Ratepayers in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s Area “A” got a first up-close and personal look at the 2016 budget and five-year capital plan tonight.
The close inspection revealed budget numbers strikingly similar to the previous year.
“Generally, there hasn’t been any desire from people (in Area “A”) to see much more increase in services,” explained Mark Pendergraft, the Regional District’s director for Area “A” and the Regional Board’s chair.
“Without an increase in services, there hasn’t been a need to increase the taxes. That’s why (the budget’s) pretty much flat.”
The budget presentation, held at the Sonora Centre, was conducted by Sandy Croteau, the Regional District’s Manager of Finance.
Highlights of the budget include:
- The average requisition for Area “A” residents will be $518.00 in 2016, down about $2.00 from 2015.
- The total Area “A” requisition — including regional, rural and Area “A” services — is $770,034 in 2016, up just $768 from last year.
- An additional $198,743 was earmarked for the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department and another $15,600 for the Northwest Osoyoos Sewer Service Area.
- Users will also contribute $125 for garbage and recycling — the same fee collected in 2015;
- The Regional District’s total expenditures — including operating and capital expenses — were pegged at $37.4 million, up from $37.1 million in 2015.
The Regional District will also access federal gas tax funding to continue with upgrades at Sasquatch Pond, this year adding electricity and activating a well on the site.
“That’s the location where there’s quite often a community barbecue over the summer,” said Mr. Pendergraft. “It would be convenient to have water and potentially in the future some washrooms.”
Just over $87 from each household will be delivered to other services within the Regional District, including the Okanagan Regional Library, Okanagan Basin Water Board and Sterile Insect Release program.
Also included in the requisition is $101 the Regional District collects from each household on behalf of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District.
The budget must be adopted by March 31.