On Monday, Nov 28 at 7pm, Council will discuss the proposed modifications to the Financial Plan, presented at the most recent Council Meeting. As discussed in a previous SPN article, the proposed modifications increase spending by about $300K, and the funds coming from various surplus funds.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Corporate Services, going up $162,371: Financial Director Blackhall said this increase was to cover previously approved-by-Council costs, primarily the surveillance from Shadow West, the contract for the Interim Fire Chief, and the employment contract (possibly referencing the employment-deemed contractor agreement of the Director of Corporate Services?).
- New Parking Lot: $14,000
- Fire Services, going up $16,034
- Engineering, going up $51,349
- Planning, going up $14,313
- Common Spaces, going up $53,635
These additional costs have, according to what transpired at the last Council meeting, had already been approved and spent.
To offset these expenditures, there is over $300,000 being removed from Sewer Surplus funds and funds that were supposed to be put aside for development cost charges, or DCC’s. In addition, Revenues, sales and user fees were being increased by $70,000, a conditional grant saw a $38,500 injection, and building permits were expected to be up by $100,000.
Several of the elected officials observed that such a mid-term motion to modify the annual Financial Plan had never happened before in Sooke. According to Brent Blackhall, the financial director at the District, this a a realistic mid-term assessment of the movement of money within the District. Typically, a Financial Plan is produced as an annual guideline, and the year-end budget is a real accounting of where the money actually went.
Blackhall also made the point that the original bylaw presented in the Financial Plan was only the first page, the overview of money in and money out. From the BC government: “It is intended that backup documentation also be prepared to give as much detailed information as needed to the council or to the board and to the local government’s staff. This documentation would not form part of the bylaw, but it could be used to provide information to taxpayers and members of the public or as part of the financial plan consultation process.”
According to the Government of BC, “The financial plan provides the expenditure authority for the local government. Expenditures may not be incurred unless they are provided for in the financial plan for the current year.” Emergencies are an exception, and what constitutes an emergency is not defined. Any modification to the Financial Plan must undergo consultation with the public.
At the last Council meeting, the proposed changes received first, second and third reading by all who were present, except Councillor Brenda Parkinson who opposed. Councillors Kasper and Berger were absent.
The fourth and final reading happens on Monday, November 28 at 7pm. This is the public’s opportunity to provide input to Council.
- District plays Whack-a-Mole with the Financial Plan
- Council to consider many modification to the formerly approved Financial Plan
- November 14 Council Meeting takeaways
- District employees vs contractors, and too many shades of grey
- Letter: Sooke Resident calls for leadership
- Financial Plan, as per the Community Charter on the Government of BC website
- Community Charter, Part 6: Financial Management