The 2020 operating budget totals $33,980,391, which results in an increase in taxation, on average, of 4.6%. “I would like to thank staff, the Board and the many other stakeholders who have been working for months on preparing this plan,” says RDEK Chair Rob Gay. “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.”
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, residential properties in the RDEK will see approximately a $12 overall increase in their 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,” explains Gay. The tax impacts of this financial plan range from a decrease for properties in the City of Fernie to larger increases in the Columbia Valley.
Tax calculations are expected to be complete by early-April when 2020 revised assessed values are available.
The total 2020 capital budget is $12,126,248 and includes 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 1 of the regional organics composting project.
Some other highlights for 2020 include up to $60,000 in operational funding for the Fairmont Airport (subject to conditions), 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.
The 5-Year Plan for 2020-2024 was formally adopted by the RDEK Board Friday at its March Board meeting. Copies of the full plan along with a summary of the highlights will be available online Monday, March 9 at engage.rdek.bc.ca/budget or by request through the RDEK’s Columbia Valley and Cranbrook offices.