Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Legacy Fund won't be used for Fire Department purchase

City Council moved forward with a borrowing plan on Monday evening, putting in motion the process to seek a loan for the purchase of the City's new Fire apparatus vehicle, which as we outlined on the blog last week has now been received by the City.

Monday night, the City's CFO Corinne Bomben outlined the background of the decision from 2014, to take out the loan for $338,904 for the Truck, which is to be repaid over a period of five years. 

Following her presentation, Council reviewed the request for the authorization for the loan, but not before Council gave consideration to a request from Councillor Barry Cunningham over his concerns related to borrowing for the truck  and a suggestion to instead make use of the City's Legacy Fund to make the purchase.

Councillor Cunningham was on vacation this week and not in attendance at the Monday session, so his request was relayed by way of Councillor Thorkelson who outlined his concerns.

Though Councillor Thorkelson took time to distance herself from Mr. Cunningham's observations, noting that she was not in favour of using the Legacy Corp Funding for items such as this.

She outlined that in her opinion, that items such as equipment replacement should not be utilizing funds through Legacy Corporation, noting that at the moment there is rock bottom pricing for borrowing and that the City has always had a policy of borrowing over a time period for capital purchases.

As well, she noted that the City is not very heavily in debt, that at the moment the City is at the bottom end of borrowing in the province.

"I don't particularly want to whittle away the Legacy Fund for things that are, what I would just consider are the normal bread and butter of what a municipality should do. It's not because we have LNG that we're doing this, it's just normal business of the City and I don't think we should be looking at the Legacy Fund coming up with this money " -- Councillor Thorkelson providing her opinions on the nature of use of the Legacy Fund by the City

Councillor Kinney also spoke in favour of the borrowing plan for the Fire Department equipment, as opposed to using the Legacy funds for it.

The Mayor also offered up some thoughts on the issue of what sort of items or initiativies should or should not be used for Legacy Fund options.

"I agree with that  ... I think that there is a clear mandate for Legacy, we could get into a situation where we are always picking and choosing and I'm not sure we want to go down that road"-- Mayor Brain on the issue of Legacy Fund money for the Fire Department apparatus purchase.

You can review the discussion as it relates to the Fire Department purchase through the City's Video Archive, it runs from the nine minute mark until twelve and a half minute mark.

As we've outlined on the blog in recent months, the Legacy Corporation Funding has been used for a number of staffing position initiatives for the City, including such positions as a Resident Scientist, Communications Manager and a number of some of the other recently posted employment opportunities.

Council also made use of the Legacy funding when they chose to make Mayor Brain's position that of a full time occupation, topping up the Mayor's salary by 17,000 dollars per year, the funding for that increase accessed through the Planning for Major Projects Budget.

In its recent planning for Major Projects overview the city also moved 1 million dollars of funds from the Legacy Fund towards infrastructure items as outlined in their Spring update to Council.

For more items related to the Legacy Corporation see our archive page here, further background on City Council discussions can be found on our archive page.

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