Revelstoke Committee of the Whole votes to table three per cent tax increase so far

Council will vote on a one per cent capital increase and a two per cent core budget increase

The Committee of the Whole voted to move forward with a core operating budget increase of two per cent and a capital spending budget increase of one per cent at last week’s budget meetings.

City staff were requesting a three per cent core operating budget increase and a two per cent capital spending increase, however, some councillors expressed concerns with how they could sell a five per cent property tax increase to the public when this would cover no new services and inflation remains near the two per cent mark.

“I think from a governance perspective we shouldn’t be asking for more than two per cent on core and I would like to challenge our managers to be creative and not cut services and make that work,” said Steven Cross, councillor.

The staff’s three per cent ask could be broken down into a 1.9 per cent budget increase and a 1.1 per cent increase to reserve contributions that covered both the two per cent annual increase to reserves that was implemented last year as well as a 0.5 per cent increase to the Transportation Infrastructure Reserve that is used to operate and replace the city’s equipment.

Tania McCabe, director of finance for the city, said that the reserve increases are meant to decrease the city’s need to borrow so that the borrowing capacity can be used for “good debt” projects, such as matching government grants.

“Allowing room in our ability to borrow for those kind of opportunities is wise which means then that we should try to avoid borrowing for other things like road rehabilitation or replacing equipment,” she said. “That is what this budget is looking at, is not borrowing for those kind of things but saving our borrowing capacity so that when the opportunities arise we actually can borrow to fund them.”

However, council voted to increase the core operating budget by only two per cent, allowing McCabe and city staff to decide how they will be making that work. Councillors Cross, Rob Elliott, Cody Younker and Jackie Rhind voted in favour with Mayor Gary Sulz, Michael Brooks-Hill and Nicole Cherlet opposed.

McCabe said she would likely be decreasing the contributions to reserves to make up for the shortfall.

At the following budget meeting staff outlined the capital projects plan and asked for a two per cent tax increase in order to build up the General Capital Reserve as well as the Transportation Infrastructure Reserve.

The General Capital Reserve funds everything from sport field rehabilitation to street light upgrades and the Transportation Infrastructure Reserve funds everything from traffic light inspections to bridge maintenance and renewal.

McCabe said that if the taxes weren’t increased city managers would have to sit down and choose which projects to defer.

Costly projects coming down the line include paving and road maintenance, stormwater rehabilitation and renewal, upgrades at Williamson Lake, boiler replacement at the museum and many many other ongoing and one time cost projects that maintain the city’s current infrastructure.

However city council voted to bring before council only a one percent increase, to be divided as city staff see fit, with Cross, Brooks-Hill, Rhind and Elliott in favour and Sulz and Cherlet opposed. Younker was not in attendance.

At the next budget meeting city council will be looking at the “asks” from the city departments that would increase service levels provided by the city. With each approved ask, property taxes would increase.

These asks include a communications and engagement officer, a manager of development services, another general duty RCMP constable and an increased contribution to the golf course, among other things totaling six per cent in additional taxes.


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke Screen Smart: Tips on talking to your kids

Social media has long lasting impacts

Stoked on Science: Rocks of Revelstoke

How the beginnings of mountains started

Liam’s lowdown: Fall eats

If you hangout with people that do not cook, find new friends

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Sept. 19

Jack Snoddy Museum Assistant 120 Years Ago, Revelstoke Herald, September 20, 1899… Continue reading

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Most Read