Port Alice Municipal Office. (Debra Lynn photo)
Screenshot from the financial plan presentation. (Debra Lynn photo)Screenshot from the financial plan presentation. (Debra Lynn photo)

Written by Debra Lynn

The village of Port Alice presented its proposed 2023-2027 financial plan on April 12 in the Larry Pepper Room of the community centre.

Less than a dozen people were in attendance, including town council members and staff, media and a couple of residents. The village’s Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Financial Officer Bonnie Danyk was facilitator.

Presently, the biggest payer of property taxes is residential at 76.31 per cent, followed by utilities, industrial, business and finally, a small amount from recreation. Danyk mentioned that, before the mill closed, the major industrial contribution was 75 per cent and residential was only 22 per cent. She added that property taxes normally contribute to the largest proportion of the villages’ revenue; however, this year, that came from grant revenue.

Danyk announced that the residential assessed values in Port Alice increased by an average of 8 per cent.

The total general taxation exemption was estimated at $16,524. The properties exempted from taxation included both churches, the Legion, the Jeune Landing wharf, the Yacht Club and the Golf Club.

Items in the expenditures section include debenture debt payments for a loan obtained many years ago for upgrades to the community centre; other municipal purposes such as general government and fiscal services, fire protective services, public works, health and environmental services which include the transfer station and garbage collection, recreation service, the water utility and the sewer utility; and, transfers to reserves.

This year’s budgeted operational expenditures are 9 per cent more than in 2022 due to inflation and supply chain challenges. To offset some of these costs, council has increased user fees for garbage and the marina.

Capital projects that are funded by grant money include ESS equipment (the purchase if freeze dried food and water for emergency trailer), the development of an Active Transportation Plan (to do with sidewalks, walking trails and bicycle trails), new fire department equipment, fire department upgrades, streetlight replacement, culvert replacement and bridge rehabilitation, Marine Drive bank rehabilitation and Lion’s Park upgrades.

Danyk stated that the village has also received $783,000 from the province through the Growing Communities Fund. Council is still deciding on where they would like that money to go. In the meantime, the money is being kept in the bank to earn some interest, “…which is good because interest rates are pretty good right now.”

At the end of the presentation, one resident inquired about the status of the hotel. Danyk remarked that neither she nor council can comment on it because it’s a privacy issue. She was able to mention that it was for sale but that the listing had recently been removed. Coun. Holly Aldis advised that the community will know if they have not paid their taxes if the hotel shows up in a tax sale.

Suggesting that a restaurant would liven up the village and draw in more business, the North Island Gazette asked if there was anything the town can do to bring one here or even subsidize one themselves.

Danyk answered that the village can’t subsidize one because they are not allowed to go into any kind of competition. She mentioned that Ryan Nicholson, the village’s economic development officer, is “always looking for opportunities to bring more investment into Port Alice.”

A resident inquired about the status of the Official Community Plan. Danyk stated that village staff has received the first draft. They have had a look at it, made some comments and sent it back. She says the team from John Watson Consulting will be returning the week of May 15th to do another session with the community. She concluded, “It’s moving along nicely.”

The financial plan is available online at portalice.ca. Anyone with comments and/or questions can email [email protected] or contact Bonnie Danyk at the village office.

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