The City of Cranbrook received only two submissions from the public regarding the 2015-2019 Five Year Financial Plan. City staff put the two submissions in a report to council for the March 31 budget meeting.
At the meeting, Charlotte Osborne, director of Finance and Computer Services, also gave an update. Osborne noted that the 2014 Road Program was budgeted at just under $3 million. That included sidewalk, water and sewer main rehabilitation work. The city spent $2.77 million, which meant there was $184,000 left over. Osborne said that while those funds will likely not be needed in 2015, they will probably be needed in 2016.
Osborne said they reallocated $257,000 from the general fund portion of the budget tot he water fund to deal with the water main rehabilitation on the 6th Street South project.
Osborne also noted that as a result of the Non-Market Change being released, the proposed tax increase for 2015 has decreased.
“On March 4, 2015, we reported a proposed tax increase of 2.95 per cent for 2015,” Osborne wrote. “Based on the increase to the NMC, the tax levy increase for 2015 is now 2.73 per cent.”
Osborne also noted that when they started the process the increase for 2015 was 5.77 per cent.
Mayor Lee Pratt said it was a job well done.
The projected tax levy increases for 2016 through 2018 are: 4.96 per cent for 2016; 4.58 per cent for 2017; 4.16 per cent for 2018; and 2.38 per cent for 2019.
Osborne noted that BC Assessment released the 2015 Revised Roll on March 24. Based on that information, the finance department updated the Non-Market Change in the budget from $200,000 to $250,000. The Non-Market Change represents changes in property value as a result of new construction, property class changes, exemption changes, new developments and zoning changes.
Coun. Danielle Cardozo said it was important to point out that one of the things the new council wanted to do was balance the increases with things going on in the wider economy.
“I think to have an increase of 2.73 per cent, which includes that one per cent dedicated road tax, when inflation this year in Canada was 1.94 per cent,” Cardozo said. “To say that our tax increase was actually lower than that — we haven’t seen that in Cranbrook in awhile.”
Residents had from March 10-24 to submit written submissions. The city received two.
One submission asked what the total annual cost of adding hydroflurosilicic acid to the city water supply is. The other submission implored council and staff to look into other funding options and find efficiencies to how it delivers services, rather than increase taxes.
In total, six information packages were picked up at city hall and there were 78 views of the information package on the city’s website.