The regional district has avoided any major tax increase this year. Chair John Kettle (below) says surpluses helped.

Regional district holds the line on taxes

The Regional District of Central Kootenay board unanimously adopted its 2012 budget Thursday with a negligible property tax increase.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay board unanimously adopted its 2012 budget Thursday with a negligible property tax increase.

Only an additional $6,000 will be raised through taxes for general and rural administration.

“We have more services and are spending more, but not increasing taxation,” chair John Kettle said. “We had surpluses and carried forward a lot of them.”

Kettle says they discussed using those surpluses to further offset the $6,000, but rejected it based on the staff time required to adjust the 15 to 20 affected services.

“Changing all of those to balance to zero would have cost us at least as much,” Kettle says. “So we just adopted the budget as is. It’s basically a zero budget. We’re not taking any more and we’re doing the same job with the money.”

Kettle says they could have given taxpayers a break, but opted to hang on to the extra money in anticipation of other expenses, such as a switch to a new accounting system and the search for a new administrator to replace Jim Gustafson, who will retire later this year.

“We have some transitional things that we kept money back for so we don’t have to hit everybody with a huge tax increase if things don’t go our way,” Kettle says.

He said cutting taxes now only to raise them again later “would be kind of like giving your kid a candy bar and then saying ‘Give it back.’”

Kettle attributed the surpluses to conservative budgeting and prudent management.

The overall financial plan is worth $57.9 million, compared to $50.7 million last year. Of that, $22.1 million will be generated through taxes, up about $470,000 over last year — an increase of 2.2 per cent.

Different areas pay different amounts based on their service levels.

Taxation accounts for 43 per cent of the regional district’s overall budget. Other revenue streams include user fees (14 per cent), senior levels of government (12 per cent), and prior year surpluses (eight per cent).

Environmental services and recreation are among the areas that will see increased spending this year.

Vice-chair Hillary Elliott says more dollars will also go toward resource recovery — formerly known as waste management — as part of a long-term plan.

“The plan was to spend money to become more efficient, hopefully save money in the future, and redirect our waste more responsibly,” she says. “We intend to follow through and make sure it’s a better program.”

It’s the second straight year the budget has been passed without opposition.

But Kettle says that doesn’t mean reaching consensus was painless.

“I’ve had wisdom teeth pulled that were easier,” he joked. “We fight like cats and dogs, but when it came time to stand up as a team, we stood up.”

Budget highlights

• Staff and BC Transit have been asked to re-examine transit service delivery and see if a different model might work better.

• The board will hire a consultant to conduct a corporate review of the regional district

• Provisions for three new waterfront parks and two more community water systems.

• A two to three year software conversion project.

Ongoing projects

• Official community plan reviews in five electoral areas.

• Improvements to the RDCK’s online GIS system that should make it “more robust and quicker.”

• A recreation master plan for Greater Nelson.

• The new Nelson transfer station.

• Improvements to the Creston, Ootischenia, and Salmo landfills.

• Upgrades totalling $3.2 million for 11 water systems.

• Capital expenditures to the Creston rec centre.

• The board is expected to go paperless in June with the use of iPads.

 

Just Posted

Trail company bids to replace Greyhound for Nelson-Kelowna run

Silver City Stage Lines has applied to the Passenger Transportation Board

Observant neighbour averts fire disaster

Blueberry resident spots neighbour’s truck on fire.

COLUMN: Carrot thief, forest fires, and a horse-boat collision

Greg Scott brings us news from the archives of the Nelson Daily News fifty years ago

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

VIDEO: Auto repair shop celebrates Nelson mural festival

A painting by Barry Overn at Downtown Automotive turned heads at the festival opening.

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Trudeau says he won’t apologize to heckler, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

Prime Minister had accused woman of racism as she shouted about illegal immigration at Quebec rally

Most Read