At their meeting on Monday, April 27, Kimberley City Council are likely to approve their five year financial plan, according to Don McCormick.
“The staff had done an outstanding job of preparing the budget for 2020 and the five year financial plan, but the COVID-19 crisis when it hit, caused Council to review a number of items in that budget and staff to review what our cashflow projections were going to look like as we move through the year.”
He described this iteration of the financial plan as the culmination of all of the staff’s conversations, and the city has come up with a plan for 2020 that allows them to provide the zero per cent variable tax increase, while also maintaining the fiscal prudence for the balance of the five year plan, consistent with what they have done for the past five years.
“We were in really good shape heading into this budget cycle, we got a really good budget put in place and then had to make some relatively minor modifications to account for COVID-19,” McCormick said. “We’re very happy with those changes and I expect that council will be approving the budget as presented tonight.”
Some of the measures incorporated into the financial plan that was previously approved have been reversed in order to return the City to previously planned service levels.
McCormick gave the Aquatic Centre as a good example of this. By the time the financial plan was brought to council, the City had already closed recreation facilities including the Aquatic Centre. The closure of these facilities resulted in savings that the City decided to pass on to help out both the residential and business taxpayers.
“We need to bring those back next year in order to maintain the same level of service,” McCormick explained. “In other words by taking the savings, we’ve actually taken money out of the level of service requirement and need to put it back in again.”
The Bulletin will report more after the Council meeting takes place.
Additionally, the Mayor once again expressed his gratitude to the people of Kimberley for all of their efforts in getting behind the direction that the public health officer has been providing and the City has been reinforcing.
“The community has been awesome,” he said. “Our secondary homeowners and visitors to town, all of that travel has been minimized, we basically have been in a best-case scenario.”
Last week, the City released a notice pleading with the community to practice physical distancing when using the pathways and trails, and said that if people don’t comply, they will be forced to close the trails.
McCormick said that while they’ve only received a small number of complaints, though there has been a few.
“For the most part the physical distancing that has been happening here in Kimberley has been awesome,” he said. “People are taking this to heart, they’re not being lazy, and for the most part the physical distancing is in fact happening.”
While he is pleased with the efforts of the community, he commented on the stories of dissent, protest and conspiracy theories that are rampant in the news lately.
“It’s really a time to ignore the conspiracy theories and stick with the program,” McCormick said. “Any change now, for whatever reason, is going to put at risk all of the sacrifices that we’ve made to this point. Nobody wants that.”
He added that he was encouraged to see Saskatchewan’s plan to come out of the crisis and said:
“I fully expect, because the numbers here in B.C. have been really really good, that we’ll see a similar plan coming soon from the B.C. government. Until that happens we need to stay the course. People need to educate themselves, and typically not from any information that’s being published on Facebook, but truly educate themselves, remain patient and stay the course.”