This has been an pretty interesting few months. I’ve worked with budgets in the past but trying to figure out over 150 service budgets plus three different water system fee schedules was a challenge and took an incredible amount of time. The Regional District budget is unique in that services are paid for by those who use them. For some services, the entire region collectively pays and for other services it could be just one part of one Area that pays. Below is a summary and here is the link to the budget in detail.
You may recall after the first budget reading on February 7th, Area “F” was certainly leading the pack for the highest tax increase. Since then I’ve spent a great deal of time with our Finance Department along with Community Services and Public Works and together we’ve developed a budget that allows for projects to move forward while remaining sensitive to the impact that increases have on taxpayers.
Our general government and electoral area administration line items have gone up around 10%. This is due, primarily, to bringing on more staff. Since the recession in 2007/2008, the Regional District was running a pretty lean ship. With limited staff, an increase in development and services provided along with the last few years of flooding and fires, staff at the RDOS have been under a great deal of pressure.
The Board agreed that we require more human resources and careful consideration of each new position was given. We have great staff at the RDOS and I am looking forward to welcoming the new staff members and getting back to some of the projects that were put on hold due to the ongoing emergencies. Some of the new positions include: Network Technician, Planner, Accountant, Emergency Services Coordinator and an increase in hours to our Communications Lead. All very worthy investments.
The greatest increase for the Greater West Bench area was fire protection. That line went up by 20% from $324,420 to $390,542. Now that budget season is over, I will follow up with Chief Watkinson around some of the issues raised at the community meeting and reach out Supt. De Jegar to meet the Area “F” liaison officer.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please let me know.
Director of Electoral Area "F"
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Click here to see more budget information.