Council shoots down 2.25 per cent mill rate increase

Prince Rupert city council still moving forward with a 1.5 per cent increase to the mill rate, final adoption still to come in April

In a special regular council session on Monday, April 11, Prince Rupert mayor and council shot down a recommended 2.25 per cent increase to the mill rate for property taxpayers for 2017.

Citing a need to budget an extra $100,000 for snow and ice control for November/December 2017, city chief financial officer Corinne Bomben wrote in her report to council that “The financial implications of Mother Nature became clear in the latter part of March resulting in a need to increase the 2017 budget figures.”

That extra $100,000 (and additional 0.75 per cent increase to the mill rate) was rejected by council. It was the second recommended increase coming from staff for the 2017 budget bylaw, after an original 1.5 per cent increase was recommended in March. Council then moved forward with the original 1.5 per cent raise to the rate and will consider final adoption of the budget later this month.

This past March, record snowfalls had city staff working full time on snow and ice control and delayed other springtime duties until after the roads and sidewalks were clear. Pothole maintenance is now a priority after the cold weather and moisture ravaged city roads.

The city’s finance department will propose to council a reserve fund in the future to address similar harsher than normal winters or unusual weather events that has the city’s operations department working on seasonal duties long past traditional seasonal periods or its budget allotments.The next scheduled regular council meeting is set for Monday, April 24, 2017