Columbia-Shuswap Regional District Area B director Loni Parker is claiming some success in changing a funding issue she feels was unfair to the Revelstoke area.
The issues focuses on BC Hydro Payment-In-Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding. The payments from BC Hydro to the regional district are made in lieu of lost taxation revenue from the Mica Dam.
Parker says the existing distribution of the funds in the regional district are unfair, and that she sought to have them changed during past budget processes. “Although the dam is situated in Area B of the CSRD the payment has been dispersed throughout the whole of the CSRD with very little of the payment actually going to Area B,” she said in a statement.
She says 60 per cent of the PILT funds goes to general government, and 40 per cent to affected areas. Of that remaining 40 per cent, Revelstoke and Area B gets 40 per cent.
Parker said the affected areas have tried to change the allocation system in the past, but were voted down by due to opposition from Shuswap-based directors. Directors from the area have historically argued the funding allocation is unfair since the affected areas have borne of impacts from the dam.
“During this budget process I have argued to fix this inequity and was successful with a minor change but this still left Area B largely out of the equation until 2013 even though the facility is located in our Area,” Parker says. “As many of you may have heard I brought forward an amendment to the draft budget at the February Board meeting and was unsuccessful in securing the requested benefits to Area B.”
At the CSRD’s most recent meeting, Parker says she was able to have $72,724 in funds from three BC Hydro Economic Opportunity Funds shifter to Area B.
“With this change to our policy Area B will see $36,362.00 being allocated towards Fire Protection services and an equal amount applied towards Area B Parks and Recreation,” she states. “Both of these services are provided by the City of Revelstoke on a cost sharing basis.”
Parks adds she’ll continue to seek more of the PILT funding in coming years.