In 2022 the City of Nelson paid 31 of its 180 full-time employees more than $100,000 each, paid just under $1.7 million in contracts to Marwest Industries for water source upgrades, and granted $80,520 to the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce.
Those are just three examples of the detailed information contained in the city’s recently published Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) for 2022. All municipalities and other public bodies such as colleges and hospitals are required by law to publish this report annually.
The document includes a list of council and staff salaries, as well as expenses and a list of all payments made for goods and services over $25,000. It also includes detailed financial statements for the year.
Nelson’s chief financial officer Chris Jury says this is how municipalities and other public bodies remain accountable.
“As a public entity, there are some transparencies that I think are important,” he said. “So I’m all in favour of having those those types of schedules.”
The report gives the public a window into the city’s income and expenditures that they would not otherwise have.
Payments to city council and staff
Janice Morrison as a city councillor, and then as mayor after the October, 2022 election, was paid a total of $32,772 plus just over $3,000 in expenses. Former mayor John Dooley, for the year until the election, was paid $54,219 plus just under $9,000 in expenses.
Re-elected councillors Keith Page, Jesse Woodward and Rik Logtenberg were all paid just over $28,000 plus expenses.
The SOFI report discloses the earnings of all employees earning over $75,000 per year by name and amount, with the exception of employees of the Nelson Police Department and the library.
Jury said the $75,000 threshold was introduce by legislation two decades ago and at that time would have included many fewer people. In the 2022 report, 172 employees are listed as making more than $70,000.
Of the 31 city employees paid more than $100,000 in 2022, eight were from the Nelson Fire Department, 12 were from Nelson Hydro and the remainder were management and senior staff from administration and public works.
The highest paid employees at the city in 2022 (over $150,000) were city manager Kevin Cormack ($194,644), Nelson Hydro manager Scott Spencer ($193,317), hydro employee Jason Procyshyn ($162,262), and hydro employee Jordan Rothkop ($150,141). Former chief financial officer Colin McClure would have been on this list had he not left his job at the city at the end of May. Until then, he was paid $124,995.
There may also be employees of the Nelson Police Department who were paid more than $100,000, but police numbers, and also those for the employees of the Nelson Public Library, are not included in the report.
The reason for this omission, Cormack told the Nelson Star in 2020, is that the police and the library are run by separate boards of directors and as such are insulated by legislation from this level of reporting, despite the fact that the paycheques of police and library staff come directly from the city and are part of the city budget.
The city paid out a total of $12,837,733 in salaries, not including benefits or expenses, in 2022. This is a seven per cent (about $1 million) increase over 2021. These totals also do not include the library or the police.
Nelson’s payroll reflects the fact that, unlike most cities of its size, it has a professional fire department, its own police force, and its own power utility.
The SOFI report, and those from previous years, can be found online at http://www.nelson.ca/Archive.aspx?AMID=36.
The city’s vendor list and grants to organizations
The report contains a list of 147 vendors from whom the city made purchases values at more than $25,000 in 2022.
The city paid just under $7 million to Fortis BC, from which it buys half of its electrical power. It also paid significant amounts to three construction companies: Marwest Industries for water system construction at the Selous and Anderson Creek sites ($1,693,101), Terus Construction for road work ($2,737,383), and Unitech Construction Management for the pier upgrade project ($2,126,958).
The total paid to all suppliers, including those under $25,000, was $35,520,212.
The SOFI report lists operating grants over $25,000 from the city to the Nelson Museum Archives and Gallery, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Community Futures Central Kootenay, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, the Nelson and District Arts Council, and the Capitol Theatre, amounting to a total of $680,380.
The Statement of Financial Position shows an accumulated surplus (financial and non-financial assets minus liabilities) of $223,771,842, an increase of 4.8 per cent over 2021.
The statement of operations shows revenue of $57,126,122 and expenses of $46,821,482 for a surplus of $10,304,640. This is one per cent below the budgeted amount, and 12 per cent higher than in 2021. The city’s practice is to assign surpluses to reserve funds for future infrastructure projects and equipment purchases.
The statement of change shows $40,721,752 in net financial assets. This is 19 per cent higher than the budgeted amount and 0.1 per cent higher than in 2021.
The financial statements are also part of the city’s 2022 Annual Report, which can be seen at http://www.nelson.ca/Archive.aspx?AMID=38.
The annual report outlines with text and statistics the city’s activities for the year on many fronts including policing, housing, public works, emergency management, the youth centre, library, building permits, climate projects, and water supply.