Your tax dollars and what measures can be taken by the town to insure those dollars are safely kept and wisely invested, were the key topics of discussion at the Dec. 2 meeting of Port McNeill council.
Coun. Ryan Mitchell began the discussion by noting that: “This issue [investment of surplus funds] has been sitting on the burner for a year and we’ve done nothing and it’s cost us twenty grand in unearned interest.”
Mitchell was referring to the practice of not having a policy or plan in place for investing funds not currently needed for operational purposes.
Mitchell went on to explain that in addition to a strategic investment model, the town needed to include policies and procedures that did not put taxpayer’s money at risk.
Mitchell went on to demonstrate how the lack of a plan can impact the finances of Port McNeill when he explained: “In 2015, the Town invested $500,000, through the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) bond fund and in 2018 it was worth $498,000.”
He questioned the value, wisdom, security and decision making process of the bond market investment, asking: “Who decided bonds were a safe investment back then?”
Coun. Shelley Downey agreed, adding, “A concrete and structured plan was needed.”
Mayor and councillors also agreed, adding that a plan founded on a policy requiring the safety of insured investments was the prudent and needed approach for making future investment decisions.
“The bottom line,” said Mitchell, “if we can make $40,000 or $50,000 in interest, why not, as it could reduce taxes.”
Council went on to pass a motion that directed staff to provide a plan that would outline the policies and necessary steps to have surplus funds safely invested in insured deposits.
Given the previous delays and resulting desire of council to see this plan put in place, staff was directed to report back at the next meeting.
In other council news made available at the meeting, Downey reported on the Old Growth Strategic Review and the impact the review and resulting decisions could have on Port McNeill and the North Island.
Mayor Gaby Wickstrom noted that while the WFP loggers strike is an important piece of the puzzle right now, she cautioned that it was also important for everyone to remain on top of all of the different issues and policy changes being discussed that can impact the region.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 16 at 7:00 p.m.
It is open to the public and will be the last meeting of 2019. Agendas available online.
– Bill McQuarrie article