Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Yesterday was the first reading of the 2019 Budget. The second reading will be February 7th with the third and final reading on March 7th. As I mentioned in my last post, CFO John Kurvink has offered to co-host community meetings with Area Directors. Yesterday, I confirmed January 28th (Monday) at 6:00 pm with our CFO and our new Community Policing Coordinator.
Once we have confirmation from SD67 that we can use the school, I will send out confirmed information to the Area about the meeting.
A separate meeting for Faulder/Meadow Vally/North Beach residents is in the works. Date TBC.
The budget, as it is stands, is available on the RDOS website. We have a month, as an Area, to review the budget and adjust if needed.
As a quick overview, Regional Districts have separate budgets for each service. This ensures that only those who benefit from the service, pay into the service. In most cases, the 138+ services fall under three 'umbrellas'.
Regional Services - Services that the region as a whole (Areas and municipalities) pay into. For example, 911 Call System, Emergency Planning, and Regional Trails. Every property (rural and municipal) pays into this.
Rural Services - Majority of rural Areas (not municipalities) participate in these services. For example, Building Inspection and Electoral Area Administration.
Local Services - Services where only those properties within an Area that receive the service, pay into the service. Water systems as an example, Faulder residents do not pay into West Bench Water Capital. Sage Mesa doesn't contribute to the Faulder Water System. Another example is the Recreation Centre Cost Sharing fee, only Greater West Bench pays into that fee and not North Beach or Meadow Valley.
It is reported that the taxes of Area "F" are increasing by 15%. However, it will depend on which Local Services you pay into.
Overall, Regional Services (the services that all Areas and municipalities pay into) is set to increase across the region. When there is an emergency, RDOS staff set aside their 'daily' duties to attend to the emergency. With three years of ongoing (and long-lasting) emergencies (floods in the spring, fires in the summer) there is a need to invest in the Region's emergency response preparedness. Much of this increase is going towards closing that gap with additional resources. In 2018, Area "F" paid $310,278 for Regional Services. 2019 budget is $339,290 (an increase of $29,012 or 9.5%).
Services Areas Budget (so only properties within Area "F" who receive the service, pay for the service) will see increases such as:
Water System (just Faulder pays) up from $140,304 in 2018 to $172,929 in 2019.
Fire Protection (Greater West Bench pays) up from $324,420 to $390,542.
Another part of the budget is the Area "F" Director budget. The greatest increase is the Parks and Recreation Commission. In 2018 we invested $116,358 into Parks and Rec. 2019, there is $143,882 budget. This pays for parks improvements, maintenance and our shared Recreation Coordinator. Note that the 2019 amount is without provincial or federal grants. If a grant comes in, some of the budgeted money could be carried forwarded into 2020.
We also have a Rural Projects line item. This pays for area specific projects (for example the security pilot project). I am meeting with Zoe Kirk (Projects Coordinator for Public Works) who manages 'special projects'. In the past, dealing with the wild horses, rats, pests, invasive plants falls under her domain and funds come from 'rural projects'. I need to learn a bit more from Zoe before I work on that line item.
Hopefully, that helps to clarify (somewhat) the budget. Happy to chat further if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-488-0246. As soon as I hear back from SD67, I will send out the information about the community meeting. Again, the meeting will include a discussion with Community Policing and 2019 Budget.
Here is the link to the 2019 Budget
Have a great weekend,