Smithers staff are looking for a boost in their workforce to keep up with upcoming projects and demands, recommending an increase of 67 thousand dollars for new positions.
The finance committee decided to look at spending 40 thousand dollars in the first year to fund a part-time Development Services Clerk and a part-time Accounting Clerk, phasing the rest of the increases in later.
Some councillors voted against that idea, saying it isn’t an area that should be used to save money.
Mayor Taylor Bachrach, who agreed with phasing in the increases, says the 40 thousand will be on top of hiring a part-time project manager for the town costing around 90 to 100 grand.
“We’re looking at a really big year on the capital side – we have a lot of capital projects – the largest of which is the airport project – one of the biggest capital projects we’ve tackled in several decades,” says Bachrach.
The airport project is expected to take up 50 per cent of the new project manager’s time over the next year.
Bachrach says the the 67 thousand dollar request was a surprise, and doesn’t want to see tax rates go up more than they have to with budget increases.
“It’s certainly a big cost to bare in one year. So we are looking for some sort of a compromise that will keep that increase down as much as possible.”
Town staff says the part-time project manager position will be funded from the capital budget rather than from taxes.