Fourteen people turned up to ask questions and hear where their taxes will go at the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) 2015 sub-regional budget consultation meeting in 100 Mile House on Jan. 26.
CRD chief administrative officer Janis Bell explained the total tax requisition across the regional district (including 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Wells) in 2015 will increase by about $1.539 million (7.1 per cent) to $23,274,521.
The total budget is up $7.1 million to $48,178,510, which comes not only from tax revenue but also money generated from grants, user fees, airport fuel sales, reserves pulled back into the budget and surplus funds.
This “significant increase” is due to large capital projects planned for Williams Lake (new pool) and Quesnel (new arena) and will not affect taxpayers in the South Cariboo, she explained.
“The small [Gateway Water System] in Electoral Area H is the only one affecting the South Cariboo taxpayers … and unless you live in Area H, [that] increase is not going to apply to you.”
Excluding new or improved services underway this year, Bell noted the rest of the CRD budget has a zero per cent increase for delivering its ongoing services.
“It’s at the same taxation level as it was for 2014.”
While region-wide tax requisitions are not going up this year, she explained where the money will be spent – the library network ($2,309,993), administration ($1,148,064), 9-1-1 emergency system ($866,684), elected governance ($145,819) and solid waste management administration ($12,688).
The largest of the 2015 South Cariboo requisitions affecting only taxpayers located within the functions’ service area boundaries are solid waste, at $1,037,380, and recreation, at $714,007.
CRD administration in South Cariboo Areas G, H and L accounts for $1,322,255 and planning is another $430,480 in this year’s budget. Bylaw enforcement will cost $201,960, managing invasive plants will be $192,258 and emergency planning is $80,000.
Each electoral area also pays for its own services, which is detailed for each taxpayer’s impacts in the Budget Consultation Handout online at www.cariboord.ca.
Folks were also reminded their individual property taxes are based on current assessed property values, and will also include both provincial and hospital district taxes.
Questions from the South Cariboo residents in attendance were fielded after the presentation.
Helga Zeiner asked what the cost impacts were when the CRD changed locations for a new Interlakes East Fire Hall after it had bought land, or for any cancelled contracts.
She said these questions were “never got answered last time” at a fall 2014 budget town-hall meeting, nor were replies received to “several e-mails about it” sent to the CRD.
The fire protection budget for Interlakes is at $214,610, which “seems very high,” Zeiner added.
Bell explained there was no cost for any contract cancellations because none had been entered into.
“What about the land you purchased and then you had to purchase another
[piece] because it was not suitable?” Zeiner asked.
Bell replied she did not recall and she promised to reply to Zeiner with these numbers.