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Sports and recreation money should remain for that purpose, says Powell River city councillor

Council considering reserve fund allocations
DESIGNATED PURPOSE: City councillor Jim Palm wants funds that were allocated to a sports and recreation reserve to remain dedicated to that purpose if the reserve fund is transferred to an innovation reserve fund.

City of Powell River council will contemplate further consolidation and setting direction for its reserve funds.

At the May 27 finance committee meeting, chief financial officer Adam Langenmaier said the main thing he wanted to bring to the finance committee’s attention is a proposed change to the sports and recreation committee reserve. He said in early 2020, a recommendation came to council to consolidate reserves and eliminate some that have not been used for many years. He said in amalgamating reserves, the sports and recreation committee reserve was missed. He proposed that the reserve be consolidated into the newly created innovation reserve.

Langenmaier said the sports and recreation fund was created in 2011 to stimulate sports and recreation activities in the community. He said council directed $10,000 per year to be placed in the reserve and the city did so for four years. He said the fund has gained interest and there have been no withdrawals.

Langenmaier also recommended a change to the general operating fund, to have three months of general operating expenditures on hand, up from the current two months.

For the sewer and water operating funds, the recommendation is to bring them up to four months of operational expenditures.

Councillor Jim Palm said in terms of the sports and recreation reserve fund, one of the objectives at the time of its creation was sports tourism enhancement. He said after doing due diligence, there was no initiative to enhance sports tourism through the creation of more events, so Palm said he let it lie and money was not spent. There is now $45,335.22 in the fund.

Palm said the city had to ask Powell River Community Forest for a sizable donation when the first sports hall of fame induction event was held. He said that the event paid for itself and no city funds, other than community forest funds, were used, and that was primarily for creation of the cabinet in the recreation complex dedicated to the sports hall of fame.

“I’m just going to work now for our second induction, which will happen in June 2022,” said Palm. “I’m already getting enquiries and questions from the public about when it is going to happen so they can nominate individuals.

“If you were at the event in 2019, you’ll know it was one of the finest events the city has hosted in recent memory. It was well put together and received.”

Palm said it costs money to put on the event so he would like to see the funds stay in the sports realm and be dedicated to the sports hall of fame for 2022, as well as for future events.

“I don’t want to see the funds go into general revenue,” said Palm. “I’d like to see these funds dedicated to sports.”

Mayor in favour of leaving funds for sports

Mayor Dave Formosa said he knows more work needs to be done with regard to the next intake of the sports hall of fame so he would be in favour of leaving the money intact if council agrees.

Palm said if the money is designated to the sports hall of fame fund, it will eliminate the need to reach out to the community forest for funding.

Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said if the funds were to go into the innovation fund, she asked if the funds could be designated to go toward the sports hall of fame.

Langenmaier said the innovation fund has broad guidelines and that could be a route to take.

Finance committee chair councillor George Doubt said he is not opposed to using the money in the sports and recreation committee reserve to fund part or all of the sports hall of fame.

“You can do that by leaving that reserve where it is or by recognizing the innovation reserve as being a place where those funds could be drawn from,” said Doubt.

Palm said he’d like to see something brought to city council where those funds would be protected.

Formosa said he would not have a problem with removing the sports and recreation reserve as long as it’s earmarked in the innovation fund that the $45,000 belongs to sports and recreation.

The finance committee gave unanimous consent to forward the reserve fund initiatives to city council on June 3.