FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman says it wouldn’t be smart for the City to use its own funds to pay for the Provincial costs of the new RCMP building.
The City of Fort St. John will break ground on a new RCMP detachment this summer. The cost of the building and equipment will be just over $51.4 million. Of that cost, the Province of B.C. will provide $22.7 million.
The Province will pay its portion of the construction costs through lease payments over the next 20 years. Since the City would have to pay the Provincial portion upfront, Council decided to borrow the $22.7 million rather than use current capital cash reserves to fund construction costs.
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Mayor Ackerman says it’s better if the $22.7 million stays in the City’s bank account. “When it’s, sitting in the bank for us, we can make “X” percentage on that money.”
Mayor Ackerman went onto say, “If we borrow their portion of the money, then they (the Province) would pay that money back to us plus the borrowing costs through the lease agreement. And we would leave that $22 million in the bank.”
During an interview on Moose FM, Mayor Ackerman said the City needs to engage with local contractors to make sure they are participating in the tendering process. Still, she says they can’t do anything that would give one business an advantage over the other.
“Local contractors have to be engaged and participating in the whole process. Would we love to have local people as part of this, absolutely we would, absolutely. But we can’t drag them through the tendering process; we cannot give a business a benefit.”
Construction on the building is expected to start in June of this year and should be completed in early 2022.
If more than 10 percent of registered voters in Fort St. John oppose the borrowing plan, the City must hold a referendum.
To oppose the plan, you must complete an Elector Response form in person at City Hall during regular business hours or online at letstalk.fortstjohn.ca.