Regional district budget attempts to minimize impact

For Campbell River taxpayers, there will be a $3 increase in property taxes

The Strathcona Regional District approved a $13.2 million budget for 2015 at its last board meeting.

The budget, which was adopted by the board on March 26, includes little changes from last year.

“We’re doing our best to hold steady,” said board chair Jim Abram, in a news release.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure there is minimal impact to taxpayers while trying to maintain the highest level of service delivery to our citizens.”

For Campbell River taxpayers, there will be a $3 increase in property taxes to the regional district for the average assessed home while in Gold River taxes will stay the same at $16 and in Sayward, taxes will go down by $2 for the average home.

In Tahsis, taxpayers will see a $1 decrease to $11 and home owners in Zeballos will pay $2 less in 2015 on the average assessed home.

In the Kyuquot/Nootka portion of Area A taxes are expected to go down by $20 while in the Sayward area of Area A taxes will go down by $12.

For Area B (Cortes Island), taxes are set to decrease by $43 to $689 this year while in Area C (Quadra-Discovery Islands-Mainland Inlets) taxes are expected to go down by $20 to $341.

Area D will see the largest increase in taxes at $79, going from $1,341 last year for the average assessed home to $1,420 in 2015.

In exchange, the regional district provides services to the four electoral areas and five municipalities that include parks, liquid and solid waste services, an emergency preparedness program, and Strathcona Gardens.

Approximately 61 per cent of the 55 services provided by the regional district will be funded through taxes while the remaining expenses will be funded primarily from grants, user fees and prior year surpluses.

The 2015 financial plan also includes $2.3 million for capital projects, with 36 per cent of those costs to be funded through contributions from other agencies, such as grants from senior levels of government.

The capital plan includes $716,400 for the Quathiaski Cove sewer extension project on Quadra Island, as well as a new, accessible front entrance vestibule at Strathcona Gardens to make the building more energy efficient and complement the energy loop installed last year.

The budget also includes $50,000 for rubber flooring in Arena 2, $23,000 for fitness and rehab equipment in the Strathcona Gardens fitness room, as well as a new pump station for Area D to improve water pressure for residents who live south of Neigel Crescent and north of Jody Lynne Way.

The regional district’s board of directors shaped the budget by identifying strategic priorities and key work projects.