Kimberley City Council gave first three readings to the 2013 Financial Plan bylaw on Monday evening, with adoption planned for next Monday, May 13.
The public is invited to comment on the budget; with written submissions being accepted at City Hall until 4 p.m. this Friday, May 10. The public is also invited to the next Council meeting on May 13 in Council Chambers at 7 p.m. if they wish to comment in person before the bylaw is adopted.
As reported last week, the financial plan calls for a four per cent increase in residential taxes and a three per cent increase in business taxes.
The total budget including the water, sewer and general funds as well as capital reserves, surpluses and amortization is $26,989,480. This breaks down as $9.22 million in capital projects, $1.29 million on principal and interest payments on debt, and $12.65 million in operating costs.
See PLAN page 3
Property tax revenue is 37 per cent of the total, and the main source of the City’s revenue. Of that revenue, 85.95 per cent comes from Residential Class 1. Business accounts for 13 per cent and light industrial only .11 per cent. Chair of the Finance Committee Jack Ratcliffe says that it is the goal of the City to see the Light Industrial revenue increase.
The Light Industrial millrate was reduced in 2006 in an effort to diversify the tax base. In 2012, it was changed again to a one to one ratio with residential taxes. Business taxes are now at a 2:38 to 1 ratio. In a statement (Schedule B to the Financial Plan Bylaw) Council says that it is agreed the business properties consume more services than residential and should be subject to higher taxation. However, in the past ten years the City has made an effort to reduce that ratio to a more manageable rate.
There is no change to the residential flat tax or Aquatic Centre parcel tax in 2013, nor an increase in utility bills. But water and sewer will be going up $1.20 per quarter in 2014.
The City will also be conducting a department by department service review to provide a clearer picture of what services it provides and the costs associated. The focus will not be on cutting services, but on identifying possible efficiencies. In addition, a ten year infrastructure plan will be completed in 2013, identifying and prioritizing infrastructure projects for the next 10 years.