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RDEK budget proposes 9.5 per cent tax increase

Five-year financial plan available for public review and feedback

The RDEK has completed a draft budget with a tax rate increase at 9.5 per cent over last year, as the process moves to a public consultation ahead of adoption in the middle of March.

“The budgeting process at the RDEK is extensive, and started back in September with the RDEK staff working on the preliminary budget calculations,” said Rob Gay, RDEK Board Chair, in a news release “Throughout the past two months, there have been meetings with Area Directors, stakeholders, commissions and others that have helped inform this year’s draft plan.

“Now that the Board has been able to review the draft, the next critical step in the budget process is getting it out to the public and gathering comments and feedback from residents about our projects and services and the potential impact on property taxes.”

The RDEK’s proposed operating budget is tallied at $41.3 million, with an additional $16.8 million for capital projects, which includes $9.6 million in flood and debris control in Fairmont (100 per cent grant funded), $2.3 million for three organic composting facilities in each subregion (67 per cent grant funded) and a $600,000 new fire hall in Hosmer (100 per cent grant funded) among others.

The draft 2023 financial plan proposes an overall taxation increase of 9.5% over last year, which works out to approximately $31 on an average $536,000 residential assessment, according to the RDEK.

This includes a reduction of two per cent recognizing the contribution from new assessments in the region. In the regional district model, municipalities and electoral areas are all affected differently depending on which RDEK services they receive and these totals impact only the RDEK line item on tax notices, not the overall tax bill.

“Year in and year out this Board and our staff work diligently to find a balance between providing quality services to our residents and being mindful of the tax impacts,” said Gay. “As service level expectations increase, and the region continues to grow and evolve, this task becomes that much more challenging and I’m proud of the balance we have achieved in this year’s draft plan.

“Having the public’s feedback is an important next step in the process and we look forward to gathering their input over the coming weeks.”

The public comment period is open until Noon on Monday, March 13, 2023.

Copies of the plan and comment forms are available on the RDEK website and by request through the RDEK’s Cranbrook and Columbia Valley offices. The RDEK will be posting a budget “snapshot” to that site February 21, 2023 that provides a condensed overview of the Draft Plan and some of the highlights for 2023.

Final decisions on the 5-Year Financial Plan will take place at the March 16 Committee Meetings with adoption at the March 17 Board Meeting.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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