The Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors is seeking public comment on its draft five-year financial plan. (Townsman file)

Regional District of East Kootenay draft 5-year financial plan open for review

The public comment period is open until noon on March 2

The Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors is seeking public comment on its draft five-year financial plan.

“The RDEK Board has completed its first review of the Financial Plan; however, the work on the plan is certainly far from complete,” explained RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay in a press release. “Staff will continue to meet with Directors, other municipalities, and various commissions over the coming weeks and a public comment period will be open until the first Monday in March.”

The Financial Plan lays out how tax dollars are being spent on the more than 100 services offered in the RDEK. There are a number of items to note in this year’s budget including connecting Windermere Water to the water treatment plant and upgrading 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 one of the regional organics composting project.

READ MORE: Shypitka updates RDEK on proposed provincial time changes

The draft 2020 operating budget proposes a 5.6% increase over last year, which works out to approximately $12 on an average $354,000 residential assessment. A 1.2% increase in new assessment in the region will help offset the overall impact. It is important to remember in the RDEK model, municipalities and electoral areas are all affected differently depending which RDEK services they receive. The 2020 operating budget is $34 million and the capital budget is $12.5 million.

“As a board, our focus is always on finding a responsible balance between providing quality services to our residents and minimizing the tax impacts. It is often a balancing act and we feel we have achieved a fair balance with this plan. The Plan will come back before the Board next month and we encourage people to let us know their thoughts through the public comment period,” said RDEK Chair Rob Gay.

The public comment period is open until noon on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Copies of the plan and comment forms are available on engage.rdek.bc.ca/budget and through its Cranbrook and Invermere offices. The RDEK will be posting a budget “snapshot” this week that provides a condensed overview.

The 5-Year Financial Plan is expected to be adopted at the March 6 Board Meeting.

READ MORE: RDEK rescinds support for proposed Cranbrook boundary expansion

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