City of Castlegar revenues take a big hit in first half of 2020

The city has been affected by reduced revenues from the airport, casino and taxation.

Castlegar’s director of finance Ola Oladele has released a report detailing the city’s year-to-date financial situation as of the end of June.

More than half of the reporting period has taken place since the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the city’s financial outlook. The city has been affected by reduced revenues from several sources including the airport, casino and taxation.

West Kootenay Regional Airport

The biggest loss in revenue the city has seen due to COVID-19 is from the West Kootenay Regional Airport.

With no passenger flights since March and Air Canada setting Sept. 9 as the earliest date it will resume, year-to-date revenue is down 65 per cent. That’s a loss of $414,000

Commissions from airport tenants have also been nonexistent over the last few months.

If the situation continues through the end of the year, the city projects revenue losses of approximately 82 per cent of the annual budget, or just over $1 million.

The city has reduced service levels at the airport in an effort to cut costs including negotiating a 25-per-cent cost reduction with the main airport contractor to reduce the scope of work to cover just base requirements.

Castlegar CAO Chris Barlow said that is about the deepest cut the city can make and still maintain operations. He is also cautious about doing anything that may result in jeopardizing the long term future of airport services.

Even though commercial flights are not landing, the Southeast Fire Centre, BC Ambulance Service and private planes are still using the airport.

Regarding airport operations, a “movement” is either a landing, a take-off or a simulated approach to the runway.

In April there were 294 movements at the airport. In May there were 746 and in June there were 540.

There were also a number of medevac flights — seven in April, 11 in May and 14 in June.

The city has appealed to the provincial and federal governments for emergency funding in consideration of the regional health and fire services the city provides through the airport.

Chances Castlegar

The city receives money each year through a host city agreement with Chances Castlegar. Oladele estimates a $45,000 reduction in revenue for each month the casino remains closed. That adds up to approximately $438,000 for the year.

The projected losses may be reduced once restrictions on casinos are lifted as part of phase four of the province’s restart plan.

Gaming revenues are typically used to help fund capital projects, so the city’s five year capital plan will have to be reviewed to determine which projects will be impacted.

Property taxes

Property tax payments are also down compared to last year.

City council passed a resolution in the early days of the pandemic extending the property tax deadline from July to Oct. 1 and it appears many residents and business owners are delaying their payments.

In 2019, four per cent of property taxes remained unpaid past the July 2 deadline. During the same period this year, 32 per cent remains unpaid.

According to the report, the majority of the unpaid taxes are from the non-residential classes of taxpayers. These were the targeted beneficiaries of the extension in the first place.

Oladele also reports some major taxpayers have reached out to staff to discuss flexible payment arrangements.

Staff is projecting that outstanding tax bills will still be at 15 per cent after the Oct. 1 deadline.


The city has also seen a decrease in investments.

According to the report investment revenue is down about 21 per cent, mostly due to historically low interest rates.

The city has responded by reviewing its investment holdings and repositioning those investments.

To meet cash flow requirements, the city has withdrawn its investments with the Municipal Finance Authority and moved them into its main operating bank account.

The report states that as property tax revenues comes in, staff will review the strategy to determine how to best invest excess cash.

Service reductions

The city has been trying to cut expenses including leaving staff vacancies unfilled, cutting four summer student positions, cutting community event and organization budgets and supply and travel budgets. Parks and recreation services have also been cut significantly.

Barlow says staff will continue to look for more ways to save money.

“That is happening on an everyday basis — deciding what we purchase and what we do,” he said.

He said things like water and sewer services have to remain constant and the finance and development services departments have actually been busier than usual, so cuts cannot be made to those departments.

In fact, revenues at the development services department are currently 34 per cent higher than budget. A significant portion of the increase is $35,000 in revenues from the new FedEx development near the airport.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: Opioid crisis

Seventh in a series of Q&As with the candidates, look for a new set each morning.

IRIS coordinator Sandi McCreight and one of the program’s volunteers have been preparing meals for more than 100 local seniors. Photo: submitted
IRIS offering flu clinic, COVID info session for Castlegar seniors

Castlegar’s IRIS Project is continuing to offer supports for local seniors

Touchstones Museum has opened up Nelson’s Cold War bunker to the public. The unique exhibit includes artifacts from the 1950s and 60s. Photo: Tyler Harper
Take cover! Cold War bunker opens to public in Nelson

The shelter was built in 1964 in case of nuclear fallout

Nelson’s Brian Boyes has been awarded a provincial honour for coaching junior golfers. Photo: Submitted
Nelson golf coach wins provincial honour

Bryan Boyes was honoured for his work with young golfers

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).
Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: Child care

Sixth in a series of Q&As with the candidates, look for a new set each morning.

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read