Thursday, April 16, 2015

Councillor Thorkelson's historical review: City of Prince Rupert faced potential Provincial trusteeship in 2005

Councillor Thorkelson captivated
Council on Monday with her review of
some financial issues of 2005
An interesting account of the dark financial days of 2005 was recounted for City Council on Monday evening, as Councillor Joy Thorkelson, speaking as part of the discussion on the current bylaw process for the city's statutory funds, provided a bit of a history lesson on financials for her fellow council members.

The Current Statutory Reserve bylaw under consideration identifies four funds that will require bylaw motions, they included

Ms. Thorkelson as one of the veteran members of city council, gathered the young newcomers around the Council campfire, telling of a ghost story of ten years ago, where the city's financial predicament was apparently so dire, that we were perhaps on the cusp of being taken over by the province.

As part of her review of the events of ten years ago, Councillor Thorkelson noted how the city had been required to use up Statutory Funds in 2005 in order to keep the city afloat.

Councillor Thorkelson used the background information on those tense times for the city, to counsel the council members to approach their current Statutory Reserve Funds process with caution.

"Well maybe at the end of a long meeting, maybe what we can do is  just pass this. But  I would like for one to be clear, I was in a council that was at the end of a council and had to eat all of it statutory funds and there were some funds in order to keep the city afloat.  I mean you have to realize that in 2005, that we were on the verge of going into, being taken over and put into trusteeship by provincial government. And so went and used up all of our reserve funds and I believe dipped into funds we were not allowed to use which were statutory funds." -- Councillor Thorkelson providing a history lesson for Council members on past financial issues of some importance and the consequences from them 

She further stated that it's important that Council by name have knowledge of which funds are required by the Province for the city have on hand, with Councillor Thorkelson providing some examples of areas where some funds could lock up money that the city could not access.

The story related to those events of 2005 makes for some rather fascinating  background on those times and no doubt is a tale that perhaps more than a few residents of the city were  not aware of.

Perhaps Councillor Thorkelson,with her past experience on Council could offer up more background regarding that period of time not only for Council members but for the city residents as well. Providing more details on those tension filled times and expanding on that glimpse as to how close the city came to trusteeship status and what impact that would have had on the city.

As well, she might be able to offer up some notes as to what lessons, if any council may have learned from those dire moments of a decade ago.

More on her talking points and some background on the Statutory Bylaw discussions that preceded her review can be found on our City Council Timeline feature here.

You can review her history lesson for Council as part of the City's Video Archive, it starts at the 2 hour mark

For more items related to City Council discussions, see our archive page here.

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