Budget 2014

Council has adopted the 2014 budget and 2015-2018 Financial Plan and the Tax Rate Bylaw.

The 2014 budget totals $31.99 million, a reduction from $32.5 million in 2013, and operating costs total $19.69 million. Operating costs have been reduced by $388,000, while levels of service will remain unchanged. For the third year in a row, the budget does not contain any long-term or short-term borrowing, and there are no changes to the water and sewer utility rates.

The budget and financial plan reflect Council’s commitment to the improvement of City streets in a strategic and fiscally responsible manner and its commitment to long-term strategic financial management. A 3% tax revenue increase will see 1% go to addressing inflationary costs, and 2% toward future pavement management projects.

The financial plan calls for this annual tax revenue increase of 2% to provide a stable source of revenue towards annual roadway projects that addresses the infrastructure deficit in the community. The funding of capital roadway projects will be a combination of the dedicated tax levy, reserve account transfer and potentially future short term borrowing as required.

The budget and financial plan address three objectives to support the City’s goals to operate an efficient and self-sufficient municipality while maintain a well-serviced, safe, livable, and sustainable community:

1)    A long-term financial management strategy, which includes addressing the annual rate of inflation, and increase reserve account balances;

2)    A long-term pavement management program, whereby streets prioritized in a pavement management study will be improved in a strategic and fiscally responsible manner;

3)     Establishment of core and non-core service levels for activities and programs that harmonize the diverse needs of all residents, businesses, and visitors with fiscal priorities and limitations.

The tax revenue increase would mean an additional $23.47 per $100,000 of assessed value for the residential rate class, an additional $63 per $100,000 for the business rate class, and $340 per $100,000 for the major industry rate class. The City receives 39% of its tax revenue from the residential class, 26% from the Business class, 23% from Major Industry, and 12% from other rate classes (Light Industry/Utilities/Farm Rec-Non Profit).

A home assessed at $300,000 will pay $1,765.50 for the municipal portion of property taxes, which is roughly 51% of the total tax bill. A business assessed at $500,000 will pay $6,355 for the municipal portion of property taxes. The City also collects taxes on behalf of the province and the Cariboo Regional District.

Highlights from the $12.3 million capital budget include repaving portions of 2nd and Pigeon Avenues, and reconstruction of Borland Street between 4th and 7th Avenues, and a pedestrian underpass linking the River Valley and Stampede grounds trail systems. The pedestrian underpass project will be funded completely by senior government grants and funding programs. There are also $1.7 million in sewer system projects and $1.1 million in water system projects. A list of capital projects are attached to this release.

Assessment growth accounted for $90,964 in additional revenue for the City. The tax rate increase will add another $336,106.

“This budget again demonstrates Council’s commitment to smart planning for the future,” says Mayor Kerry Cook. “We accomplished the South Lakeside paving and widening project without borrowing because of previous planning, so we know laying the groundwork for the future is the best way to address the City’s $50 million infrastructure debt without borrowing from our taxpayers. We are planning ahead to maintain streets each year according to a pavement management plan before they deteriorate further, and at a much higher cost.”

“Council and staff have done their due diligence by finding $388,000 in efficiencies to reduce the operating budget. While a tax increase may not be popular, it is the sustainable, strategic way to address our needs responsibly, without saddling future Councils with depleted reserves and additional long-term debt.”