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Regional district budget rises

Taxes vary in electoral areas depending on services

Powell River Regional District’s total budget increased by almost $1.6 million in 2013 over 2012, or about 18 per cent.

The total 2013 budget, including capital and operating costs for all regional district services, is about $10.3 million, which includes $6.3 million for operations and $3.1 million for capital. In 2012, the total budget was about $8.8 million, which included $5.7 million in operating expenses and $2.3 million in capital.

The regional board adopted the 2013-2017 financial plan at the March 28 board meeting. Linda Greenan, manager of financial services, provided an overview and highlights of the 2013 budget.

“I think we should all take the opportunity again to thank Linda and staff for the tremendous amount of work that goes into this,” said Colin Palmer, board chair and Electoral Area C director. “It’s not one budget, it’s multiple budgets and it’s very much appreciated.”

The total requisition increase is $283,903, or nine per cent over 2012. The increase doesn’t apply equitably across the region as all services are not financed by all taxpayers.

In 2013, residential taxes for regional services will be approximately $37.87 per $100,000 of residential assessment, an increase of $5.01 over 2012 for the same services. Taxpayers in Electoral Areas A to D will see an additional increase of approximately $2.55 per $100,000 of assessment for services paid for by most electoral areas. Savary Island residential taxpayers will see an additional increase of $12.87 per $100,000 of residential assessment to upgrade the main fire hall for dual use as a community hall and fire hall. Island property owners will also see an approximate $15 annual parcel tax increase to fund the upgrades to the Savary dock.

Actual taxes levied on individual properties also vary based on changes in the assessed property value. Any decrease in property values will somewhat mitigate the tax increase.

Most capital expenditures occur in services financed by one electoral area and don’t impact taxpayers throughout the region. Of the total, $204,754 will be financed from current year’s taxes. Funding for the balance comes from grants, prior year surpluses, reserve funds, borrowing and other revenue.

There are a number of capital projects planned for regional parks, including a community gathering structure and replacement of the office and concession at Shelter Point Park, six new campsites and a new concrete block shower building at Haywire Bay Park, development of a regional park on Lasqueti Island and development of the parking area at Paradise Exhibition Park. As well, funding has been allocated to open 17 waterfront access sites as recommended by the parks and greenspace implementation advisory committee.

Capital expenditures for fire protection services include replacement of the rescue truck and tender for the Malaspina Volunteer Fire Department, upgrading the Savary fire hall, an extension of the fire hall on Lasqueti and three new thermal imagers for the Northside Volunteer Fire Department.

Completion of the Myrtle Pond water system upgrades is planned for 2013 and 2014 as the grant funding for the project has been extended. Implementation of the cemeteries development plan will continue at both the Powell River Regional and Woodland cemeteries.

Fire and safety upgrades are planned for the Texada Community Hall as well as an extension to the farmers’ market.

In transportation services, capital expenditures include line painting at the Texada airport and major upgrades to the Savary dock.

In solid waste management, the education program will continue in 2013, pre-design work for a regional composting facility is planned and the budget includes funding for a recycling bin at Lund during the busy season and funding from reserves for two landfill closure plans, as stipulated in the solid waste management plan.

Rural tax rates

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

• Area A, excluding Savary Island: $212.84, an increase of $14.89.

• Area A, Savary Island: $218.69, an increase of $34.60.

• Area B: $134.63, an increase of $11.62.

• Area C: $148.26, an increase of $13.51.

• Area D: $177.77, an increase of $21.09.

• Area E (Lasqueti Island): $220.02, an increase of $22.64.

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