Council Update on 2017 - 2021 Financial Plan and Personnel

May 8, 2017

At the May 1 Council meeting, Courtenay City Council gave third reading to the 2017 to 2021 Financial Plan. The Financial Plan process included a review of City staffing levels, with 12 new positions announced at the April 18, 2017 Council meeting. 

Council has received inquiries from the public on total positions added in 2017, and has requested that information on all 2017 staffing changes be shared, in the interests of full disclosure and transparency.

The need for additional staff was determined through detailed condition assessments of all city capital assets, their service requirements, and their remaining service life. In addition, an external third-party review of current staffing levels concluded that additional staff was necessary to fulfill Council’s strategic priorities and maintain the community’s assets in a long-term, fiscally responsible manner.

This review concluded that staffing levels at the City of Courtenay had not kept pace with community growth, or the substantial increase in externally imposed obligations from other levels of government.

In March 2017, the following five new positions were approved by Council for Public Works Services. These positions will be funded through the existing operating budget, and will not result in a property tax increase.

  • Water Technician
  • Utilities Maintenance Water I
  • Utilities Maintenance Water I

These three positions were created to meet new conditions for the City’s Water Permit with Island Health. The City’s water distribution system has been reclassified by the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) from a Class 1 Facility to a Class 4 Facility.  This is the highest level of classification for a water system, and has resulted in a number of mandated changes to the operation of our water system, including increased sampling, maintenance, and specialized water system operators.

  • Parks – Utility 1

The third-party review of staffing levels identified that the Parks division needed additional staff support, particularly with park and trail maintenance and repairs to reduce risks and liabilities.

  • Public Works Inspector

This position, previously left unfilled following a retirement, was reinstated. This position will inspect City streets and walkways to reduce the risks and liabilities associated with trip and fall hazards, among other duties.

These new positions, along with the 12 positions announced in April, are intended to correct an existing unsustainable staffing shortfall. These staff will support key elements of Council’s Strategic Priorities, including the City’s overall Asset Management Program. Investing in existing infrastructure today will help avoid unplanned, costly repairs in the future.