Citizens interested in the state of Prince Rupert’s finances are encouraged to read the City’s recently released 2010 Annual Report and financial statements as a follow-up public information meeting on the reports will take place at the next council meeting on July 25.
At its June 27 meeting council approved the circulation of the reports. They are available on the City’s website or by paper copies at customer service in City Hall and at the Prince Rupert Library.
“It is the practice of school districts and municipalities to attach their financial statements and other required schedules to the annual report,” said the City’s Chief Financial Officer Dan Rodin.
Those required schedules include listing the remuneration and expenses of all elected officials, salaries and expenses for employees earning $75,000 or more, and payments of $25,000 and more by the City to all vendors.
In 2010, Mayor Jack Mussallem received remuneration and taxable benefits of $38,755, plus reimbursement of expenses worth $12,527. All six City Councillors received $12,026 for remuneration and taxable benefits, while Councillor Garon incurred the most expenses at $4,546 and Sheila Gordon-Payne the least expenses at $1,946.
Under the list of salaries over $75,000, City Manager Gordon Howie earned $144,368 in remuneration and taxable benefits and $17,188 in expenses, while Rodin came in second, earning $131,765 in remuneration and taxable benefits and $10,354 for expenses.
For goods and services over $25,000, the higher ticket items were $2,644,100 to the Receiver General for the RCMP contract, $1,163,778 to Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
Only Councillors Anna Ashley and Sheila Gordon-Payne made comments about the financial statements.
Councillor Ashley said she had concerns about wages going up and how many people are earning over $75,000.
“I know that one of the key issues is that we have an aging workforce, with members that have been around for a lot of years, and are at top of the pay scale. What I would like to see us do and perhaps deal with, is to have a discussion about what we can do with this. To look at what sort of policies we might be able do as a council to try and address the issues,” Councillor Ashley said.
She suggested things like early retirement incentives, looking at training of new employees to replace people as they retire, and seeking input from the existing workforce for ways of trying to plan for the future to maximize the benefits and cut costs.
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne wondered about the $272,740 paid to CityWest listed in the Schedule of Suppliers of Goods and Services.
“I’m wondering if there’s any chance for us to get any kind of break from our company. It would help with our dividend,” Councillor Gordon-Payne said, referring to the fact that CityWest was unable to pay a dividend to the City for 2010.
For 2011, the company has paid a dividend of $1,000,000 and Gordon-Payne said she was a bit reluctant to air it, but wanted to point out that a quarter of that is being paid back for goods and services.
Rodin told council the relationship between the City and CityWest is one of corporation and shareholder, but when it comes to transactions, they are at market rate.
“We charge them for servicing their vehicles and we charge the same rate that we charge internally. If we were to go below market then that would jeopardize the integrity of the current relationship we have, which is priced at market,” Rodin said.
Mayor Jack Mussallem responded perhaps Councillor Gordon-Payne was looking at having the City draw up some sort of contract.
City Manager Gordon Howie said staff would put together a report in response to her request.
“I raise it because I wondered if there’s any play room with it because it’s a significant bill,” Gordon-Payne said.