Paul Demenok.

Column: Columbia Shuswap Regional District budget underway

An ongoing priority for CSRD staff and directors is establishing annual budgets.

An ongoing priority for CSRD staff and directors is establishing annual budgets.

It’s a complex exercise with more than 40 different budget functions for Area C alone, and each must be treated as a separate profit and loss statement, with incomes, expenses and reserves allocated. Within each function there may be dozens of line items that are combined to create the overall budget function figure.

The goal is to develop a fiscally responsible budget which combines a critical view of any new or increased expenditures with prudent management of reserves to accommodate future needs.

The single largest budget expenditure for Area C is fire suppression which, in 2017, totaled more than $1,800,000. This budget supports the operations of four volunteer fire departments and more than 100 paid-on-call firefighters. Operational costs include purchases of tools and breathing apparatus, costs associated with weekly practices, maintenance of building and equipment and communications. The fire suppression budget also includes major capital expenditures such as the expansion of the Tappen/Sunnybrae Fire Hall and purchases of new fire engines. Other emergency services provided by the CSRD include the Shuswap Emergency Program, 911 Call Service, First Responders and Search and Rescue.

Area C Parks is another large budget area. With the recent completion of the Area C Parks Plan, the CSRD will now pivot from planning to implementation of priorities outlined in the plan. For 2018, his includes completion of the playground at John Evdokimoff Park, evaluation of a destination trail and steps towards development of a new community park in Blind Bay.

The development services department provides a number of services for Area C including administration of the official community plan, zoning bylaws, development permits, special projects, GIS mapping and bylaw enforcement. In 2018, it is anticipated there will be a community outreach program in support of future building inspection services in the South Shuswap.

Water services is a growing budget function for Area C with the provision of community water to Cedar Heights/Lakeview Estates, Eagle Bay, MacArthur Heights/Reedman Point, Sorrento and Sunnybrae. Within this budget are the Shuswap Watershed Council, and South Shuswap Liquid Waste Management Plan and the Waverly Park Water Users Loan are included. Major projects for 2018 include completion of the new Sunnybrae water system and initiation of development of a new waste water treatment system for Blind Bay/Sorrento.

Economic development services includes Shuswap Economic Development, Shuswap Tourism, the Film Commission and Area C Tourism promotion. For 2018, we are looking forward to the implementation of the new Shuswap Regional Economic Development Plan.

Solid waste and recycling services is responsible for the management of garbage and recycling. For 2018, we anticipate there will be a community outreach program to discuss a new curbside garbage and recycling pickup service in Area C.

Other services funded through the CSRD include noxious weeds, fireworks, street lighting, dog control, SPCA, milfoil control and grants-in-aid. No significant changes are anticipated for these items in 2018.

The public is welcomed to attend budget review meetings at the CSRD on Jan. 17 and Feb. 16. Please consult the CSRD website to confirm meetings times and location.

2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the South Shuswap and I look forward to contributing to the achievement of a number of important community priorities. I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

-Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

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