First look at Rossland's 2017-2021 financial plan
The 2017-2021 Budget and Financial Plan includes a 4.75 per cent tax increase.
Rossland City Council passed its first reading of the budget at Monday night’s council meeting, which still leaves a number of steps that need to be taken before it can be finalized in time for the May 15 B.C. municipal budget deadline.
The five-year plan includes a 4.75 per cent tax increase for homeowners, business owners, farm owners and every other property-owning taxpayer. That may be welcome news to taxpayers who attended last year’s public input session on the 2016-2020 Budget and Financial Plan, where Steve Ash, consulting manager of finance at the time, warned residents that taxes could increase by 10 per cent in 2017 unless the city found a way to cut $250,000 in expenditures from its budget.
Comparing the 2017-2021 plan to the 2016-2020 plan, the former shows $5,327,241 more in total revenue, $5,219,891 of which came from grants. The 2017 plan also shows $943,723 more in total expenses.
Mayor Kathy Moore raised one change that may need to be made before a second reading. In the schedule showing the proposed distribution of property taxes among property classes for this year, “Business and Other” account for 0.11 per cent of property taxes and “Managed Forest” accounts for 8.87 per cent, which Moore believed was backwards. She asked staff to look into the apparent discrepancy, but if the 2016 plan is correct then the 2017 schedule appears to be incorrect. In the 2016 plan “Business and Other” account for 8.76 per cent and “Managed Forest” accounts for 0.02 per cent.
Rossland council proceeds with adopting short-term rental recommendations
Rossland council gave the go ahead for city staff to begin making the bylaw amendments needed to implement the recommendations made by the Short Term Rental Advisory Committee.
As part of its recommendations, the committee believed that short-term renters in Old Rossland, which excludes Red Mountain and the Redstone area, should have to apply for a rezoning amendment for their rental property and that only one should be allowed per block. It also recommended that all short-term renters pay a Tourism Rossland fee, to be included in the business license fee that short-term renters will need to pay.
Councillors had concerns about how to successfully implement the recommendations, but city CAO Bryan Teasdale explained that to implement the changes, city staff will need to actively change three bylaws, each of which will come before council for approval. “The most immediate one that we’ll probably be looking at doing is our Business License Bylaw,” he said.
A concern raised by Coun. Aaron Crosby was whether or not existing short-term rentals would be grandfathered in if there was already more than one per block.
“I think we’ll leave it with staff and they’ll come back to us,” said Moore. “There are little wrinkles you’ll have to work out.”