The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Board of Directors has adopted its 2019-2023 Financial Plan.
The 2019 operating budget totals $32,436,112, which results in a 3% increase in taxation over last year; however, with a 1.3% increase in new assessment, the net effect is an overall 1.7% increase. “This budget is the result of a lot of hard work by staff, the Board and other stakeholders,” says RDEK Chair Rob Gay. “We are committed to providing the region with needed services while being mindful of the impact to taxpayers and we’ve worked hard to maintain that balance in this budget.”
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 0.4% overall decrease in their tax levy based on a $335,000 assessment.
“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 2019 revised assessed values are available.
The total 2019 capital budget is $9,138,801 and includes the distribution system upgrades and connection of the Windermere Water System to the water treatment plant, Hill Road Dike project, construction of septage ponds in Area B, completion of the Baptiste Lake Dam upgrade for the community of Edgewater, a fire engine for Edgewater Fire, water tenders for Fairmont Fire and Windermere Fire, and completion of Phase 2 of the Fairmont Flood & Debris Flow Control project.
Some other highlights for 2019 include the establishment of a new park in the Waldo Cove area, safety upgrades for the Rosen Lake Water Level Control Service, server and software upgrades, and a new line item for the Employer Health Tax.
The 5-Year Plan for 2019-2023 was formally adopted by the RDEK Board Friday at its March Board meeting. Copies of the plan are available online at http://www.rdek.bc.ca or by request through the RDEK’s Columbia Valley and Cranbrook offices.