The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) has released its draft five-year financial plan and is now seeking comments from the public.
RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay explained that the board has completed the first review of the plan and it is now posted online for the public to look at and comment on.
The 2021 operating budget is $37.7 million, with a capital budget of just over $13 million. The public comment period is open until 9 a.m. on Monday, March 1, 2021.
“In addition to the public comment period, RDEK staff will continue to meet with directors, other municipalities and various commissions over the coming weeks to gather additional input on the plan,” Gay said in a press release.
The RDEK says that the financial plan lays out how tax dollars will be spent on more than 100 services in the region. Some of the things on this year’s budget include capital projects such as upgrades to the Windermere water distribution system, the Hill Road dike project in Area A, phase one of construction on the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project, South Country Aquifer/Elko Sinkholes project, a new cell at the Central Subregion Landfill, renovations to the Hosmer Fire Hall, and phase one of the new regional organics composting project, which aims to establish a composting facility in each of the RDEK’s subregions.
The proposed budget for this year shows a 3.21 per cent increase over last year, which works out to approximately $9 on an average $379,000 residential assessment, says the RDEK. There is also a reduction of 1.6 per cent included from the offset of new assessments in the region.
“It is important to remember in the RDEK model, municipalities and electoral areas are all affected differently depending which services they receive,” reads the press release.
Gay says that the RDEK board works hard to ensure a balance between quality services and the tax impacts on residents.
“During this pandemic, there is some uncertainty in terms of what service delivery will look like for 2021, so that has [created] an additional challenge for us this year,” Gay said. “I’d like to acknowledge the hard work that has gone into this draft plan. I believe it strikes a good balance and we are looking forward to hearing the public’s thoughts.”
The plan and comment forms are available on the RDEK website at engage.rdek.bc.ca/financialplan and by request through the Cranbrook and Columbia Valley offices. The RDEK will be posting a public snapshot this week that provides a condensed overview of the plan.
The five-year financial plan is expected to be adopted at the March 5 board meeting.
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