The City of Kimberley is holding the property tax increase to 1.6 per cent for 2021, something Mayor Don McCormick says is “pretty incredible”.
Kimberley City Council went through the last steps of the budget deliberation at a special meeting on Monday, April 19, 2021, and the budget will now be drafted into a financial plan bylaw which will be presented to council for first three readings at the last meeting in April.
In this particular budget, the numbers have been helped by some adjustments to the general operating budget, through money saved from facility closures due to COVID-19, and savings in salary costs as some staff positions did not come on board when planned.
“The COVID-19 related facility savings and the delayed hiring of a few staff positions are the primary factors that have allowed for the property tax adjustment to be kept reasonably low and the parcel tax to be reduced,” Chief Financial Officer Jim Hendricks said. “Also contributing to the lower than anticipated property tax adjustment in 2021 is the strong construction activity in 2020 which has resulted in higher than anticipated incremental property tax revenue this year related to the resulting new assessed value.”
It all results in property taxes being held at 1.6 per cent rather than the 3.8 per cent originally projected.
However, fair warning, that will change in the following year.
“Assuming that the recreation facilities are back at full operation in 2022 and the staff positions have been filled requiring a full year’s budget allocation next year, both the property tax rates and the parcel tax levy will need to be increased to cover the related operating cost increases,” he said.
Hendricks told council that the parcel tax for 2021 will be $88.51 per parcel, however next year, if things have returned to normal, it will likely be in the $220 range.
The final debt payment on the aquatic centre will be in 2025, at which time a large portion of the parcel tax will be reduced.
There were also some new changes to the capital budget, as the city did not receive a grant applied for to do a downtown flood control project. This project was in excess of $4 million and that amount will be removed from the capital budget.
Hendricks also told council that of the $2,087,000 is COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant funding supplied by the province, the city had spent $504,560 in 2020, and that the rest was transferred to a reserve to fund eligible expenditures in 2021 and beyond.
The entire financial plan can be viewed at the city website and the public is invited to direct any comments on it to JHendricks@kimberley.ca