A long Quesnel city council meeting on Tuesday, April 26 kicked off with some good news.
The city received a “clean” audit report for 2021 from KPMG’s Corey Naphtali.
“In essence, it says the financial statements are in accordance with public accounting standards and there are no material mistakes,” Naphtali told council.
As of Dec. 31, Quesnel had $14.7 million in cash on hand, and total financial assets of $37 million, next to $27 million in liabilities.
The 2021 operations budget planned to bring in $38 million in revenue, but only brought in $34 million, mostly due to grants deferred into 2022 according to Naphtali. The city still posted a surplus of over $6 million, up from the $5.5 million surplus they posted in 2020.
FIVE YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN
Homeowners in Quesnel will be paying an extra $95.32 on average for the municipal portion of their property tax in 2022. That breaks down to an extra $32.31 per $100,000 in property value. The average residence in Quesnel was valued at just under $300,000 by BC Assessment.
A report written by Quesnel’s director of corporate and financial services Kari Bolton, notes the average home assessment in Quesnel increased by nearly 30 per cent this year. The more a resident’s home has increased in value, the higher their tax increase will be.
“This year saw a much broader range of assessment changes than the city of Quesnel has seen in recent history,” Bolten wrote in her report.
Municipal taxes only account for 45 per cent of residential property taxes, with 29 per cent going to a school tax, 14 per cent going to North Cariboo Recreation, eight per cent to the regional hospital, and other smaller percentages to different taxing authorities.
Property taxes and grants in lieu of taxes account for 44 per cent of Quesnel’s revenue, with the majority of the rest coming from user fees and government grants.
The 2022 tax year marks the first year the light industrial tax rate has been the same as the business tax rate.
More lights than first planned will be coming to the pickleball and tennis courts in West Fraser Timber Park.
The Quesnel Pickleball Club approached the city for permission to install lights for two courts at the park, using funds from the Quesnel Community Foundation.
Not only did the executive committee approve the request, but is also planning to expand the lighting plan to include all courts in the park.
“The rise in popularity of pickleball is significant in Quesnel, as it offers a robust physical activity option to various demographics and has a low barrier to entry,” a report written by executive committee chair Mitch Vik reads.
“Expanding the allowable playing time in the evening by installing lighting will allow the sport to continue to flourish in the community.”
BARKERVILLE HIGHWAY POWER LINE
Council also added their support to a resolution brought to the Northern Development Initiative Trust to fund a $20,000 “operations report” on the feasibility of using Highway 26 for a power line to Wells/Barkerville by the district of Wells.
The Barkerville Gold Mine project by Osisko Development will need additional power for the community. Osisko plans to run a power line to the community along a northern path instead of along the Barkerville Highway.
“Every time people have gone to BC Hydro or the ministers involved, they have been discounted because basically the facts have been disputed,” Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson said.
“My suggestion when we had the meeting was why don’t we get our fact set together.”
The funding would be a special circumstances grant, and the report would document other power issues in communities along Highway 97 independent of the proposed mine.
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