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Regional district budget increases by 25 per cent

Taxes vary in electoral areas depending on services

Powell River Regional District board of directors adopted the 2012-2016 financial plan at the March 22 board meeting.

The total budget for 2012 is about $9.3 million, a 25 per cent increase, or approximately $1.9 million more, over the 2011 budget which was about $7.4 million.

The capital budget for 2012 is just over $2.8 million and the operating budget is about $5.5 million, which is $436,218, or eight per cent, more than 2011.

Several major capital projects are planned for 2012, including a new Northside Volunteer Fire Department firehall, improvements to the Myrtle Pond water system, completion of the Lund sewer treatment plant upgrade and equipment upgrades. Float replacement and wharfhead repairs at the Savary Island dock are also planned, as are upgrades to Texada Recreation Commission properties. Other capital works include implementation of the cemeteries development plan, the relocation of the administration office, renovations to the caretaker’s quarters at Haywire Bay Park and a community gathering structure for Shelter Point Park.

Most capital expenditures occur in services financed by only one electoral area and do not impact taxpayers throughout the region. Of the total capital budget, $221,944 will be financed from the current year tax requisition. Funding for the balance comes from grants, prior year surpluses, reserve funds, borrowing and other revenue.

The regional district will be increasing waste tipping fees by $5 a tonne in July 2012. It is also planning to fund some projects from the waste management reserve to implement initiatives of the solid waste management plan, including landfill closure plans and a potential composting technical evaluation.

The regional district has increased its total tax requisition by $262,759, or nine per cent, for all regional services. However, because most services operate on fairly small budgets, those increases do not necessarily translate into significant tax increases and the increases do not apply equitably across the region as all services are not financed by all taxpayers.

In 2012, taxation is 36 per cent of revenue, compared to 37 per cent in 2011.

Residential taxes for regional services will be approximately $32.88 per $100,000 of residential assessment, an increase of $7.28 over 2011 for these same services.

Taxpayers in Electoral Areas A to D will see a decrease of approximately $3.09 per $100,000 of assessment for services paid for by most electoral areas. The net effect of these changes is that in these areas, the 2012 residential tax rate per $100,000 of assessed value for most regional district services will be approximately $4.19 greater than in 2011. “Actual taxes levied on individual properties may vary based on changes in the assessed property value,” Linda Greenan, the regional district’s manager of financial services, wrote in a summary of the financial plan. “Any decrease in property values will somewhat mitigate the tax increase.”

Tax rates for Lasqueti Island, Electoral Area E, for these same services will increase by about $1.34 per $100,000 of assessed value due to the fact that Lasqueti does not share in all of the services shared by the other electoral areas. However, Lasqueti taxpayers will see an overall tax increase of approximately $23 due to a large increase to implement some solid waste management plan initiatives.

Estimated residential tax rates per $100,000, not including parcel tax, for regional and shared services are:

• Area A, excluding Savary Island: $198.78, an increase of $35.75.

• Area A, Savary Island: $103.36, an increase of $5.03.

• Area B: $123.74, an increase of $6.73.

• Area C: $135.64, an increase of $7.74.

• Area D: $155.73, an increase of $4.05.

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