The City of Kimberley’s 2019-2023 financial plan is now available for public comment. You can see the plan online
You can pick up a copy at City Hall, or you can attend an information session on the financial plan this coming Monday, April 15, 2019 at Council Chambers in City Hall at 7 p.m.
If you have a comment on the financial plan you can drop it off at City Hall or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The plan will be adopted by Council in May.
Overall, Mayor Don McCormick says he is pleased with the plan, and all the hard work that went into drafting it.
“I’m extremely pleased we held property taxes again,” he said.
The variable property tax rate will increase 2.22 per cent in 2019, which is within Council’s goal of keeping tax increases to the Municipal Rate of Inflation.
That is for all tax classes.
Council has also decided to keep the flat tax where it is rather than reduce it again.
For the past three years, the flat tax has been reduced $80 per year.
“It’s come down for three years, but the decision was to not reduce it this year,” McCormick said. “We decided to evaluate it each year. It was $780 originally, and Council was to to rescued it $80 per year over ten years but the bylaw was only for one year and then it would be evaluated.
“In a perfect world, I’d love to do away with the flat tax but we can’t do it if the only solution is to transfer to the variable tax rate.”
Another thing that will jump out at taxpayers is the increase in the Aquatic Centre tax. In 2018, each property paid $154 for the Aquatic Centre. In 2019, that will increase to $198.32, an increase of $44.32.
However, no one is paying more, McCormick says.
“At first blush, the parcel tax is up, but there has been a corresponding reduction in the variable rate so the increase is zero.”
The idea, he says, is to make the actual costs of the Aquatic Centre more transparent.
“The whole point is to understand the actual cost of services. Bootleg Gap is still contributing $70,000 per year, but that will go to general revenue now.”
McCormick says that the actual revenue shortfall for the Aquatic Centre each year is $198 per parcel and the financial plan should reflect that.
So, with an average variable tax of $1842, the flat tax at $546 and the Aquatic Centre Parcel tax at $198, the average home in Kimberley will pay $2586 in municipal taxes.
There are additional taxes that the City collects on behalf of various agencies such as the RDEK and the School Board, which add to that total.
“We have no control over those rates,” McCormick said.
Kimberley is at the top of the list in terms of total municipal taxes and charges.
“Rosalind is in a similar position to us and is also near the top of the list,” he said. “The reason is because every other community has industry. In Kimberley, 94 per cent of assessed value is residential.
“We are working hard at trying to rebuild the industrial tax base. We’re making headway, but it takes years.
“Overall, I am very happy with the budget.Scott (Sommerville) and the managers have done an incredible job of getting things done without relying on tax increases. And kudos to Jim Hendricks (City Financial Officer) for laying it out in terms everyone can understand.”