The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is looking for input on their draft 2022-26 Five-Year Financial Plan before it is expected to be adopted at the March 11 board meeting.
RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay asks residents to visit the project page and learn about the draft plan before the public comment period ends.
“The budgeting process begins in September with the RDEK staff, and there have been meetings with directors, stakeholders, commissions and more that have helped inform this draft plan,” Gay said in a press release. “While those meetings will continue in the coming weeks, we also want to hear from the public and to get the community’s thoughts about our projects and services and the potential impact on property taxes.”
The plan lays out how tax dollars are spent on more than 100 services across the regional district.
The budget includes items such as capital projects, solid waste and transfer stations, human resources, and construction.
The draft 2022 operating budget proposes a 4.6 per cent increase over last year, the RDEK says, which works out to approximately $14 on average for residential assessments of $462,000.
“It’s important to remember in the RDEK model, municipalities and electoral areas are affected differently depending which RDEK services they receive,” the regional district explained.
The 2022 operating budget is $38.2 million and the capital budget is just over $8.8 million.
The RDEK has summarized expenditures in the draft plan, with 20 per cent going towards protective and emergency services, seven per cent to utilities, eight per cent to development and transit, and 13 per cent to administration. Seven per cent is allocated for recreation and culture, 18 per cent for solid waste, eight per cent for recycling, 13 per cent to municipal debt payments, and 6 per cent to other services.
Overall in 2022 there is a proposed 6.7 per cent increase in total taxes collected. The RDEK says that the 1.7 per cent increase in new assessment will lessen the overall impact for shared services to a proposed increase of 4.6 per cent.
Property taxes for 2022 have increased at a total of $21,241,918. 2021 property taxes were $19,837,121.
Some of the larger capital projects in the coming year include:
• Fairmont Flood and Debris Flow Mitigation – Cold Spring Creek Upgrades
• South Country Aquifer and Elko Sinkholes Project (grant dependent)
• Windermere Water – Distribution System Upgrade
• Hosmer Fire – Construction of new fire hall (Area A’s portion of the Elk Valley Tax Sharing Grant)
• Organics Composting Facilities (Elk Valley, Central and Columbia Valley Subregions)
• Edgewater Connectivity Project – Phase 1
“Year in and year out this board and our staff work diligently to find a balance between providing quality services to our residents and being mindful of the tax impacts. As service level expectations increase, and the region continues to grow and evolve, this task becomes that much more challenging and I’m proud of the balance we have achieved in this year’s draft plan,” said Gay. “Having the public’s feedback is an important next step in the process and we look forward to gathering their input over the coming weeks.”
The public comment period is open until noon on Monday, March 7, 2022. Copies of the plan and comment forms are available online at engage.rdek.bc.ca/budget or in-person, by request, through the Cranbrook and Columbia Valley RDEK offices.
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