Municipality cuts operational spending

Annual business report lists Hope among most improved cities

Hope is starting to rein in its spending, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The 2012 Municipal Spending Watch Report lists the municipality among the 10 most improved cities in the Lower Mainland for cost control.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Mayor Susan Johnston. “It is a good indicator of the hard work that people put in to see growth happening in our community.”

Operational spending rose 25 per cent after being adjusted for inflation between 2000 and 2010, well below the provincial average of 49 per cent. In addition, spending in 2010 per capita dropped two per cent from 2009 to $878. Hope’s overall provincial rank was 124 out 153, with 153 being the best.

“We’re trying very hard to provide the best service possible but being cognizant of the fact there’s not a lot of dollars available,” said Johnston. “We’re tired of hearing we have to do more with less, but at the same when we see results, it makes the journey worthwhile because at some point we will fill our coffers again and address some of the bigger issues we have on the books.”

Other Lower Mainland cities with the biggest spending cuts included Chilliwack, Burnaby, Surrey, and Richmond. Meanwhile, Harrison Hot Springs, Abbotsford, Whistler, Pemberton, and Langley City and Township topped the list as the worst performing municipalities.

Lytton was B.C.’s biggest overall spender in 2010. Operating spending per capita stood at $6,303 and increased by 29 per cent between 2009 and 2010, even as population decreased by 29 per cent. In total, Lytton’s per capita operating spending since 2000 has grown by more than 200 per cent.