Campbell River city council has begin deliberating on what next year’s budget will look like. Mirror File Photo

Campbell River Mayor hoping to keep tax increases ‘to a minimum’

3-day financial planning marathon begins with a proposed 2.7% tax increase, but that could change

Next year will almost certainly see another round of municipal tax increases for Campbell River residents, but mayor Andy Adams and council opened this week’s discussion of the 2019-2028 Financial Plan optimistic that they will keep it to a minimum.

“In my inaugural address I reiterated that has been our goal to maintain the city’s tax rate in line with the national rate of inflation,” Adams said in his opening address Monday at the start of budget deliberations, “which is consistent with what we heard during the campaign period as the two most pressing issues: taxes and housing. Over the past four years, we have kept the tax rate increases to modest levels, which has brought us back to the middle when compared to similar size communities in B.C.

“But our aim is to be better than average, and gain a competitive advantage in terms of being the place people want to live, work and play,” Adams continued. “Last year we were very ambitious and funded a great deal of capital projects, which certainly put a great deal of pressure on staff and understandably some projects were not able to be completed and as a result will be carried forward into the coming year.”

That ambition seems to have continued into the coming year, as there were just over 200 projects “above the line” (meaning approved for funding) in the proposed capital projects section of this year’s document. But Adams was quick to point out that they needed to be realistic with what they are asking city staff to be able to accomplish in 12 months.

“We have to be mindful of the capacity of staff and not add too much more that creates unrealistic expectations and limits the ability to seize opportunities that may arise throughout the year,” Adams says.

While many of the 200-plus projects in the plan are actually carried over from last year’s budget and many others are on the books to begin in future years, there are still a few significant capital projects planned to begin in 2019, including $355,000 in pedestrian upgrades to Willis Road, another phase of Highway 19A upgrades to the tune of $3 million, $350,000 to install a bus pullout on Dogwood Street at Carihi and $500,000 in work at the entrance to the Maritime Heritage Centre.

The budget proposed at the beginning of this week would mean a 2.7 per cent tax increase for the tax payers of Campbell River – mainly due to built-in cost increases of running a city, such as the five per cent increase expected to come down from B.C. Hydro and increased wages and benefits that are built into collective bargaining agreements – but that number could change significantly based on the decisions made over the three-day marathon planning session. Council does have money available that they could choose to allocate to new services, increase service levels or decide to use to bring down that prospective tax increase.

“Over the past few weeks – and particularly in the past few days if not hours – council has received numerous requests from the community for added services. Some were even coming in as late as last night,” Adams said, all of which will be considered during this week’s deliberations.

“That being said, there are only so many dollars and so much that can be done.”

The final 2019-2028 budget should be set by the end of the week and approved by a bylaw at the Dec. 17 meeting. Watch for more on the budget in Friday’s Mirror.

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

City of Campbell River looks to improve environmental protection during development

Changes to mapping environmentally sensitive areas and how permitting process works is under review

Dippity doo-dah; Campbell River Rotary Duck Dip winners scooped up

Fundraiser for Head Injury Support Society’s Linda’s Place

BC Hydro to pulse water flows down the Elk Falls Canyon to accommodate fish passage

First pulse is today and tomorrow; Hydro warns people to be cautious upstream of Elk Falls

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read