Fiscally responsible

Fiscally responsible

The notion of Rossland as a high rolling, spendthrift municipal government has been dispelled by a recent report.

The notion of Rossland as a high rolling, spendthrift municipal government has been dispelled by a recent report released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

In the BC Municipal Spending Watch 2013, Rossland was in the top 10 per cent of fiscally responsible communities in the province, ranking 133 out of 153 (the higher the number being a better ranking) communities.

The city was able to best their 125th ranking from last year and kept their municipal spending in line with population and inflation growth in the past decade—dropping it by one per cent—earning the Golden City an honourable mention from the CFIB.

The report measures how much the city spends, in relation to the rate of inflation and its population growth.

The designation did not surprise Mayor Greg Granstrom, since council has been impressing zero per cent increases—and in some cases decreases—on all municipal departments, cutting almost $300,000 in senior employee salaries in the last few years.

“This has been the way of council for (six years),” he said. “We have been looking for efficiencies at the operations level every year since then.”

Conversely, the city has been able to maintain service levels at the same 2008 mark as well, Granstrom noted, even though it has decreased its spending.

With a 2011 operating spending per capita at $1,361—one of the lowest in the West Kootenay—the rumour of how unaffordable Rossland is has been challenged by report.

Granstrom said the city has held the line on its budget for three years with no increases, and weathered the storm of the Columbia Washington report.

“And the numbers clearly show we came in on budget on that project,” he said.

So why does it seem like taxes rising in the city? Granstrom said it was the product of increasing requisitions by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, which the city is required to collect.

Other West Kootenay communities didn’t fare so well in the report. Trail dropped even lower in the rankings, from 65th to 61st, even though it did not increase municipal spending.

Warfield ranked 119th, Montrose 124th, Castlegar 117,, Grand Forks  133rd and Nelson was 30th.