Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rewarding times at City Hall: Your tax dollars and where they went!

A sharp eyed reader of our blog tipped our attention to pages 42 to 43 of the Monday night agenda, which provided for the annual recitation of names and pay packets of those employees that make over the 75 thousand dollar a year threshold. Twenty two employees are your most likely targets for picking up the tab should you run into them in your local watering hole, making up over two million dollars in salary and collectively claiming an additional 50,000 dollars in expenses.

The remaining employees under the magic 75 thou and working at various civic tasks, received remuneration totalling just over 9 million dollars, bringing the city's budget for salaries to 11 million, one hundred and eleven and one hundred and seventy four dollars ($11,111,174.00)

The Mayor and council pay listings were found on page 41, breaking down the payroll and expenses for both current council members (all be it some for only a brief period of December) and those that served on the last council for the year ending December 2008.

Total expenditures in the pursuit of elected representation last year totaled $103,707 in salaries for the Mayor and council, while expenses came in at $47,925.

Jumping to Page forty three we find that it provides a list of those associations and societies which have received grants in the last year, a financial exchange that provided for $1,549.688 in funding.

The top five grant recipients were the Prince Rupert Library $500,000, Museum of Northern BC $316,850, Tourism Prince Rupert $169,237 (through hotel taxes), Lester Centre of the Arts $106,686 and rounding out the top five the Economic Development Commission at $96,000.

Local and out of town suppliers also benefited from the City's financial accounts, as payments to Suppliers provided for three pages of reading. Listings that highlighted that total expenditures for suppliers closed in on the twenty seven million dollar range, as the city spent $26,681,402 on various services, supplies and required contributions.

Highlighting those expenditures were $2,721,149 to the Receiver General c/o RCMP E Division, $1,883,568 in pension contributions to the Commissioner of Municipal Superannuation, Broadwater Industries was reimbursed for their efforts to the tune of $953,153, Manufacturers Life Insurance received $908,956 and the Northwest Regional Hospital District grabs the fifth spot at $694,627 .

Local business operators will be pouring over the list from pages 44 to 46, to see how they compare to their competitors in some sectors, that is providing they made it over the twenty five thousand dollar mark. Only those suppliers that reached that plateau were listed by name, all others were lumped in a general group of suppliers that received $9,548,671 of that $26,681,402.

The numbers tend to numb the brain after a while, but for those that want to get a better understanding as to what the city does with all of that tax money collected, it makes for an interesting primer, though many might wish for a further breakdown to better understand what it is we pay for on an annual basis.

The listings, deep, deep in a council agenda as they were, come just in time as we prepare to add that 3.8 percent tax increase to our tax bill due on July 2nd.
It won't make the payments any easier, but at least it gives us a guide as to where the money went, what it was used for in many cases will perhaps have to wait for another day.

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