In 2014 the City of Nelson paid more than $100,000 in salaries to each of 17 employees, $6 million to purchase power from Fortis BC, and $220,000 on its annual grant to Touchstones.
Those are just three examples of the information contained in the city’s statement of financial information for 2014. All municipalities and other public bodies are required by law to publish this report annually.
The Nelson report includes financial statements, a list of council and staff salaries, and a list all payments made for goods and services over $25,000. The full report is attached below. A 2014 article in the Star compares Nelson’s staff salaries with those in other Kootenay communities.
“It allows the public to get a glimpse inside the use of our tax dollars,” chief financial officer Colin McClure told the Star. “We are trying to be transparent. It is about holding the city to account, because we have to report out on these things.”
The city’s vendor list
The full list of about 100 vendors from whom the city made purchases over $25,000 in 2014 is attached below. The following businesses and organizations were paid more than $500,000.
• Fortis BC: $6,410,219
Nelson purchases some of its power from Fortis.
• Municipal Finance Authority: $1,657,528
This is the body through which municipalities borrow money, and this figure represents payment of the city’s debt.
• Selkirk Paving: $1,441,680
All paving in the city including patching whenever streets are excavated.
• Municipal Pension Plan: $1,069,148
The employer portion of the employee pension plan.
• Maglio Installations: $1,020,788
Water and sewer repair and installation for the city.
• Martech Electrical Systems: $1,018,384
Downtown conversion, the Rosement substation, and other powerline work.
• Arctic Arrow Powerline Group Inc.: $972, 806
Powerline work contracted by Nelson Hydro.
• BC transit: $604,997
The city’s 47 per cent of the cost of running transit within the city (BC Transit pays the rest).
• Insituform Technologies $798,419
This company’s technology allows the re-lining of sewer pipes without having to dig them up or replace them.
• Venture Mechanical Systems: $544,551
New boilers and upgrades to the heating and ventilation in the sewage treatment plant.
• Right of Way Operations Group: $514,331
Vegetation management for Nelson Hydro
• Suncor Energy Products Partnership: $511,624
Fuel for city vehicles
McClure says the city is proud of how many vendors on the list are local.
“Many of these, like Selkirk Paving, Venture Mechanical, and Martech are all local businesses. Their guys working out there are local, they spend their money here, so the tax dollars come around: they are using tax dollars to get a mortgage, they are spending on Baker.”
The audited report also includes statements about financial position, revenue and expenses, assets, debt, and cash flow.
Grants to organizations
The report lists operating grants over $25,000 from the city to the following organizations:
• Touchstones Nelson: $221,500
• Regional District of Central Kootenay: $184,200
• Community Futures Central Kootenay: $107,500
• Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce: $79,000
• Capitol Theatre: $67,500
• Nelson Regional Sports Council: $55,000
Council salaries and expenses
In 2014 former mayor John Dooley was the highest-paid elected official with a salary of $41,892 plus $4,254 in expenses. Second-highest was Deb Kozak, who was a councillor most of the year before being elected mayor in November. She was paid $19,128 in salary and $8,602 in expenses.
Because there was an election in the fall, these are all partial-year amounts except for councillors Robin Cherbo and Bob Adams, who were re-elected.
Payments to staff
The report also lists the amounts paid to 41 staff members who made more than $70,000 in 2014
Twenty-seven employees made $100,000 or more, topped by Nelson Hydro general manager Alex Love at $163,312 plus $6,272 in expenses.
However, these numbers are not necessarily a person’s annual salary. Rather, it is the amount they were paid in 2014, including overtime. It could also represent a partial year if they were recently hired or retired.
The information on Nelson City Police staff below is not in the SOFI report but was obtained separately from city hall.
This article was updated at 12:30 on July 28 to add information on payments to Nelson city police officers.