A city budget like no other

City council is creating a budget like none other for 2016 – a budget aimed at controlling fluctuating tax increases.

Mayor Andy Adams said the intent of the upcoming budget, which is being crafted by council this week, is to provide a more sustainable and stable annual budget.

“We’re really looking to stabilize the annual budget to ensure the people of Campbell River can appropriately manage and budget their finances on a more consistent basis so we don’t have the peaks and valleys of the past,” Adams said Monday, during day one of council’s financial planning sessions. “We’re hoping this budget will be able to achieve that.”

City Manager Deborah Sargent, who is working on her first city budget since coming to the city in September, said the new financial plan incorporates a brand-new concept for the city.

“I think this is an important budget as it’s the first budget the city has prepared that looks beyond the legislated five-year term and looks beyond that to a 10-year planning horizon,” Sargent said. “The budget presented provides stability for taxpayers – more certainty in terms of taxation.

“It’s very long term.”

Sargent said the challenge for city council is to create a budget that incorporates the services and provides for the quality of life that residents desire with the resources that are available.

“A city budget is really about the story of what the community values and building the budget is all about building our community,” Sargent said. “Your staff have prepared a compelling story outline of how we can continue to build our community with parameters of how to address council’s strategic priorities.

“I believe this budget session will be a turning point for the City of Campbell River in terms of a focus on a long-term strategic plan,” Sargent added.

Council has been developing its new 10-year financial plan this week and is expected to continue deliberating on it today and possibly Thursday, pending how quickly council can complete the 2016 budget.