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Public Consultation Begins on RDEK Five-Year Financial Plan

After completing its first review of the draft 2023-2027 Financial Plan, the Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors is now hoping to gather input from residents.

“The budgeting process at the RDEK is extensive, and started back in September with the RDEK staff working on the preliminary budget calculations.  Throughout the past two months, there have been meetings with Area Directors, stakeholders, commissions and others that have helped inform this year’s draft plan,” explains RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “Now that the Board has been able to review the draft, the next critical step in the budget process is getting it out to the public and gathering comments and feedback from residents 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. Some of the capital projects included in the Financial Plan for 2023 include: the Fairmont Flood & Debris Control Cold Spring Creek upgrades (100% grant funded); a new waste transfer station in Radium Hot Springs; the construction of a new composting facility in each of the RDEK’s three subregions; initial steps toward a new fire hall for the Hosmer Fire Protection area (100% funded); and, three upgrade projects on the East Side Lake Windermere Water system.

The draft 2023 financial plan proposes an overall taxation increase of 9.5% over last year, which works out to approximately $31 on an average $536,000 residential assessment. This includes a reduction of 2% recognizing the contribution from new assessments in the region. In the regional district model, municipalities and electoral areas are all affected differently depending on which RDEK services they receive and these totals impact only the RDEK line item on tax notices, not the overall tax bill.

The draft 2023 operating budget is $41.3 million and the capital budget is just over $16.8 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 13, 2023

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” to that site February 21, 2023 that provides a condensed overview of the Draft Plan and some of the highlights for 2023.

Final decisions on the 5-Year Financial Plan will take place at the March 16 Committee Meetings with adoption at the March 17 Board Meeting.


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