The Regional District of East Kootenay has adopted its Financial Plan for the years 2014 – 2018.
The 2014 budget is $24.5 million, which represents an overall decrease of $218,000 from last year. This includes a number of items that are specific to certain service areas. When those items are set aside, the 2014 operating budget for services shared by most municipalities and electoral areas in the region, represents a 0.9% increase from 2013. “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,” says RDEK Vice Chair Wendy Booth.
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 0.3% overall increase in their tax levy.
“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 Booth. “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 RDEK taxpayers.”
Tax calculations are expected to be complete by early-April when 2014 revised assessed values are available.
Highlights in the 2014 budget include household hazardous waste round-ups, contribution to a reserve fund for waste diversion initiatives, Edgewater water upgrade, Spur Valley water upgrade, and repayment of a significant portion of the borrowing for the new Fernie transfer station.
The 5-Year Plan for 2014-2018 was formally adopted by the RDEK Board at its March board meeting on Friday, March 7.