City seeking feedback for draft five-year plan

Municipal taxes set to increase 2.88 per cent following fall budget dicussions

A draft five-year plan was approved by city council, which will move to a public consultation for the next ten days ahead of the final report to be presented in the new year.

The proposed plan sets a 2.88 per cent tax levy increase for average residential properties, which breaks down to a 1.88 net general tax increase along with the 1 per cent dedicated road tax.

According to the report, the BC Assessment Authority valued the average residential property in Cranbrook at $296,000 in 2019. Based on the assessed value, municipal taxes for 2020 are projected to be $2,275 for an average home, according to the city’s draft report.

Utility and parcel tax rates are expected to remain the same at $59.50 and $14 per taxable metre, respectively.

The municipal tax levy changed slightly during the budget discussions, rising slightly from an initially proposed 2.85 to 2.88 per cent increase.

Beyond finalizing tax rates, the draft five-year plan also lays the groundwork for some large capital projects on the horizon.

The 2020 Capital Roads projects is budgeted at $3.6 million, which is a slight decrease from $4.3 million invested in 2019. Capital Roads budget pre-approval was granted during a council meeting on Monday night to allow staff to issue tenders ahead of construction season, however, specific projects will be identified in the new year.

Industrial land development for properties formerly owned by Tembec are slated for $2.5 million in deep utility services installation next year. Additionally, $2.75 million has been earmarked for shallow services installation pending any development agreements with companies interested in leasing any parcels.

A previous plan that identified $8.8 million for shallow utility services was dropped after pushback from council during budget discussions a few weeks ago.

All told, the city is currently into the industrial lands for $9.3 million.

That includes the purchase price of $3 million, $5.7 million for land development such as remediation and services installation, as well as a few studies currently underway analyzing engineering, geotechnical, environmental and property value principles.

All industrial land development funding is coming from reserves or accumulated surpluses, according to the report. City staff also plans to pursue federal and provincial infrastructure grants and other funding partnerships.

Work continues on the Western Financial Place, as the contractor has capped sealed the pool and squash court roof structures, while the entire project, save for the arena barrel roof, is anticipated to wrap up by the end of this week.

The city had budgeted $2,7 million for the roof in 2019, funded largely through carry forward funds which are estimated to come in at just under that figure, but may change slightly when invoices are processed in January.

The city also earmarked $2.69 million for 2020 to tackle the arena barrel roof, some of which will come from building reserves. However, a healthy $1.26 million contribution will come from the federal Gas Tax, which was not previously available because the arena was home to a major junior hockey team.

All told, the city is expected to collect $90 million in revenue in 2020, $28 million of which to come from municipal property taxes. Operating expenses are projected to reach $68.7 million in 2020, while a further $22 million in capital expenses is expected for next year’s budget.

The draft five-year plan is posted on the city’s website and staff and council are inviting public feedback, which will be accepted up till Dec. 20.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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