The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Board of Directors has adopted its 2018-2022 Financial Plan.
The 2018 operating budget totals $30,543,324, which represents a 7% increase over last year. With many projects already funded, this results in a 1.3% increase in taxation. “Our Board and staff recognize the importance of balancing the provision of services with keeping taxes in line and I believe we are once again striking a good balance in this year’s budget,” says RDEK Chair Rob Gay.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between the numbers in the budget and the effect those numbers will have on individual tax rates. Residents of the RDEK will be affected differently, depending on the municipality or electoral area in which they live. On average, residential properties in the RDEK will see approximately a 0.5% overall decrease in their tax levy.
“Unlike a municipality that has one boundary and one set of taxpayers, different areas of the RDEK require different services and these are paid for only by the taxpayers of each specific service area,” explains Gay. “In addition, even though there may be increases in the requisition amount, new development in parts of the region can offset some of that impact on RDEK taxpayers.”
Tax calculations are expected to be complete by early-April when 2018 revised assessed values are available.
Highlights in the 2018 budget include a Solid Waste Management Plan Review and waste audit, along with increases in recycling and landfill operating costs. In addition to a grant of up to $300,000 to the Akisq’nuk First Nation for its indoor sports complex and a $130,000 grant to the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association for its proposed indoor sports facility, the budget includes funding for a new Elk Valley Transit bus, new staff positions, and new mobile inspection software that will help improve efficiency of building inspections. It also includes fulfillment of the $260,000 funding commitment to the Cranbrook Homeless Shelter Project, should the Province approve the project this year.
Some of the larger capital projects include completion of the West Fernie Service & Restructure Project; the Windermere Water Upgrade project and purchase of the water treatment plant; upgrades on the Lake Baptiste and Tie Lake dams; and, completion of Phases 1-4 of the Westside Legacy Trail and Fairmont Flood and Debris Flow Control Project. The total capital budget is $14,252,018.
The 5-Year Plan for 2018-2022 was formally adopted by the RDEK Board Friday at its March Board meeting. Copies of the plan are available online at www.rdek.bc.ca or by request through the RDEK’s Columbia Valley and Cranbrook offices.