Mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop continued her focus Delta’s finances this morning as she announced her third campaign pledge on the subject announcement.
At a news conference at the George Mackie Library, Bishop announced she was releasing a “fiscal framework” in advance of the election this October.
“As almost everyone knows, the City of Delta has an enviable fiscal record, and we are determined to keep it that way,” Bishop said at the announcement.
“It has been said that if you don’t know where you are going you might end up somewhere else,” she continued. “We know where we want to go, to make life even better for all Delta residents … To get there, our fiscal framework will serve as a useful guide.”
The framework, available in hard copy at the announcement, outlines the city’s annual expenses and revenue from 2011 to 2017 (the same time frame that Bishop has been a Delta councillor), and then projects the expected revenue and expenses from 2019 to 2022.
According to the document, Delta’s total surplus is expected to reach $63.7 million by 2022. This is $11.4 million over 2017. Total revenue is expected to reach a potential $326.9 million in 2022 (compared to $268.4 million in 2017) and expenses a potential $263.2 million (compared to $216.1 million in 2017).
This projection comes from the correlation of B.C.’s annual GDP growth and the City of Delta’s financial growth, as the GDP is a reflection, in part, of population growth, inflation and economic output.
The forecast, however, is predicated on a continuation of Delta’s current fiscal approach, which Bishop said was part of the reason she developed it.
“It is prudent for anyone standing for local office, particularly for council, to know about fiscal stability, fiscal resources and how things are managed,” she said. “Part of this exercise was getting to know that and understand that, and think about what we want to do for the future.”
Although Bishop didn’t identify any particular projects she would undertake if elected, she did say the projected surpluses are what allow municipalities to take on “wish list” projects, like wheelchair accessible elevators at the South Delta Recreation Centre and turf fields in North Delta.
It also allows municipalities to deal with emergency situations, like when the Ladner Recreation Centre wall collapsed in 2014 (reflected in that year’s smaller-than-usual surplus, according to Bishop’s fiscal framework).
The announcement marks the third finance-related commitment Bishop has made in her bid for mayor.
The first, made in early July, was a pledge that Bishop would publish the city’s Statements of Financial Information online. Currently, these statements are only available in through the city’s finance department and must be picked up in person at city hall.
One week later, Bishop promised she would create an economic development office at the city to attract more business to Delta. Although the city manager has the responsibility of overseeing business-related projects, and the Invest in Delta mayor’s standing committee provides guidance on economic development, Bishop believes this is not enough.
Bishop said those campaign promises, along with today’s announcement, show her commitment to maintaining Delta’s current financial position.
“When it comes to money, people really care,” she said. “They really care about how their tax dollars are spent, and they really care about what their perceived tax increases are.”
“This is the first time the mayor’s chair is open in 19 years, even though in past election it has been challenged,” she continued. “With change comes uncertainty and we want to convey that in this regard, there is certainty. There’s going to be stability, there’s going to be accountability, and we will govern with a steady hand when it comes to the city’s revenues and expenditures.”
Bishop is mayoral candidate for Team Delta, a slate that includes council candidates Robert Campbell, Simran Walia, Joan Hansen and Kim Kendall.
Also running for mayor is former Delta police chief Jim Cessford with the Independents Working for You slate, and former city manager George Harvie with Achieving for Delta.
The civic election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20.