The Regional District of East Kootenay has adopted a five-year financial plan that carries an average taxation increase of 4.6 per cent for the 2020 operating budget.
“I would like to thank staff, the Board and the many other stakeholders who have been working for months on preparing this plan,” said Rob Gay, the RDEK board chair. “As a board and a region, we are always mindful of the need to provide quality service to our taxpayers while balancing the tax impacts. I believe we have maintained that balance in this budget.”
Individual tax rates for RDEK residents vary, depending on the municipality or electoral area where they live, according to an RDEK press release. On average, residential properties will see a $12 overall increase on the tax levy based on a $354,000 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,” said Gay.
For example, tax impacts project a decrease for properties in Fernie, but larger increases for the Columbia Valley. Tax calculations are expected to be completed by early April when revised assessed values are made available.
The 2020 operational budget totals $33,980,391, while additional capital spending is just under half of that amount.
Approximately $12.1 million is earmarked for capital projects such as connecting Windermere Water to a water treatment plant and upgrading the distribution system, the Hill Road dike project in Area A, construction of septage ponds in Area B, Timber Ridge / Eastside Water system looping project, completion of Phase 2 of the Fairmont Flood & Debris Control project, upgrades in Cold Spring Creek, and Phase 1 of the regional organics composting project.
Other budget highlights for the 2020 fiscal year include $60,000 in operational funding for the Fairmont Aiport, improvements to the Fairmont Transfer Station access road, establishment of Waldo Cove Park in Area B, replacement of the Canal Flats Arena chiller, archaeological mapping in the Area A Flood Control service boundary, and replacement of the Lazy Lake water diversion infrastructure.