City budget deliberations begin next week

The public is invited to attend these meetings and has the opportunity to speak to council about the financial plan

Campbell River council will get to work on the city’s 2015 budget next week.

Due to the municipal election in November and a change in councillors, budget planning  starts later this year than in previous years.

In both 2014 and 2013, a final budget was passed in January but this year, financial planning doesn’t begin until Monday.

Budget deliberations will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at city hall, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, with an optional day of budget planning on Friday, also from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The public is invited to attend these meetings and has the opportunity to speak to council about the financial plan at the start of the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday meetings beginning at 10 a.m. There is a five minute maximum per presentation and those who would like to speak are encouraged to register in advance by calling 250-286-5700.

Over the last two years, council has raised residential property taxes by 3.91 per cent and 2.92 per cent in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

During 2014 budget planning, council also approved a three-year, phased in tax increase to the managed forest land sector (from $2.29 per thousand to the provincial average of $13.98 per thousand) as well as a tax increase to the utilities class, to be phased in over four years.

Council’s 2014-2018 financial plan also includes significant sewer and water infrastructure projects and involves borrowing up to $15 million for those projects.

Former mayor Walter Jakeway wasn’t pleased with last year’s budget and predicted it would have a negative impact on the current council.

“The 2015 council is going to inherit a huge amount of pain and will have to take extreme measures to rectify the financial situation without harming the taxpayers,” Jakeway said after council completed last year’s budget in January, 2014.

Whether or not that is actually the case will be determined next week as budget deliberations get underway.

All the financial planning meetings will be broadcast live on the city’s website (www.campbellriver.ca) and can be viewed following the meetings as well.

For those unable to attend the meetings but who would like to provide input into the financial plan, they can email their comments to info@campbellriver.ca or by delivering them to City Hall (301 St. Ann’s Road).