Debt keeps rising in Pitt Meadows

Increases in amount owing is due to capital spending

Financial statements released by the City of Pitt Meadows this past week show its debt more than doubled to $16 million in 2011 from $7.4 the previous year.

If compared to 2009, when the city only owed $3.9 million, debt in the city has more than quadrupled.

“We would never have taken on the debt if we couldn’t cope with it,” said Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters.

The money owed includes long-term debt of $4.6 million for the civic centre and hockey arena, as well as temporary borrowing for capital projects, including completing upgrades to the arena, constructing drainage infrastructure and the South Bonson community centre.

The city has a contingency fund and hopes to pay down some of the debt this year by selling off property. There was an annual surplus of $485,000 last year, which will be put into the city’s reserve fund.

“Council is very cognizant of the debt load and it is manageable,” said Walters.

According to the financial statements, former mayor Don MacLean proved to be the biggest spender on council in 2011, claiming $6,945 in expenses, followed by Coun. Doug Bing, who claimed $4,087.

Current mayor Deb Walters was next with $3,985 in claimed expenses. Coun. Bruce Bell billed the city for $2,254, while Tracy Miyashita logged $1,217 in expenses.

Councillors Janis Elkerton and Dave Murray, who were elected in November 2011, incurred $36 each in expenses and each earned a salary of $2,012. Coun. Gwen O’Connell had no expenses.

All councillors, expect Walters, made $25,223, up from $24,761 the previous year. Walters’ total salary in 2011 amounted to $28,577.

Employee salaries cost the city $4,112,357 in 2011, up by more than $200,000 from $3,905,922 in 2010.

Fifteen city employees made more than $75,000 in 2011, while staff who made less accounted for $2.5 million in salaries.

 

Top earners

• Jake Rudolph, CAO – $190,414 ($183,123 in 2010 – 3.9 per cent increase);

• Kim Grout, director of operations  – $132,118 ($124,647 in 2010 – 5.9 per cent increase);

• Dean Rear, director of finance – $123,224 ($117,183 in 2010 – 5.1 per cent increase);

• Don Jolley, fire chief – $117,154 ($109,823 in 2010 – 6.6 per cent increase);

• Laurie Darcus, director of corporate services – $109,101 ($99,274 in 2010 – 9.8 per cent increase);

• Lorna Jones, director of human resources – 103,445 ($94,222 in 2010 – 9.7 per cent increase);

• Brad Perrie, assistant fire chief – 101,974;

• Randy Evans, operations superintendent  $99,582 ($95,765 in 2010 – 3.9 per cent increase);

• Rob Chatton, assistant fire chief – $95,756.

Financial Statements – City of Pitt Meadows 2011