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 and it has now been posted for the public to look over and comment on,” explains RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “In addition to the public comment period, RDEK staff will continue to meet with Directors, other municipalities, and various commissions over the coming weeks to gather additional input on the draft plan.”
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 of note in this year’s budget, including capital projects such as upgrades to the Windermere Water distribution system, the Hill Road dike project in Area A, Phase 1 construction on the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project, South Country Aquifer/Elko Sinkholes Project, a new cell at the Central Subregion Landfill, renovations to the Hosmer Fire Hall, and Phase 1 of the regional organics composting project to establish a composting facility in each of the RDEK’s three subregions.
The draft 2021 operating budget proposes a 3.21% increase over last year, which works out to approximately $9 on an average $379,000 residential assessment. This includes a reduction of 1.6% from the offset of new assessments in the region. It is important to remember in the RDEK model, municipalities and electoral areas are all affected differently depending which RDEK services they receive. The 2021 operating budget is $37.7 million and the capital budget is just over $13 million.
The average residential taxpayer in Electoral Area A will notice a 0.8% INCREASE ($2*) in their RDEK taxes this year.
Area A Highlights:
• Completion of Hill Road Dike Project – $1,054,722
(75% funded from UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund grant).
• Reserve contributions for future asset management of the dike will start in 2022.
• 1% tax increase for the Hosmer Fire Service and Upper Elk Valley Fire Service
• $500,000 has been allocated for construction of two bays and renovations at the Hosmer Fire Hall – which will be 100% funded by an Elk Valley Tax Sharing grant.
• An estimated 7.1% increase for Fernie Rural Fire Protection Service.
• A $450,000 grant will be given to the City of Fernie for future construction/renovations to its Fire Hall. The funding comes from and Elk Valley Tax Sharing grant.
• Area A Flood Control taxation continues to be offset by a negative tax in Area A Septage, with reductions in tax proceeds expected starting in 2022.
• $840,000 has been allocated from the Electoral Area portion of the Elk Valley Tax Sharing Agreement for the Lynch Road Intersection Project.
See the Five Year Summary here: 21.02.12_Five_Year_Plan_SUMMARY
“Every year our Board and staff work hard to ensure we are striking a balance between providing quality services to our residents and being mindful of the tax impacts. During this pandemic, there is some uncertainty in terms of what service delivery will look like for 2021, so that has added an additional challenge for us this year,” adds Gay. “I’d like to acknowledge the hard work that has gone into this draft plan. I believe it strikes a good balance and we are looking forward to hearing the public’s thoughts.” The public comment period is open until 9:00 AM on Monday, March 1, 2021.
Copies of the plan and comment forms are available on engage.rdek.bc.ca/financialplan and by request through its Cranbrook and Columbia Valley offices. The RDEK will be posting a budget “snapshot” early next week that provides a condensed overview.
The 5-Year Financial Plan is expected to be adopted at the March 5 Board Meeting.