Friday, July 14, 2017

Legacy Inc. breakdown shows increase for salaries, reductions in other areas

A new entry to the rather sparse findings of the Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated webpage, has offered up the first opportunity for Prince Rupert residents to get a comparison glimpse of City council's handling of their financial instrument.

Now in its third year of operation, Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated was set up in 2014 and as the information release for  2016 notes was created for the following use:

The Fund set up to maximize benefit to the City and the community - When a municipality sells land, the proceeds go to a land reserve to buy more land or items of a capital nature (Community Charter Section 188 (e)). PRLI was created to enable previously owned City land to be sold without the reserve restriction.

The most prominent feature of Prince Rupert Legacy to date, was the injection of cash for the city through lease options for Exxon on the parcel of land known as Lot 444.

More recently the use of the Legacy initiative received some public attention in June, when the city indicated its plans to dispose of some property on Watson Island.

One of the initiatives related to the Legacy Corporation process comes through the interest shown by Pembina Energy for a propane export terminal at the Watson Island Industrial site.

Land options for Watson Island are one
of the areas that the use of the
Prince Rupert Legacy Corp.
is being put towards
For the most part, we don't hear much from Council about Legacy Incorporated or how they use their financial resources.

The workings of Legacy rarely come up for discussion at Council sessions and there has yet to be any any form of expansive review from the Board of Directors (all city of Prince Rupert staff members) to share some the achievements of the Legacy initiative, or how the money that is there is being used.

Such a forum would provide City Council members the opportunity to host a public presentation, one that might allow for the city's elected officials to ask a few questions on behalf of the residents of the city, who in effect are the company shareholders.

In lieu of that kind of public oversight on a civic instrument, the city is offering a short synopsis of notes from 2016 that they wish to share regarding the Legacy Fund.

Kind of a Cole's Notes of information sharing, listed as the Prince Rupert Legacy Fund Financial report.

In what for the most part is more of an infographic posted to the City of Prince Rupert website, the latest report indicates that a significant portion of the funding through planning for major projects continues to be used towards staffing levels for a number of positions, as well as the top up on the annual salary for Mayor Lee Brain, that additional boost is listed as $17,000 for 2016, which is up slightly from the 2015 numbers.

Including the Mayoralty top up, the total allocation of Legacy Fund monies towards those civic staffing initiatives for 2016 is listed as $344,561 which is an increase from the 2015 level of $262,620.

Neither financial disclosure offers a breakdown as to how that money has been distributed, or how many positions have been created as a result of that use of the Legacy Fund. 

As we noted on the blog last month, the City's Statement of Financial Information report has highlighted the increasing growth for the city's work force and some of that increase to staffing levels and the salaries that go with the jobs has been assisted through the Legacy Fund process.

Another element of the online presentation is a look at some of the spending on infrastructure and capital projects through Legacy funding, and for 2016 City Council appears to have chosen to scale back some of their expenditures over the last year.

For 2016 the Report notes that $800,000 was provided from the Legacy mechanism for three major projects.

The Second Avenue Bridge - $300,000
Sidewalks - $250,000
Shawatlans Pump House - $250,000

By comparison, in 2015 the city used Legacy to provide close to one million dollars in funding for capital projects.

The infographic also continues to put a focus on the once hyper active LNG speculation in the community, noting that there are five major LNG facilities proposed in and around Prince Rupert, which is where the need for additional staff and resources for longer term planning is apparently directed. 

Though it should also be noted, that as it stands at the moment, only two of the many proposals once suggested for the North Coast seem to have provided for any forward momentum. 

The information piece continues with the ongoing theme from Council of planning for major projects and the spending directed towards it, that includes the $344,561 salary initiative, as well as work on major projects which is listed at $174,850 for 2016

That 174 thousand dollar portion of the funding was directed towards three main areas as part of the planning for Major Projects initiatives, the work of ReDesign Rupert, a Land Base Indicator Study and travel costs incurred related to Major Projects.

Not indicated in the infographic however is a break down that lists as to how much was directed toward each element and how it was used, or whether the travel costs related to the major projects initiatives delivered any results for the community.

Comparing the two reports over the last 24 months, the total spending of $519,000 on planning for major projects from 2016 is down by $370,000 from the 2015 numbers.

While the information release notes that Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated is subject to yearly audits, no background information related to the 2016 audit is included in the presentation listed as a Financial Report.

To date, the most recent audited financial statement for Prince Rupert Legacy Incorporated is one from 2015, posted to the annual reports section of the City's Financial Department portion of the civic website.

The snapshots for both 2015 and 2016 are posted to the city's website and can be reviewed here.

For further notes related to items of interest from Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

As well, we track items of note related to the Prince Rupert Legacy Corporation here.

Note: additional information was added from the original post (paragraph three), to further epxlain the city's use of the Legacy fund.

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