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City budget presentation offers highlights of 2016 budget and five-year financial plan

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
April 7th, 2016

In a public open house Tuesday night at the Community Forum, the city unveiled its 2016 budget and five-year financial plan.

City Director of Finance Andre Buss offered a presentation describing the city’s three strategic priorities: Infrastructure Management and the maintenance of municipal infrastructure; the development of a vibrant and sustainable economy, and; developing and maintaining a high quality of life.

“The 2016 budget … recommends that the city levy a $150 parcel tax to each parcel in the city for planning, construction and maintenance of a storm water infrastructure network,” Buss said. “Furthermore, it recommends an increase in general municipal taxation of approximately $37 per annum ($3.08 per month), for the average household. These measures will help to ensure that the city has the financial resources to develop and maintain its infrastructure and still remain very

competitive in terms of total taxes on an average single family home.”

Buss presented a chart indicating that Castlegar municipal taxes are very much on par with Trail’s and are significantly lower than those in Nelson, Rossland, Creston, Warfield and Cranbrook.

Buss also pointed out that The City collects property taxes on behalf of the Regional District, the province for schools, and other taxing jurisdictions. After factoring in the effect of the proposed

changes, 46 per cent of your tax bill goes to the City of Castlegar for local municipal services and 54 per cent goes to other taxing jurisdictions.

“The 2016 average assessed value of a Castlegar residential property is $261,997,” he said. “Total municipal residential taxes, based on the average assessed value, are expected to be approximately $1,032.”

He then listed off highlights of the proposed 2016-2020 Financial Plan, and highlights of the 2016 Capital Program:

  • Approximately $5,000,000 has been placed in the budget for a Columbia Avenue Redevelopment Project. This project includes a significant amount of paving along Columbia Avenue. It includes replacement of aging water main infrastructure and the implementation of new pedestrian and cycling trails as called for in the Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan. This project is budgeted to be funded by 2/3rds from senior governments.

  • $605,000 has been placed in the budget for storm system projects which includes phase II of the Storm Master Plan.

  • $1.7 million dollars has been placed in the budget to purchase a new Fire Engine Ladder Truck. The City’s 1987 Fire Engine is reaching its mandatory, 30 year, replacement date. A new truck is a 20-year investment and a ladder truck will allow for development that currently doesn’t exist in the City. It would be an attractive consideration for those considering developing large box stores, multi-level care facilities, a regional hospital or for other industry development.

  • $350,000 is in the budget for the construction of an Anoxic Zone at the South Sewer Treatment plant. This project is expected to eliminate the need for caustic soda in order to balance the PH at the treatment plant. This will save the city as much as $75,000, per annum in operating costs.

  • $750,000 has been placed in the budget for further development at Millennium Park in accordance with the Millennium Park Master Plan. The Columbia Basin Trust will contribute $450,000 to the project and the Regional District (area’s I and J) will contribute $125,000.

  • The budget continues to support the joint Area I, J and Castlegar Doctor Recruitment Program with a $50,000 budget line item. Fifty percent of the funding will be provided by Areas I and J.

  • The budget provides continued support for Sculpture Walk, community cultural organizations and Communities in Bloom. An additional $25,000 was provided for a Doukhobor Video and Archiving project which will jointly funded by the CBT and Areas I and J.

 

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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