Shuffle of reserves creates new, streamlined financial future for City
The City is having no reservations about its reserves.
A proposal to establish a new Growing Communities reserve fund is on the books, as well as a move to amalgamate almost $47 million worth of reserves across 17 funds, now contained within separate reserve bylaws.
Worth $4.2 million, the Growing Communities reserve arose out of a one-time cash grant from the Province in March — with a condition the money be placed into a segregated reserve established by bylaw before Dec. 31, 2023.
In establishing the new reserve, City staff will be using the opportunity to perform some housekeeping of current reserve bylaws to “provide efficient administration and management” of reserve funds, said City chief financial officer Chris Jury.
“Staff are proposing to repeal individual reserve fund bylaws and to replace them with one consolidated reserve fund bylaw,” he said. “In addition, there are also a few funds commonly referred to as reserves, that have not been formally established as such.”
City staff are consolidating all current reserve bylaws into one schedule.
Until the optimal use of the funds has been analyzed, the funds will be held in the new reserve.
City council passed first three readings of the bylaw on Oct. 10 during a regular council business meeting at City Hall.
In early 2023, the Province of B.C. announced the Growing Communities Fund comprising a one-time direct grant to all 188 of B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts to address the local community’s unique infrastructure and amenities demands, such as recreation facilities, parks and water treatment plants, as well as other community infrastructure.
In addition to the Growing Communities reserve fund, the City will also be establishing four other reserve funds:
Affordable housing reserve fund
Previously classified as deferred revenue, a proposal is in place to establish a reserve fund for more clarity and consistency. The balance at Dec. 31, 2022 was $99,113;
Active transportation reserve fund
Previously classified as deferred revenue, a proposal is in place to transfer funds to the active transportation reserve — formerly referred to as the off-street parking reserve. The balance at Dec. 31, 2022 to be transferred is $49,267.
Legacy reserve fund
Known as surplus set aside by council as FBC reserve account, the proposal is to establish a legacy reserve fund so that funds can be appropriately budgeted in the financial plan to be used. The balance at Dec. 31, 2022 was $1,408,889.
Financial stabilization reserve fund
A new reserve for the financing of major operating issues, one-time projects and offsetting unrealized revenues. The proposal is to transfer $1 million of unappropriated surplus for the initial funding of the reserve.
Source: Oct. 10 City of Nelson agenda