Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem wants the Skeena — Queen Charlotte Regional District (SQCRD) to show city council just how their money is spent.
Taxpayers from the City of Prince Rupert will be providing an estimated $252,425 to the regional district in 2014, a figure which accounts for 74.25 per cent of the total administration budget off SQCRD. Mussallem said he wants to see if the city is getting what they pay for.
“The request is that the City of Prince Rupert ask the Skeena — Queen Charlotte Regional District to implement the tracking of staff time for a six month period to actually determine where the regional district staff time is spent. The results could be considered during next year’s budget and adjustments could be made to the appropriate individual budgets for each service and function the regional district provides,” he said.
“We are aware that some of the smaller, unincorporated communities are requiring a lot more time.”
One of the issues Mussallem raised is that, despite providing almost three-quarters of the administration budget, those from outside of Prince Rupert can control what projects or expenditures do or don’t proceed.
“I wouldn’t bring it up unless I felt it was necessary. I hear stories that even though the City of Prince Rupert has a weighted vote on financial matters at the table, that our members get outvoted,” he said.
“If we want some redress, if we want to save some money, I see this as a simple way to see who is requiring the most administrative time down there and whether there should be adjustments made to save … us as a council and residents of Prince Rupert taxpayer money.”
But Coun. Anna Ashley, who sits on the SQCRD board, said council should hear from the regional district before asking them to do anything.
“Maybe something that could be considered is to get a presentation from someone at the regional district to tell us what is going on now and then we’d have a better idea of if it is necessary,” she said, noting the request may be redundant.
“I know they have done some of that tracking of time … they have done that and there has been changes done.”