Monday, December 7, 2015

City Staff anticipates 2 per cent increase to property taxes for 2016

As part of the final Regular Council session for 2015 tonight Prince Rupert City Council sill receive a financial update related to major projects and purchases ahead for 2016 as well as some other interesting asides from the Financial office, including the prospect of the need for a 2 percent increase to the mill rate on taxation when it comes to budget planning for 2016.

Two reports highlight the flow of information for the City's Council members tonight, the First from Corinne Bomben to the City Manager makes note of the 2016 Financial Plan Capital Works and Purchases.

With Ms Bomben noting that planning is underway to commence with a large waterworks project related to the city's water supply infrastructure set to get underway in 2016, with the construction of an access road to the Woodworth Dam and the lowering of the supply line below ground.

That project will be funded through a dividend from the Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated and the Build Canada Fund.

The Kaien Island dock for the Digby Island Airport Ferry will require repairs to maintain its flotation, with work expected to start early in 2016.

As well the community has a number of stacked rock retaining walls around the city that require rebuilds. 

With work also required  for the 2nd Avenue Bridge which will see bridge deck maintenance similar to that which took place on the 6th Avenue Bridge in 2014.

As well, the Fraser Street Project has now been put on hold for the time being due to the expected significant cost to complete the immediate needs of other capital repairs. According to the report, that project will remain partially completed until the utilities funds and General operations can provide the funds necessary to complete Phase 2.

The Second report from Ms. Bomben involved the Community Enhancement Grants process which we outlined here.  Of interest for city residents however is the analysis section from page 18 which notes the following:

It is expected that the city's 2016 Operating Fund Revenues will remain relatively the same compared to 2015. Cost pressures expected are: general inflation increases, benefit cost increases, energy cost increases and negotiated wage increases.

The last item of that list, marks the first real official indication of the settlement of contract negotiations between the City and its employees.

As we noted back in September, 2015 has been a year of contract negotiations across British Columbia, with most communities outlining the nature of their settlements and what impact those negotiations may have on civic finances.  Prince Rupert however, did not take that approach at disclosure it would seem, with no public notification or media release issued at the conclusion of those negotiations.

Instead, it seems that the first notification of the conclusion of negotiations between the City and its union, comes by way of a short notation in a report related to Community enhancement grants.

And even with Ms. Bomben's overview to Council for tonight, there is no mention of the nature of terms of that contract settlement included for review.

What the City's CFO does note however, is that in addition to the cost pressures listed, it is anticipated that the Property Tax Mill Rate will need to increase by approximately 2 per cent to cover capital needs for City operations as listed in her Financial Plan report to the City Manager.

You can review the two reports for Council from the Agenda package for tonight's Council session starting at page 15 and continuing through until page 20.

Council will have the opportunity to share some thoughts with the public on all of that as part of this evening's council session which starts at 7 PM.

For more items related to tonight's Council session see our Preview page here.

For more background on City Council developments see our Council archive page.


  1. Hi - upon successful negotiations all contracts are posted on the Labour Relations website. This is standard with all municipalities. Here is the link:

    1. Thanks for the link, though I still think the City should also publish information related to civic contracts and other financial issues of interest to the public.