Snow Reserve Can Cover Capital Costs
Prince George, B.C.- Prince George City Council has approved amending the Snow Control Reserve Fund bylaw so funds can be used to cover capital costs associated with snow removal.
The current bylaw which governs that fund was established in 1998, it only allows surplus dollars from any year to be used in future years for operations when removal costs exceed the amount collected through the snow levy.
There is at least one capital project that needs funding right now, and that is to prepare a snow disposal site in the west bowl. The cost of that project is $2.93 million, but by clearing the way to have the reserve fund capital projects means the City won’t have to borrow money to cover the costs of that project.
Councillor Brian Skakun was concerned reducing the amount in the snow control reserve could leave the City scrambling should the City be hit with a higher than normal snowfall . Director of Finance, Kris Dalio says yes, using the fund to cover capital projects related to snow removal will have an impact on the balance of funds in the reserve ‘But we do collect a snow control levy, and it is designed to record the costs it takes to remove all the snow from the City, It really should be allowed to be used to cover both operating and capital costs, as an example our sewer rates are modelled to cover both capital and operational expenditures, our water rates are the same way, our garbage rates are the same way.”
Councillor Skakun says there is a strange balance on this change “One way or the other, if we have a bad year with some major snow events and that fund is tapped into, on the other hand, if we don’t have to borrow to do capital projects, there is a benefit on that side.”
Mayor Hall says the snow removal levy could be adjusted come budget time “If we choose to continue with the $5 million or increase it or decrease it, within the change we are looking at this evening, it gives us that flexibility.”