Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Port PILT payment reduction and Airport Ferry costs take the spotlight in City Report tonight

The City's Financial Officer will deliver the monthly number crunching tonight, as Corinne Bomben updates City Council on the ongoing status of the municipal budget for the year, with tonight's focus on the monthly numbers of July.

In her report, Ms. Bomben will address a couple of items related to the City's Airport Ferry operations, with the CFO noting that the city is making more money on the crossing between Fairview and Digby Island.

Compared to 2014 the city's revenue stream from the Airport ferry has increased by 121,000 dollars, an increase derived chiefly from the increase of fees of 4 dollars for the transport of passengers to the Prince Rupert Airport.

The cost of the Airport Ferry refit
came in a bit more
than anticipated this year
(photo from City of PR Annual Rpt)
However, while they're making more money from the Airport Ferry this year, the cost of the recent refit in Ketchikan Alaska came in a little bit more than previously anticipated.

With the final cost of the refit process now listed at 579,083 dollars, compared to the budgeted amount of $500,000.

The two contributing factors towards that overage have been described as exchange rate fluctuations during the refit period and an increased cost of rental for the alternative barge service which was required for a longer period of time than anticipated.

The Airport Ferry isn't the only Capital purchase that came in a bit over the budgeted amount, in the documents included in tonight's presentation, Council members may notice that Fire Protection costs have increased by 16,667 than previously budgeted.

Other notes that Ms. Bomben will outline for Council tonight include the continued decline in 911 revenues, as Prince Rupert residents seemingly abandon their landlines for cellular phone service.

That has been an ongoing issue for the City, which at this time, continues to leave the city with no ability to collect the 911 levy on cel phone users.

Transit revenues also declined in the last year, with the Transit service receiving 8,000 dollars less than 2014, a reduced amount that the city is attributing to a drop in both cash rides and the sale of monthly adult passes.

The PILT Payment from the Port of
Prince Rupert will be less than the City
originally had budgeted for this year
(photo from Port of PR website)
The City's CFO will also provide some background on the final numbers related to the Prince Rupert Port Authority's 2015 Payment in Lieu of Taxes payment.

As Ms. Bomben notes in her report to council, based on applicable mill rates and assessment levels the City had notified the Port of a required payment amount of $1,500,000, an amount that was approved as part of the 2015 budget.

However, once the process of the PILT payment mechanism was complete, in the end the Port's payment to the city only amounted to $1,362,000. 

That reduced amount will leave the City with a $138,000 budget shortfall from its original projections.

You can review the full report as part of tonight's Agenda Package here. The Financial review can be found from pages 45 to 50.

For more items related to this evening's Council session see our preview page here.

Further background on City Council discussions can be found on our archive page.

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