The City of Revelstoke’s draft financial plan calls for a tax increase of two percent for 2015, with no new borrowing scheduled and an operating surplus of about $1 million.
The five-year financial plan was posted to the City of Revelstoke website Wednesday afternoon in advance of a special council meeting this Friday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. The draft can be read at the end of this article.
The plan calls for a two per cent tax increase on almost all property classes, except major industrial, which will see its taxes decrease by 6.99 per cent.
Water and sewer rates are scheduled to increase by 4.3 per cent, while garbage fees will go up by two per cent. Water rates are scheduled to rise to $575 by 2019 to pay for capital costs.
The plan calls for an increase in operating expenses to $21,941,558 in 2015, from the $21,074,107 that was budgeted last year.
The list of scheduled capital projects includes $7 million to replace the arena roof in 2017 and $4.5 million to move the sewer outflow to the Columbia River from the Illecillewaet River.
Significantly, it calls for $1,735,000 to be spent on city hall renovations over the next four years. The financial plan calls for $800,000 to be borrowed from the city’s land sale reserve in 2015 to help pay for the renovations, money that would be paid back, with interest over the following four years.
Last year’s budget pegged the cost of renovations at $800,000.
Other capital projects in the five-year capital plan for 2015 are:
— $1.2 million in 2019 to expand the sewage treatment plant;
— $1 million from 2016–19 for various fire flow projects;
— $1 million over the next four years to replace the Downie force main;
— $650,000 in 2016 to bring water to the Thomas Brook area;
— $550,000 in 2015 to replace the water main that heads across the Illecillewaet River to Arrow Heights;
— $500,000 in 2016 to replace a fire truck;
— $300,000 over the next five years to replace fire hydrants;
— $225,000 in 2016 to replace the water tender;
— $130,000 in 2015 for a washroom in Kovach Park;
— $50,000 over the next two years for the skateboard park
— $17,000 in 2015 for the pump track in Centennial Park.
The plan calls for no new long-term debt in 2015 and 2016, but requires borrowing in 2017 to pay for the arena roof.
The city plans on spending $2 million on road reconstruction over the next five years, which is at a lower rate than the roads are being consumed, which adds to the infrastructure deficit.
The plan also calls for the city to draw from its reserves to meet its costs. It pegs the amount in reserves at about $5 million at the end of 2014, but shows the city will be taking more out its reserves than it will be putting in for the next two years.
“The funding gap in 2015 needs to be eliminated or narrowed considerably if the city is to maintain and build its reserve funds effectively,” the financial plan states.
The draft financial plan concludes by noting uncertainty in forecasting revenue continues due to assessment appeals.
“The pressure to deal with an ever increasing burden of capital projects as our infrastructure is consumed places acute stress on our limited resources,” states the conclusion. “This is particularly evident in the water function where significant rate increases are anticipated in later years in order to meet the costs of capital projects.
“In order to ensure that tax and rate increases are maintained at reasonable levels it will be necessary to continue to critically review both capital projects and service levels.”
The Times Review will have reaction to the financial plan following Friday’s council meeting.