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City waits for fine print before spending substantial provincial grant

The $4.633 million expected in city hands by end of month
Terrace City Hall

The City of Terrace is holding off on how it’ll spend the $4.633 million coming its way from the provincial government by the end of the month.

The money is Terrace’s share of $1 billion from a provincial surplus being distributed to local governments but city officials say they’re waiting for the fine print on how it should be spent.

When first announced March 3, the province indicated the money was for capital projects such as roads and public amenities such as day care centres.


He did caution that tax relief this year is a one-time circumstance.

“The downside of using that grant on operations is that those costs will show up again next year,” said Eby March 8 of implications for future taxation levels.

The comments come as city council is poised to approve a property tax increase of 10.33 per cent, the highest increase it has imposed in years.

A follow-up statement from the municipal affairs ministry to Eby’s comments said local governments will know more about using the money later this month.

“The province requests that the funds be prioritized towards those projects where planning is mostly complete and approval permits are underway,” the ministry stated.

“Where this is not possible, the expectation is that the funding be used within five years.”

The ministry stressed that local governments have to be transparent and report to citizens how they intend to use the money.

“The city is awaiting official communication in regard to the parameters that this funding may be used,” said city official Tyler Clarke.

“Government officials may have provided quotes in interviews with the media, but we will be waiting on formal direction from the [municipal affairs] ministry before making any decisions or announcements.”

One substantial capital project would see $6.5 million spent on Lanfear Hill starting with a crosswalk at the bottom, a traffic roundabout at the top, safer and more convenient pedestrian and cyclist access on the hill itself and improvements on the road’s shoulder.

But that type of expenditure completely depends upon grants from senior governments, city budget documents indicate.

An option to use some of the grant money on property tax relief would cost $184,000 for every one per cent reduction in the property tax increase.

About the Author: Rod Link

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