Finance Department Overview
Finance Department Overview
The Finance Department strives to provide effective, reliable financial advice, services and information to Council, staff and the public. Over $30 million is collected annually from various sources including property taxes, utility payments, service charges, and senior government grants. The Finance Department is responsible for the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the City's Operating, Utility and Capital budgets. The focus is to administer these processes to meet the needs of the community, City Council and City departments.The Finance Department oversees the expenditure of these funds through the annual budget process.
The Finance Department is responsible for the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the City's Operating, Utility and Capital budgets. The focus is to administer these processes to meet the needs of the community, City Council and City departments.
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Financial functions include the following:
The City has established guidelines and procedures within the framework of the Local Government Act for the placement of City funds and for effectively managing cash flows to ensure adequate funds are available to fulfill the strategic plans and initiatives undertaken by the City. All sources of revenue are identified and allocated to key capital projects.
The Director of Finance is responsible for the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the City's Operating, Utility and Capital budgets and administering processes to meet the needs of the community, City Council and other City departments. It is necessary to design and implement financial controls to ensure the integrity of all financial transactions and to produce the City's financial statements and Annual Reports.
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All disbursements/payments on behalf of the City are handled through Accounts Payable. Included are payments of invoices for goods and services received, prepayments, municipal contributions, deposits on accounts, petty cash, transfers, leases and recurring payments and refunds.
All City spending is governed by the 5 Year Financial Plan which must be approved by City Council and must comply with the guidelines for municipalities contained in the Local Government Act.
All work and services rendered by the City are billed by Accounts Receivable.
Payroll and Benefits
Payroll staff administers pay and benefits for City employees, in accordance with various collective agreements and policies which are in effect.
- CUPE Local 118
- IAFF Local 1667 (Fire Fighters)
- Exempt employees
- Elected Members of Council (indemnities)
Purchasing and Risk Management
Purchasing staff secure materials, supplies, equipment and services essential to carrying on the work of all city departments. Staff are responsible for tracking and coordinating contracts for all non-inventory items, construction contracts and consulting services
The City's central stores is maintained at 4150 6th Ave . Stores maintains inventory based on requirements and associated products, including automotive and garage-related supplies.
Staff provides information to the public regarding property assessments, property taxes, utility charges and account balances and administer:
- Collection of property taxes;
- Annual residential utility (water, sewer, garbage/recycling) charges and metered utility billings;
- Grants-in-lieu of taxes - The City receives approximately $700,000 annually in the form of grants in lieu of taxes from various government owned (therefore tax exempt) properties within the City. The federal and provincial governments and their agencies include Dept. of Fisheries, Indian and Northern Affairs, Port Alberni Port Authority, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, BC Buildings Corporation, Provincial Rental Housing Corporation, BC Hydro, and the University of Victoria.;
- Provincial homeowner grants (HOG);
- Local improvement charges - A local improvement request, such as sewer or water service, sidewalks, downtown revitalization, or recreation facilities, can be initiated by Council, referendum, or a group of property owners in a particular area; and must meet a formal approval process. Costs of providing the local improvement are charged to the affected property owners, and are often funded by borrowing, and amortized over a number of years. The City collects Local Improvement Charges of approximately $30,000 annually for sanitary and storm sewer service in north Port Alberni, between Josephine and Golden Streets. The capital work was funded in 1996 and will expire in 2016. More detailed information is available at this link: http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/finance/local_area_services.htm;
- Payment of taxes collected for other taxing authorities.
- Provincial Tax Deferment Program
In addition to collecting property taxes, which are administered by the City, the Finance Department is also responsible for collecting taxes for other authorities, including school taxes on behalf of the Provincial School Tax Authority, and the B.C. Assessment Authority, the Municipal Finance Authority, and the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District.
The City has established guidelines and procedures within the framework of the Local Government Act for the placement of City funds. Council has endorsed an investment policy which identifies the advancement of fiscal strategies, policies and practices related to investments which enhance the professional management of the City's financial resources. The City enjoys a competitive rate of return on investments when compared to other municipal and industry benchmarks.