Winter Games Bill Not Paid Off Yet
Prince George, B.C. – The 2015 Canada Winter Games may have come and gone but the taxpayers of Prince George are not done paying for the cost of hosting the event just yet.
Kris Dalio, Deputy Financial Officer with the City, says money for the Games is still being collected through the 2015 tax levy and the bylaw (#8339) which established the reserve fund for the Games and spells out how money in that reserve can be spent remains in effect. Dalio says “that bylaw is in existence until the reserve is closed out and so, same as the Charter says how we can establish a bylaw, the Charter also says if the reserve fund is no longer needed we can, by bylaw, transfer it to another reserve fund, whatever balance is left.”
Dalio says “as far as the tax levy going forward, a 2011 report to Council had this schedule of collection for the levy and its last scheduled year of collection for the Canada Winter Games is this year, 2015. We’ll collect the 2015 taxes, most of them get collected between May and June, and that money gets put into the reserve and is still funding capital projects that have happened.”
Dalio says the February 2011 report contained funding options for the Games’ capital costs. “The one that they (council) chose, it was indeed a 2% increase at the time to the tax levy, and the grand total amount of money that was to be raised from the levy is $9.6 million and change. There were grants available from the feds and the province and the actual total capital work was $17.4 million.” Dalio says “including the 2015 levy collection the $9.6 million will be reached” by the end of this year.
Does Council then decide what happens to that levy? “Absolutely”, says Dalio, “the schedule is that 2015 is the last collection of that levy.” City Council will decide during budget deliberations next fall whether the levy goes away, as was the plan of the council of the day in 2011, or what else might happen with it.
City of Prince George Bylaw No. 8339 states “Funds deposited in the reserve and interest earned thereon may be used only for the purpose of paying for capital costs related to the 2015 Canada Winter Games Facility Improvements.”