City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie releases financial information for 2021

The release of municipal financial information is a provincially-mandated requiremnt

The City of Fernie has released its Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) for the 2021 year, as required by provincial law.

The statements detail remuneration for elected officials and staff, as well as municipal expenses through the financial year, ensuring government transparency.

A look at the statements reveals that Fernie’s seven elected officials were paid $160,745 for 2021, of which Mayor Ange Qualizza was paid $40,186, and the six councillors were each paid $20,093.

Pay for elected officials barely moved between 2020 and 2021, with Mayor Qualizza only making $163 more than last year, while councillors only made $82 more – a difference of less than half a percent for their pay packets.

For staff, the city paid out a total of $6,283,925 in remuneration – of which $4,197,255 went to the 43 employees on payroll that earned more than $75K in 2021.

Of those 43, 16 made more than $100K, with the top-paid employee being (then) Acting Fire Chief Brendan Morgan, who earned $163,899 – a significant jump over the pay packet of his predecessor, Ted Ruiter, who earned $135K in 2020, and $129K in 2021. Ruiter resigned from the city during last year’s financial year. Morgan was paid $135K in 2020, when he was still employed as assistant fire chief.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Michael Boronowski earned $159,186 in 2021 – a slight dip from 2020, when he earned $160,647. CAO’s are typically the highest-paid municipal employees in a local government, with Boronowski’s equivalents in Sparwood and Elkford earning top spot in those municipalities.

All in, the city paid out $6,444,670 in remuneration for employees and elected officials in 2021.

SOFI documents are also required to include payments in total, and detail on payments to suppliers over $25K. The city paid $9,615,332.80 in total, of which $8,059,384.11 was made in payments above that threshold to 51 suppliers.

The largest supplier was B.C. Hydro, which the city paid $733,914.71 to.

Among other suppliers were Innova Strategy Group, who the city paid $32,776.80 for an external review of the city’s organizational structure. which was released in April this year.

READ MORE: External review of City of Fernie says much to be done to improve organization

Besides remuneration and suppliers, the SOFI documents also detailed payments in grants and contributions to community groups, of which the city paid $562,838.54 to seven groups that received more than than the $25K reporting threshold, and another $40,057.02 to groups that did not.

Groups paid more than $25K were the Chamber of Commerce ($130K to operate the Visitor Information Centre), the Fernie and District Arts Council ($41K, Arts Station), the Fernie Heritage Library (Fernie Library, $250K), the Fernie Historical Society (Fernie Museum, $51K) and the Fernie Senior Citizens Drop-In Centre ($27K). The Fernie Trails Alliance received $30K, as did the Fernie Volleyball Club.

The documents were approved by city council on June 13, and are available on the City of Fernie website for viewing. They will be filed with the provincial Ministry for Municipal Affairs.

READ MORE: Sparwood releases financial information for 2021
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