate and report back to council at the next meeting.
During the public question and answer period, one resident noted another issue and asked why CIBC bank charges (Fiscal Expense) were $15,000 higher than the previous year. Mayor and councillors were unable to provide specifics for this significant jump in charges, but felt it might be tied to credit card processing fees. They indicated a meeting with the bank was being planned and they’d be able to report in more detail following that meeting.
In other news, council voted in favour of applying for a BC Hydro grant to help support the town’s continued efforts to wrap BC Hydro boxes with decorative historical pictures. In previous years, BC Hydro offered to pay one-third of the cost, which for the five boxes completed last year, amounted to a contribution of $2,087. This year, BC Hydro has changed the grant to a flat rate of between $350 and $700, depending on the size of the box. The change will likely result in a grant reduction of approximately $340.
A motion to amend a bylaw that would allow council meetings to be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month instead of the current Monday schedule was given first reading. Councillors felt the extra day would allow them more time to review documents and better prepare for council meetings. The motion will include an opportunity for local residents to comment on the proposed change before final reading is given.
The next meeting of council will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 7. The meeting is open to the public and an opportunity to ask questions is available at the end of every meeting.
– Bill McQuarrie article