Revelstoke City Council is proposing a six per cent increase to property taxes this year.
For the average home, valued around $495,000, that will be an annual increase of around $100, said Tania McCabe, director of finance for the city.
Of the proposed tax increase, 4.5 per cent is to cover a $500,000 decrease in revenue due to Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s successful property assessment appeal last year. Though the city had put aside funds to pay back what they owe the resort, McCabe said that reserve fund makes up for past but not current taxes.
The other 1.5 per cent is to increase contributions to two of the city’s reserve funds. Though there were some increased expenses in the different city departments, increased revenues projected for 2020 covered the increased expenses.
With some major infrastructure projects on the horizon, council voted to increase contributions to the general capital reserve fund by $57,500, which represents 0.5 per cent of the property tax increase.
“We are at the point where we [automatically] push out capital projects so that there is nothing extra,” said Dawn Low, CAO for the city. “Everything that we are doing now is falling under maintenance. We are maintaining service levels, we are not adding new things to the capital budget. It is a pretty lean budget.”
In 2020 the city is planning to replace the chiller in the arena, a nearly $400,000 project and in 2024 the condenser needs replacing, which is an estimated $330,000. In 2022 the community centre will need a new back up generator, which will come in at around $170,000. At the museum, the boiler will be replaced in 2020, costing around $140,000. All of these projects will be paid with money from the general capital reserve fund.
In the engineering and public works capital budget, big expenses to come out of the general capital reserve fund in the next five years include $345,000 in 2021 for a new sand shed, $115,000 coverall for the Jordan Pit in 2022, $270,000 for sidewalk and curb rehabilitation in 2020, with another $250,000 in 2024, $140,000 for stormwater design work and $150,000 for stormwater rehabilitation and renewal.
The vehicle and equipment reserve fund will also be seeing a $115,773 contribution increase, which accounts for the other one per cent increase in property taxes. McCabe proposed that this increase be a short term injection, until 2024, to the reserve fund in order to cover upcoming equipment costs.
In the next five years, the city will need to replace around $4.8 million worth of equipment. In 2020 they will be replacing a blower attachment for a loader which will come in at around $200,000, a trackless (sidewalk plow) which will cost around $200,000, a cube van at $75,000, a pickup/SUV at $60,000, a mower at $100,000, a recycler at $155,000, a double drum packer at $45,000 and a pickup broom loader attachment at $35,000.
McCabe also asked that council increase contributions to the transportation infrastructure reserve fund, by $230,000, which would be a two per cent property tax increase. Council approved the increase, which will take affect in 2021.
“If we delay the building of the reserve fund, the increases needed to built it to where we need it to be are going to have to be much larger,” McCabe said.
City staff have identified around $1.5 million in pavement patching and repairs projects over the next five years, as well as almost $5.2 million in road rebuilding projects and another $1 million for bridge rehab and renewal.
The proposed budget will be presented to the public for feedback and go to the province before it is adopted as a bylaw.