After much stress and a lot of hard work, the 2022-2026 City of Kimberley Five Year Financial Plan came to Council on Monday, April 25, 2022 for its first three readings. It will be adopted before May 15, 2022.
As reported previously, the property tax in all classes, from light industrial to residential will be 5.58 per cent. The rise is mainly due to two years of nominal or no increases at all. As Mayor Don McCormick said at a previous meeting, it was time to catch up to inflation.
The final version of the financial plan included some additional budget requests from department heads for various projects. They include $28,544 more to expand an engineering assistant from part-time to full-time. The much discussed retroactive RCMP wage payment will come in at $227,000. Those funds were saved in a reserve as the city had anticipated the payment. There is also a $55,891 increase in the RCMP operating budget.
New costs for the replacement of the wastewater treatment plant are also worked into the plan. The 2022-2026 Financial Plan anticipates the cost of the new WWTP including associated offsite works and other expenses incidental thereto being $95,220,375 with expenditures of $43,536,613 being realized in 2024, $47,102,103 in 2025 and the remaining $4,581,659 in 2026. All this spending is entirely contingent on whether the city gets the grants required to fund two thirds of the project.
Capital budget changes include a $7,778 increase to the budget for replacement of a fire engine in year two of the plan. There is also an additional $75,000 requested for the Centre 64 roof project, as a number of issues have been discovered as the work commenced. An additional $34,849 is being added to the city hall entrance to the fire training room. $18,614 is being added to capital repairs to the Conference Centre. While Resorts of the Rockies operate the centre, the city takes care of capital repairs. This year there was some cracking due to the building settling.
It was noted by council that with many city buildings aging, these type of additional budget requests to deal with issues that emerge are going to become more common. Coupled with rising inflation, it may be prudent to build a contingency into future projects, McCormick said.
McCormick commended staff on their work on the financial plan, and added that the city had healthy reserves which they had worked hard to build up over the preceding years.
“The 5.5 per cent increase is exclusively pointed at inflation,” he said. “We have managed to keep our spending in control. We remain in solid shape with the projects we need to get done.”