Rivercorp asks council for big increase

Economic 'arm' of Campbell River wants $292,000 more this year when city faces $3.6-million budget shortfall

Rivercorp made its budget presentation to city council last week – asking for help to erase a deficit.

Rivercorp, which was criticized by councillors last year for not producing, plans on turning over a new leaf.

“Since I arrived in Campbell River last summer, the Rivercorp board and I have diligently worked to turn the organization around,” said Vic Goodman, Rivercorp CEO. “We would like to establish a full business retention program, invest in the potential for new green energy opportunities, coastal agricultural, complete a geological survey to attract mining investment to the region, and work to re-build Campbell River’s industrial base.”

Goodman said Rivercorp is facing a 2012 budget shortfall and asked the city for a $292,625 increase over last year’s budget to balance the books. The city meanwhile is struggling with its own $3.6 million deficit.

At the city budget meeting, Goodman had difficulty articulating just how much Rivercorp, the city’s economic development body, was looking for in total.

He said Rivercorp was looking to add two more staff positions this year – an economic development officer ($53,663 per year to introduce full-scale business retention and expansion program) and a development researcher ($41,111 a year to support economic development).

But council was confused.

“I’m not sure what exactly you’re asking of the city,” said Coun. Claire Moglove. “It says you have a shortfall of about $290,000. Is that what you’re asking from the city? Last year the city’s contribution was $492,000 and you’re asking for an additional $292,000?”

Goodman said that was correct but Mayor Walter Jakeway wanted a more concrete figure.

“Could you tell me what the number is you’re actually looking for for 2012?” Jakeway asked.

Goodman said Rivercorp was looking for $292,000 more than what was budgeted for 2011.

Goodman said he hadn’t actually done the math so didn’t know what the exact number was.

Jakeway asked Goodman to send him an e-mail with “what the number really is.”

Goodman sent a letter to council last Wednesday, the day after the budget presentation, saying Rivercorp is requesting a total budget of $784,625 for 2012.

Last year the city contributed $535,030 to the Rivercorp budget but of that, $43,000 was returned to the city for failing to produce on a Downtown Marketing plan.


Campbell River Mirror