Kimberley residents will have an opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the 2015 Financial Plan on Monday evening in Council Chambers (7 p.m.)
Mayor Don McCormick wants Kimberley citizens to know that Council made every conceivable cut they could to avoid raising property taxes, which will go up three per cent for residential and two per cent for business.
“The original financial plan called for a four per cent increase to residential taxes,” McCormick said. “New Council came in halfway through the budget process but immediately began to look at ways to save money. Staff carved out over $130,000 in savings and additional savings from the 2014 budget, we applied to projects.”
However, despite savings, the City has a number of fixed costs that they have no control over, the Mayor says.
“The union contract is 2.5 per cent this year plus costs for hydro etc. We have no control over those costs and they come out to just over three per cent.
“At the end of the day, unfortunately, both residences and businesses are carrying the tax burden because we have no industrial tax base. That is a high priority moving forward, to create an industrial tax base.
“I’d like to see the cost of living increase offset by new revenue rather than going back to the taxpayer.”
In the future, McCormick said, Council wants to be able to tell taxpayers exactly what any tax increase is for.
However, new revenue is not going to happen overnight.
“In the meantime, strategies are being considered.”
One of those is asset evaluation and sales.
“The City has a number of assets it’s sitting on,” McCormick said. “For example, raw land. It doesn’t generate revenue. In the past few months we have sold five properties and put $300,000 in the kitty. Now that the lands have sold, they will generate tax money. The sale provides us short term cash for projects, like completing work on 170 Wallinger (the old Esso site).
“It just makes sense. We have several other assets we are looking at as well. We will sell them where it makes sense.”