The 2015 budget is $27.1 million, which represents an overall increase of $2.3 million from last year. This includes a number of items that are specific to certain service areas. When those items are set aside, the 2015 operating budget for services shared by most municipalities and electoral areas in the region, represents a 0.9% decrease from 2014. “The Financial Plan process is a detailed, in depth process that begins in October and involves detailed meetings and consultation,” says RDEK Chair Rob Gay. “This year’s budget strikes a good balance and I’d like to thank the staff and our Board for their work on it.”
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, rural residential properties in the RDEK will see approximately a 0.2% overall decrease in their tax levy.
Residential properties in the Columbia Valley Subregion will notice an average increase of 6.9% due largely to increased costs in the recreation services including contributions to the new Multi-Use Centre in Invermere, roof replacement of the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena and new Zamboni for the Canal Flats arena.
“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 2015 revised assessed values are available.
Highlights in the 2015 budget include a new fire service for the community of Elko; upgrades to the Spur Valley, Edgewater and Windermere Water Systems; Fernie Servicing & Restructure Project (Phase 1); and, Fairmont Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project (Phase 1).
The 5-Year Plan for 2015-2019 was formally adopted by the RDEK Board on Friday at its March Board meeting.