Armstrong council keeps expenses down

The city has released its 2012 annual report, which includes the schedule of remuneration and expenses for staff

Part of Armstrong’s healthy financial picture is the work council does to keep its own expenses down.

The city has released its 2012 annual report, which includes the schedule of remuneration and expenses for staff.

Mayor Chris Pieper earned $21,739 in salary and claimed nearly $3,000 in expenses for a total of $24,667.

Each of the six councillors made $12,371 in salary while Coun. Ryan Nitchie topped the expenses list at $3,653. John Trainor did not claim any expenses in 2012.

In total, $112,096 was paid to council in salary and expenses.

“It’s a conscious goal on the part of council to keep expenses to a minimum,” said Pieper.

“Our main expenses are for UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual convention). I would imagine 80 per cent of expenses are for that trip. We don’t send everybody, we send a percentage of council so it reflects on our expenses.”

The city is mandated to provide a yearly report of its financial information, including those staff who make $75,000 or more.

In Armstrong, there are four: administrator Patti Ferguson ($121,962 which includes salary and expenses); chief financial officer Terry Martens ($91,874); water/waste-water operator Kerry Fox ($71,176) and deputy corporate officer Melinda Stickney ($76,208). In total, nearly $800,000 was spent in 2012 on staff salaries.

In his 45-page report, Martens outlined that, financially, the city is in a healthy state.

The net worth of the municipality is nearly $50 million which includes infrastructure, and, last year there was a surplus of $118,641.

One of the better financial indicators is long term debt per capital. Armstrong’s is $176.68 per head, down from $192.94 the year before.

“It’s still very low,” said Martens. “I did some research and we have the second lowest debt per capital in the region.”

Net capital assets, said Martens, are also a good measure of the ability of the municipality to pay off its liabilities from its financial assets at any one given point in time.

Armstrong’s net capital assets sit at $45.2 million, up from $44.5 million in 2011.

In 2012, the city paid $6.5 million in supplier payments of $25,000 or higher, the largest being nearly $1.2 million in trust to Senad Sijeric, notary public. That was for payment for the Heaton Place seniors complex centre units the city bought. The city also gave nearly $70,000 in tax exemptions to 21 church and non-profit organizations.

“I think our finances are in really good shape,” said Pieper.

Copies of the report are available at city hall or at www.cityofarmstrong.bc.ca.