March 23, 2016
As spring approaches, the thoughts of Council frequently turn to polishing off the final details of capital plans and budget adjustments. We’ve just done that and I will share some of the more significant details with you.
The District of Chetwynd operates with four funds: Capital, Sewer Operating, Water Operating, and General Operating. All expenditures for administration and capital projects will be from one of these four funds.
Most of you are familiar with and concerned about increases to property taxes based on the value of your home or business. I will start with the General Operating Fund to which a 2% increase applies. There’s probably not another house in town quite like the house that keeps you warm and dry – or priced quite the same as yours. That’s why your property tax bill won’t be quite the same as your neighbour’s tax bill. But take a bit of courage from this: property tax increases will amount to approximately $3 to $4 per month on the typical home. But don’t hold me to it. Some properties are outliers – more expensive than the typical or less expensive than the typical. Some owners will pay a bit less and others will pay more.
Still in the General Operating Fund: improvements in the ability of your Fire Department to limit fire damage to your homes and other properties (mandated by outside agencies) will amount to approximately $66,000 per year for this year and the two subsequent years. Council opted to acquire all the SCBA equipment this year instead of over three years and realize some savings in the modifications to the new fire truck. Operations, including salaries and costs of maintaining the community, will be similar to last year’s costs.
You will see increases in the Water and Sewer Operating Fund assessments. While the percent of the increases will cause you to take a second look, that second look should assure you that the dollar amount is very small. The Sewer Fund will increase between $8 and $25 per year, the Water Fund between $3 and $10 per year depending on your consumption. Sewer rates are calculated on your water consumption.
From the Capital Fund you can expect to see year five of a five-year road-improvement plan completed a year early with the rehabilitation of 51A NE, 44 Place NE and, funds permitting, 44A St. NE. You will also see the completion of the Chetwynd District Centre, the renovation to the Visitor Centre, and contributions to the Library renovation project.
Still in the Capital Fund, you have already noticed the prep work for the replacement of some Boulevard trees. This work will continue over the next years.
Of interest is the purchase of a new pumper truck for the Fire Department.
This is not a comprehensive listing of the totality of expenditures Council has authorized on behalf of the people of Chetwynd but it gives you a good sense of where the bulk of your tax funds will be used.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor