The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) met on March 3 and March 4, where a new Financial Plan for the years 2011-2015 was adopted.
The 2011 budget is $31.4 million, which represents an overall increase of three per cent over last year. This includes a number of items that are specific to certain service areas. When those items are set aside, the 2011 operating budget for services shared by most municipalities and electoral areas in the region, represents a 0.1 per cent decrease from 2010.
“The Board and staff have worked diligently to maintain service levels and keep increases to a minimum. I am pleased with the budget we’ve adopted,” said RDEK Board Chair, Scott Manjak, in an official news release.
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, rural residential properties in the RDEK will see approximately a five per cent overall decrease in their tax levy. Area A will see the largest decrease of 22 per cent, while increased property assessments have resulted in an average 3.7 per cent increase in Area B.
“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,” explained Manjak. “In addition, even though there may be increases in the requisition amount, new development in parts of the region will offset some of that impact on taxpayers.”
Tax calculations are expected to be complete by early April, when 2011 revised assessed values are available.
Highlights in the 2011 budget include the Fernie Landfill closure, a region wide wildfire protection plan for all rural areas, the RDEK Board Room project and Community Works Fund Trails Grant.
The 5-Year Plan for 2011-2015 was formally adopted by the RDEK Board during the meeting of March 4.
During the Columbia Valley Directors meeting on March 3, a new step towards the proposed review for a sub-region was introduced.
It was proposed that a workshop be held to “study the study”, and determine the extent of the scope.
“We need to narrow down specific items in the review,” said Electoral Area F Director Wendy Booth. “We need to tailor to what we think is important.”
The full-day workshop session would cost $2,850 including expenses, with the tentative dates being Match 28, March 29, or between April 5 to April 8.
“I’m hopeful that we would have some direction that day,” said Committee Chair Gerry Taft.