Midway improves spending ranking; Greenwood not so much

The Canadian Federation of independent Business prepares the BC Municipal Spending Watch report ranking municipal performance.

In a recent report released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the cities of Grand Forks and Greenwood were shown to be more free-spending than their neighbours in the Thompson Okanagan region—and did not fare much better when ranked with 153 municipalities across the province. Midway, on the other hand, improved its’ ranking.

In the BC Municipal Spending Watch 2013 report that was released this month.

The report measures how much municipalities spend, in relation to the rate of inflation and population growth. Ranking 33rd out of 153 communities Grand Forks was the second worst community in the Thompson Okanagan region, ahead of Summerland that was ranked 20th (the lower the number being a worse ranking).

The city dropped from 52nd last year as its municipal spending per capita from 2010-2011 rose by nine per cent to $2,176, with real operating spending per capita growth rising from 2000-2011 by 36 per cent.

Greenwood had a 32 per cent rise in real operating spending per capita growth from 2000-2011, and shells out $1,733 in operating spending per capita. The city’s municipal spending increased by eight per cent from 2010 to 2011, dropping the nation’s smallest city to a rank of 54th, down from 78th last year.

Midway was a model of responsibility and consistency, raising its real operating spending per capita (2000-2011) by only four per cent, spending $1,503 per capita and actually decreasing its municipal spending per capita (2010-2011) by six per cent. The community ranked 118th, bettering its rank of 100 from last year.

The Village of Kaslo scored best in the province. The village has decreased its spending from 2000-2011 by nine per cent, 11 per cent from 2010-2011. It spends $1,017 per capita.

Regional districts were not included in the report. The Municipal Spending Watch rankings are based on an equal weighting of growth in inflation-adjusted operating spending per capita (2000- 2011) and the 2011 operating spending per capita. Policing costs, while technically a component of municipal operating spending, are largely beyond the political control of municipal governments and are instead determined by negotiations at the provincial level. For this reason, policing costs from overall operating spending have been excluded. Capital expenditures such as infrastructure building were excluded in calculation as well. The report only looked at local government operating spending.

Written with files from Timothy Schafer, editor, Grand Forks Gazette.