In their budget deliberation session on November 16, 2020, Kimberley City Council agreed that next year’s Aquatic Centre Parcel Tax will be considerably lower — down to around $100 per year from $195.
This takes into consideration the fact that the Aquatic Centre remains closed from March of 2020, and the City has derived significant savings from that.
Chief Financial Officer Jim Hendricks did not ask council for a concrete number as yet. Budget deliberations extend to May of 2021 before the final bylaw must be passed, and Hendricks is hopeful that more information will be available by spring in order to set a final number.
He offered council two options, one of them being to reduce the Aquatic Centre Parcel Tax to match the amount saved, or to retain the surplus in reserves to fund future Aquatic Centre costs.
Hendricks said the first option was his preferred and Council agreed.
“The understanding of taxpayers is that they would get a break next year,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley.
There was some concern that there may be unanticipated costs in starting operations back up again, and Coun. Kyle Dalum suggested saving a bit of a pillow to deal with those costs.
“The Aquatic Centre is closed, saving money and the expectation is that money must go back to the taxpayer,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “It (the tax) will go back up the following year, but that’s the way it is.”
City CAO Scott Sommerville said that there was always the $2 million provincial government start up grant for any unexpected costs.
Council voted to send all savings from the Aquatic Centre being closed to reduce the tax next year. The final number will be arrived at closer to budget adoption.