Every year, as required by Provincial legislation, the District adopts a Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw which serves as the district's budget. This includes Operating Budgets and Capital Project. (Council approved this years plan on May 9, 2016).
Each year the municipality is faced with the challenge of balancing the budget.
While a municipality can incur a debt to pay large capital projects it cannot borrow or mortgage to fund day to day operations the same way that other levels of government can. This is a key difference as it means that the municipality must rely on revenue sources to cover off all expenses for the year.
Careful review is used to balance the level of services expected by the community with ability to pay through reasonable taxation and user fees. In doing this the district moves towards its Strategic Planning Goals, which closely relate to the District's Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).
Following deliberation over a series of budget meetings, Council approved a 2% general tax increase for every residential property in the District for 2016. Significant increases in the fire tax levy were also approved to achieve superior shuttle accreditation and to ensure long term fire infrastructure renewal, the costs of which are expected to be offset by home insurance savings by residents, depending on their particular circumstances.
The following capital projects were approved by Council or direction was given to incorporate them into the financial plan:
Community Signboards - $10,000
Superior Shuttle Accreditation
Twin Flower Park
Twin Flower Park/West Fire Hall Water Treatment
District Hall Plumbing upgrade
Fire Department Equipment
Riding Ring Fence
Heritage Park Upgrades
Heritage Park Society
District Hall – New Boiler
West Fire Hall Siding
Roadside Trail Routes Engineering
Community Garden Development
District Hall Storage
Audio/Visual Equipment - Community Hall
Council gave detailed consideration to the District’s tax policy making some changes to how taxes are apportioned, building on the tax policy set in 2015. The 2016 tax policy is as follows:
Council undertook a detailed review and analysis of the District’s Tax Policy in 2015. Past practice of maintaining the same impact within each property class in each year had ultimately created an unintended result of changing the relationship of tax rates between the various property classes. Key objectives of the Tax Policy for 2015 carried forward were to:
Establish a relationship between the property classes that is more consistent with the District’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and Council’s Strategic Priorities.
Phase in the impacts of the change over a period of four years to balance the year to year impacts on the affected property classes.
Utilize a multiple based system of tax apportionment to establish an overall 2% lift in general municipal taxes for residential properties and the necessary lift for fire purposes to achieve superior shuttle accreditation. Multiples clarify a specific relationship of tax contribution between the property classes; therefore, make changes in 2016 to increase multiples in Class 5 (Light Industry) and Class 6 (Business), while maintaining the 2015 multiples for the other property classes.
Continue with the intention set out in 2015 to achieve further change by phasing in by 2018, a multiple of 4.8for Class 5 (Light Industry) and 4.4 for Class 6 (Business), while maintaining the multiples from 2015 through to 2018 for the other property classes.
Continue to annually review and analyze the impacts of the tax apportionment.