While there will be a new Environmental Services Division at the City of Prince George, council will not move forward with a new climate change and energy coordinator position.
The position was part of a requested enhancement, which would cost $100,407 and the possibility of setting that amount back with grant funding.
The city would be able to obtain a BC Hydro grant, which would cover two years for up to $50,000 per year with staff researching additional grants to support this position.
However, when the enhancement for the position came down to a vote it was defeated by council during last night’s (Jan. 20) meeting.
“Looking at it, I’d be keen to move forward this year seeing how the department can function as a newly formed department,” said Coun. Kyle Sampson on why he would not support the enhancement.
“I’d be keen to see us pull that work forward with the resources we currently have and then reevaluate this next year if the need is still there.”
Coun. Cori Ramsay agreed.
“I realize there is grant money on the table, but I think it’s really important for us to not just jump at any grant money available. I really want to see how this department works and functions before we approve this enhancement.”
The cost of the Environmental Services Division itself, without the enhancement, is already factored into the 2.15 per cent tax increase the city is currently budgeting.
“As part of the realignment of the Engineering and Public Works Department to the Infrastructure and Public Works Department, administration determined that placing staff with environmental portfolios into a single division would enable those staff to more effectively and efficiently,” explained city manager Kathleen Soltis.
She explained most of the cost of the new department is carried over from the service categories those staff members were previously in.
The only additional costs associated with the division are the 2020 collective agreement salary increases of 1.75 per cent, amounting to $8,245.
The new division be overseen by the Manager of Environmental Services, who reports to the Director of Public Works.
Reporting to the Manager are two Environmental Coordinators, two Environmental Technicians and an Environmental Assistant.