Crunching the numbers: Castlegar budget 2010

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
March 31st, 2010

The rationale behind Castlegar’s proposed 2010 budget and five-year financial plan, as it pertains to Celgar in particular and the city’s economic development strategy in general, have been much-discussed, but there were also some key numerical values underlined at public consultation meetings over the [past few days.

The first, perhaps most important, number for local taxpayers is 6.9 per cent – the amount residential taxes are expected to increase this year, with no further increases recommended in the five-year financial plan.

Municipal (city) taxes are actually going up 16.5 per cent, but the city bill only accounts for about 38 per cent of the overall property tax bill – school district, regional district, health district and other taxation jurisdictions account for the rest, and they’re not seeing as steep a hike, so the toal increase sits at 6.9 per cent. The city increase will work out to about $97 for an average Castlegar home, while the overall increase will be roughly $114.

The city has reduced major industry taxation by 16.5 per cent and will cut $180,000 from its operational budget while shifting $300,000 of the major industry tax burden to its residential tax base.

How they will make this happen was outlned by city director of financial services Andre Buss, as follows:

“ Almost $180,000 in budget cuts have been incorporated into the (2010) budget. Some budget cuts include:

  • Legislative and general administration reductions of $85,800. This includes a reduction of $15,000 for community grants and $45,000 for casual assistance;
  • Protective services: $14,250;
  • Transportation and civic works: $14,800;
  • Planning and development: $41,000;
  • Recreation and culture services: $17,000;
  • Service levels will be reviewed and adjusted where possible; and council has elected to reduce staff numbers, by attrition, by not filling a heavy equipment operator position. Use of overtime will also be reduced and casual assistance for both City Hall and Public Works will be curtailed.”

In terms of the deal with Celgar, Buss said this,

“ The city’s plan would result in a 16.5-per-cent reduction in major industry taxes by 2012, and subject to the city’s ability to generate new revenues, additional savings that would result in total reductions of approximately 20 per cent over the life of the five-year financial plan. In 2010, property taxes assessed against major industry will be reduced by $350,000 from 2009 levels, in 2011, property taxes assessed against major industry will be reduced by an additional $55,000 from 2009 levels; in 2012, property taxes assessed against Major Industry will be reduced by an additional $55,000 from 2009 levels; and in 2013 and beyond, the City of Castlegar will undertake its best efforts to reduce property taxes assessed against Major Industry by an additional $190,000.”

Finally, Buss outlined the city’s capital expenditures plan.

“$305,000 has been allotted to sidewalks. Seventh Avenue and Fifth Street sidewalk projects will be completed in 2010 with the assistance of Provincial Local Motion Grant funds.

  • $120,000 for a new five-ton single-axle dump/plow truck. The city continues with its plan to gradually renew its equipment fleet. This will help minimize downtime, maximize productivity and reduce on-going maintenance costs of our aging fleet. The city will also review, right-size and sell equipment assets that are non-productive;
  • $50,000 has been allocated for the creation of Utility As Built Drawings. This will help us synergize road, water-line, sewer-line, and storm work and save dollars;
  • In 2010 we will complete the provincially-funded $175,000 Integrated Comprehensive Sustainability Plan which will lead to a revitalized OCP and comprehensive Infrastructure strategy;
  • Water Meter Program $300,000;
  • Water system expansion $1,200,000;
  • New reservoir development $359,000;
  • Sewer system expansion $997,000;
  • Sewer main replacement $70,000;
  • Airport maintenance and completion of Hazard Beacon Project $575,000.

For a more complete breakdown of the budget and five-year financial plan, visit www.castlegar.ca or call city hall at 250-365-7227.


Categories: General