Cranbrook adopts five-year financial plan

Municipal property tax rate to increase 3.97 per cent.

City hall formally adopted it’s Five-Year Financial Plan last week, which will see a projected 3.97 per cent increase to the general municipal property tax for an average residential property in Cranbrook.

The increase includes a one per cent Dedicated Road Improvement Tax, which was first introduced eight years ago and is earmarked specifically for road projects.

Utility and parcel tax rates will remain at 2018 levels, with an expected annual fee of $928.

The plan was approved at last week’s city council meeting.

For the 2019 fiscal year, Cranbrook projects to collect nearly $83 million in revenues from a number of sources such as municipal property taxes, sales of services and fees, transfers and collections from other governments.

Operating expenses expect to be $65.7 million, with additional capital expenses reaching $17 million for projects such as the Capital Roads Program, the Western Financial Place roof replacement and a ladder truck replacement for Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services.

Some carry forward projects from last year also include the RCMP Cellblocks and Booking Room renovations, flood mitigation planning, airport fibre optic, and more. The financial plan notes that those projects, totalling $5.7 million in spending — including $3 million for the arena roof replacement — are funded from reserves, surpluses and grants and will not impact the 2019 tax levy.

A report on options for fixing the roof at Western Financial Place is forthcoming, as the consultant who had completed a report on the matter will soon present his conclusions and recommended options to city council.

The building currently receives projected revenues of $918,000, but has operating expenses of $3 million, before debt payments of $1.5 million.

Transfers to reserve funds will total $4 million, while withdrawals of $8.3 million will be made to help fund projects such as the arena roof replacement, Capital Roads Program, and mobile equipment replacement.

Over the next five years, the city is planning to borrow $17.3 million for various capital projects such as the purchase of the old Tembec property in the industrial park at $2.9 million, a Water Treatment Plant & Distribution at $8.6 million.

The five-year plan began in planning sessions with city council and senior staff last fall, as each department presented its operating and capital work plans. No written feedback from the public was received when a draft of the plan was made public on Jan. 14.

A late amendment for $30,000 towards Cranbrook Tourism for 2019 only was made at the end of January.

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