In 2015 the City of Nelson paid 25 of its 205 employees more than $100,000 each, spent $6-million to purchase power from Fortis BC, and gave $223,000 to Touchstones for its annual grant.
Those are just three examples of the detailed information contained in the city’s Statement of Financial Information for 2015. All municipalities and other public bodies are required by law to publish this report annually. The full report is attached below, minus police stats which were added to this article separately.
The 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 city’s vendor list
The report contains a full list of 120 vendors from whom the city made purchases over $25,000 in 2015. The city paid more than $1-million to Fortis BC, Maglio Installations, Martech Electrical Systems, the Municipal Finance Authority, Municipal Pension Plan, and Selkirk Paving.
The total paid to all suppliers, including those under $25,000, was $30,675,626.
“I’d like people to see how much we spent on local companies,” said the city’s chief financial officer Colin McClure in an interview. “We have good local companies, like Maglo Installations, Martech, and Selkirk Paving, and so we can keep many jobs local.”
The audited report also includes statements about financial position, revenue and expenses, assets, debt, and cash flow.
“The missing piece,” McClure said, “is our collective agreements. We have gone five years without a contract with the fire department, four years without a police contract, and CUPE (expired last year). So there is a lot of uncertainty there.”
McClure said he is looking forward to new tax revenue from Nelson Commons, but says that may have to go toward retroactive pay increases.
Grants to organizations
The report lists operating grants over $25,000 from the city to Touchstones Nelson, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Community Futures Central Kootenay, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, the Capitol Theatre, and the Nelson Regional Sports Council, amounting to a total of $718,075.
Payments to City Council
Mayor Deb Kozak made $39,977 in salary and $4,357 in expenses. Other councillors’ salaries and expenses ranged between $20,000 to $26,000.
Payments to staff
Total salaries and overtime for all city employees, including police and fire employees, was $13,452,366, with an added $203,993 for expenses, all about the same as in 2014.
Twenty-five employees were paid more than $100,000. Five of those are Nelson Hydro linemen, who, according to McClure, tend to earn a lot of overtime pay. Another five were police officers.
The highest paid city staff members in 2015 were city manager Kevin Cormack who earned $166,275 plus $8,738 in expenses, and Nelson Hydro manager Alex Love at $165,672 with expenses of $10,950.
McClure pointed out that management salaries in that range are not unusual at the municipal government level.
“We are a small city with a big operation,” he said. “We are unique because we have our police department, and we have a paid fire department. We are the only city in Western Canada that generates and distributes its own power. We are pretty diverse and pretty sophisticated.”