Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The cost of Regional Governance continues to be one steeped in red ink.

The Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District which in recent times has been steeped in personnel drama, presented its financial statement for review last week, a document which shows that Regional District has ended up with a 200,000 dollar deficit as opposed to the 700,000 dollar surplus that the budget at one time suggested.

A costly reversal of fortunes that already seems to have had some fall out with the reduction of hours pending at the Prince Rupert recylcing centre, a decision which will see hours shortened starting in October as that location strives to eliminate 24,000 dollars from its financial problems.

But that may be but a drop in the bucket compared to the rather extensive costs found on Haida Gwaii, where the QCI Observer reports Regional District contributed some 1.2 million dollars to operate the Islands landfill site a sizeable amount more than had been expected.

The Regional District recently expanded its organizational staffing component, a move which District members felt may have been urgently required required,  but a move which certainly didn't come at a time when financially all is well in the region.

Regional District is for the most part a rather forgotten form of government on the North coast, a mystery group for many which rarely garners the attention that the various city and town council's do, though with some serious financial concerns on their plate perhaps a bit more attention should be made due.

With the forced requirement for reduced hours of popular operations and ever rising taxes, the call once again to disband the additional layer of government, or at least approach the provincial government for a more workable solution to its problems could become a popular topic both on the Islands and on the North coast.

The QCI Observer offers up a rather informative review of the recent financial statement release as well as a breakdown on the salary and expense declarations of the Island's members

Regional District down $200,000 
QCI Observer 
Monday, June 7, 2010 

The Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District finished 2009 with a $200,000 deficit instead of the $700,000 surplus it had budgeted for, according to audited financial statements presented at the last board meeting May 28 in Prince Rupert.

Much of the shortfall was due to the islands garbage system, which cost almost $1.2-million to run last year, substantially more than expected. The regional district also spent more than it had budgeted for administration, and slightly more than expected on the Sandspit water system.

The shortfall came even as the regional district increased its revenues, hiking the total amount of tax it collected from property owners by an overall 15 percent (taxpayers were affected differently by this increase, depending on where they live and how much their property assessment changed).

The 10 directors on the regional district board collected a total of $142,000 in remuneration during 2009, up from $123,000 the year before, according to the regional district's statement of financial information, an annual report which was also presented at the May 28 meeting. They spent less on travel however: $32,000 in 2009, compared to $56,000 in 2008.

Masset mayor Barry Pages, the chair of the regional district, received $15,569 in remuneration and was reimbursed for $5,500 in expenses. Port Clements mayor Cory Delves received $9,678 in remuneration and $2,818 in expenses and Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha received $9,828 in remuneration and $2,918 in expenses.

The area directors are paid a bit more than the regular directors, who also receive remuneration from their own municipalities. Area D director Brad Setso received $11,328 plus expenses of $3,794. Area E director Travis Glasman, who resigned halfway through 2009, received $5,889 plus expenses of $1,928. The new Area E director, Evan Putterill, who served for only the last part of 2009, received $3,726 plus expenses of $4,917.

Remuneration and benefits for the regional district's employees came to $840,000 in 2009, compared to $775,000 the year before.

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