Despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing massive issues all over the North Island, the Town of Port McNeill has continued on with finalizing its five-year plan.
“With the advent of COVID, we have had to reassess our revenue streams and make some difficult decisions,” stated a news release from town staff. “It is important to communicate the Town of Port McNeill has always tried to be responsible with our finances, planning for major infrastructure expenses, while understanding the limited tax base which we must work with.”
Port McNeill council is currently aiming to move forward on three major projects:
further work in the Beach Drive slide area; and
upgrades to the swimming pool.
“The most difficult decision… was to close our pool for the 2020 season,” stated the release. “The amount of lead time and finances needed by public works staff to prepare for an opening, the choice was made not to allocate funds for what might be four or less weeks of operation. This decision saves us approximately $80,000 from our operating budget and gives pool staff time to find alternate employment.”
Much needed upgrades to the outdoor swimming pool have been deferred by previous councils for some time now, and as such, this council is looking at the COVID crisis as an opportunity to do “the necessary work required to protect our community asset.”
Some of the issues with the pool were listed as:
An inefficient heating system;
an aging chlorination system; and
a myriad of other items needing to be fixed in order to ensure the pool can be used for many years to come.
All told, town staff noted that council is “in the process of finalizing the five-year financial plan, which encompasses the Town’s operating budget and capital expenditures, in which these decisions were made. Looking at the current situation, we are proposing at a modest increase to tax revenue of 2 per cent reflecting the cost of living.”
Council’s five-year financial plan has passed first and second reading and will be up for adoption at their May 12 meeting.