Courtenay council has approved a draft 2022-2026 Financial Plan that outlines projected tax rates, and anticipated revenues and expenses for capital and operational programs over the next five years.
Mayor Bob Wells said the plan represents a return to pre-COVID service levels as well as increased protective services costs for policing, bylaw and fire, with an overall total property tax increase in 2022 of 4.96 per cent.
“The past two years have had a great deal of upheaval and uncertainty for our annual budget as we responded to the impacts from COVID-19,” said Wells. “As our regular services have gradually resumed, this budget represents a return to full service levels, as well as meeting our community’s health and safety needs and quality of life. We’re grateful to everyone on the front lines providing these essential protective services for the benefit of our community.”
Protective services are the city’s biggest operating expense, and policing costs have increased 9.8 per cent over last year largely due to a new federal RCMP collective agreement. This represents half of Courtenay’s total property tax increase this year.
Courtenay has also augmented protective service levels through two new positions in bylaw enforcement and an additional full-time position at the Courtenay Fire Department to respond to the complex needs of the growing community.
Other external impacts to the financial plan outside the city’s control include increases to minimum wage, new provincial paid sick leave regulations, insurance and utilities.
The plan also includes an additional $128,300 contribution to the Infrastructure Reserve, funded by gaming revenue, which will support long-term replacement of municipal assets such as water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and roads.
The 2022 general budget includes:
•$40.4 million in operating expenses;
•$11.2 million in capital expenses for infrastructure projects and upgrades;
•No new borrowing in 2022.
The Community Charter requires that council adopt a five-year financial plan, or budget document, each year prior to adopting the annual property tax bylaw. Future year forecasts are projections based on estimates only. The city continues to implement a robust Asset Management Planning program, and uses a conservative approach to estimate future revenues and expenditures. Future year forecasts do not include all other potential revenue sources such as grants. The city will continue to advocate for existing and emerging funding opportunities to reduce the impact on taxpayers and residents.
The Financial Plan and Tax Rate bylaws will be adopted by May 13 with tax notices mailed out by the end of May.
To review background reports and presentations, visit www.courtenay.ca/financialplan
The draft 2022-2026 Financial Plan will be available for review starting March 15. Email feedback by March 31 to email@example.com
For information on the relationship between your property assessment and property taxes, visit www.courtenay.ca/assessments