The City Council has worked with the Province to further iron out details of the Peace River Agreement – a deal struck in May of this year to allocate funding from the provincial government to different municipalities in the Peace Region.
The 20-year agreement is meant to help provide funding for these municipalities because of industries that happen outside of their borders, but still use their resources heavily.
It has set $50 million in annual payments, that will be given starting in 2016. Over the 20 years it is set to provide funding, it’s estimated to have a value of $1.1 billion dollars.
“This is our first year in implementing the Peace River agreement and coming to a clear understanding of the role this application process and what the province will be requiring,” said City Manager Dianne Hunter.
“We developed this application form regionally – done in house, with the support and consent of the other municipalities. They all vetted it and they’ve all looked at it.”
The applications have been developed to keep autonomy at a municipal level in mind, but also make sure projects fit within the bounds of what the funding is intended for.
The categories are:
- Transportation, roads, sidewalks, streetlights, etc. 35%
- Facilities, buildings, etc. 10%
- Equipment, vehicles, machinery, information technology, etc. 15%
- Operating costs (including staff) to support capital projects; research and studies, etc. 10%
- Other capital, one-time projects, debt servicing, etc. 30%
“We are being very vigilant that this goes in the direction that we understood,” Hunter said. She said there is ‘wiggle room’ in the target percentages – For example, operating costs are listed at 10% maximum, but for the city, Hunter says they are only at 2-3%.
The long term plan for Fort St. John’s funding in regard to the Peace River Agreement is due by the end of the month.