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After completing its first review of the draft 2022-2026 Financial Plan, the Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors is now hoping to gather input from residents.
“The public comment period will end prior to our next board meeting and I encourage all residents of the East Kootenay to visit the project page, learn about more about the draft plan and how it will affect you,” says RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “The budgeting process begins in September with the RDEK staff, and there have been meetings with directors, stakeholders, commissions and more that have helped inform this Draft Plan. While those meetings will continue in the coming weeks, we also want to hear from the public and to get the community’s thoughts about our projects and services and the potential impact on property taxes.”
The Financial Plan lays out how tax dollars are being spent on the more than 100 services offered in the RDEK. There are a number of items of note in this year’s budget, including capital projects such as the Fairmont Flood & Debris Control Cold Spring Creek upgrades, improvements to the Windermere Water distribution system, solid waste transfer stations for Invermere and Radium, the implementation of the RDEK HR Plan, a new Hosmer Fire Hall, and the construction of a composting facility in each of the RDEK’s three subregions.
The draft 2022 operating budget proposes a 4.6% increase over last year, which works out to approximately $14 on an average $462,000 residential assessment. This includes a reduction of 1.7% from the offset of new assessments in the region. It is important to remember in the RDEK model, municipalities and electoral areas are all affected differently depending which RDEK services they receive. The 2022 operating budget is $38.2 million and the capital budget is just over $8.8 million.
“Year in and year out this Board and our staff work diligently to find a balance between providing quality services to our residents and being mindful of the tax impacts. As service level expectations increase, and the region continues to grow and evolve, this task becomes that much more challenging and I’m proud of the balance we have achieved in this year’s draft plan,” adds Gay. “Having the public’s feedback is an important next step in the process and we look forward to gathering their input over the coming weeks.” The public comment period is open until Noon on Monday, March 7, 2022.
Copies of the plan and comment forms are available on engage.rdek.bc.ca/budget and by request through the RDEK’s Cranbrook and Columbia Valley offices. The RDEK will be posting a budget “snapshot” this week that provides a condensed overview of the Draft Plan and some of the highlights for 2022.
The 5-Year Financial Plan is expected to be adopted at the March 11 Board Meeting.