“P.G. Municipal Spending Outpacing Growth”- CFIB
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George is about the middle of the pack when it comes to municipal overspending in B.C.
That’s according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business BC which has released its annual spending report this morning.
According to the CFIB BC branch, Prince George ranks 66 out of 152 communities (ranked best to worst) in the province for spending that is outpacing both inflation and population growth. That ranking is a slip from last year’s report which pegged Prince George in 58th spot.
The report, based on data from 2003 to 2013 and examines only operating expenses not capital expenditures, indicates the per capita spending in Prince George is $1,555.00 an amount that has grown by 25% over that same period.
The CFIB says the main reasons for overspending are salaries and benefits to city workers and that 40% of a municipality’s budget goes toward protective services. But, there are some factors which are beyond a municipality’s control, such as increases to RCMP and Fire fighting contracts. In the case of Prince George for example, the recent contract agreement with firefighters (a template agreement negotiated elsewhere) added $2.3 million in retroactive pay for 2014.
The cities in B.C. which are doing the best job of keeping operating expenses in check?
The top five are:
- Coldstream (per capita spending of $607 and a growth of 4 per cent in real operating spending per capita over the last ten years)
- View Royal
- Cumberland and
The worst five are:
- Stewart ( per capita spending of $5,018 and a growth of 116% in real operating spending per capita over the last ten years)
- Northern Rockies
- Lantzville and
- Hudson’s Hope
The CFIB offers a number of recommendations to bring spending under control, including calling on municipalities to “conduct reviews to identify core versus non-core services”. Another recommendation calls for municipal wages to be frozen until the private sector catches up.
The full report can be accessed here.