By David F. Rooney
City Council is asking for public comment on its draft of the 2016-2020 Financial Plan that includes a Class 1 (residential) tax increase of 2% for 2016 with a 1% increase for all other classes except Class 2, which sees a tax hike of 4.6%. This means an average property tax increase of 1.72% across the board.
An earlier version of this story that appeared on Tuesday incorrectly said that only the Class 2 rate was being raised. The information in this story is correct.
Utility rates are also going up. Water is increasing by 2.6%, sewer by 4.1% and garbage collection by 2% this year. Those rates are forecast to continue increasing over the next four years as well.
The City is expected to have revenues of $23.63 million this year and expenses of $21.72 million yielding a surplus of $1.91 million.
As with any major budget there are lots and lots of numbers in this document. But if you don’t want to wade through them an executive summary of the plan is available for reading on the City’s website.
“While the City welcomes comments and suggestions from the public at any time, the deadline for submissions regarding the financial plan is February 17,” Dawn Levesque, director of Corporate Administration, said in a statement.
She said members of the public can submit written comments on the plan to:
Mayor and Council
City of Revelstoke
Box 170, Revelstoke, BC, V0E 2S0
They can also send them by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Specific questions about the plan can be sent to Finance Director Graham Inglis at email@example.com.
While the document contains the pages and pages of numbers you expect, it also contains a detailed executive summary that explains how and why the City expects to spend your taxes. Here are some of the highlights:
- Spending on capital projects over the next five years will amount to about $42 million;
- Long-term debt increases to about $23 million at the end of 2020;
- Water projects include the replacement of water filters at the filtration plant ($615,000) in 2019 and the construction of a water supply to Thomas Brook residents ($650,000) in 2016. The Thomas Brook project is to be funded by long-term borrowing and paid for under a Local Area Service (LAS) by its users;
- The Thomas Brook sewer connection is included at $320,000 in 2016 and this, too, financed by the local users; and
- A replacement arena roof is included in the plan at $7 million (2020) to be funded by long-term borrowing. There are several options available to Council regarding the arena roof providing less expensive alternatives but with varying degrees of lifespan. The financial plan contains the most expensive and longest life expectancy option at the moment.
There is more, of course, and some of the considerations and spending priorities will doubtless delight some and anger others. But no matter where you stand regarding this document you should tell Council what you think about it. Revelstokians’ comments, as expressed in writing to Mayor McKee and our six City Councillors, will be taken into account when the budget returns to the Council table later this month for final consideration.