Rossland CAO Bryan Teasdale (standing) explains an aspect of the budget to councillors (l-r) Scott Forsyth, Chris Bowman, and Dirk Lewis. Photo: John Boivin

City of Rossland proposes 3% tax increase

Less than last year, but average homeowner will still pay $68 more

Clarification:

Our previous coverage of the Rossland municipal budget included the statement under the sub-head ‘Raiding the piggy bank’ that council’s draft budget included a transfer of $2.9 million from variousreserves to help balance the budget.

In fact, the City is moving $2.3 million of that amount from a “general surplus” to its restricted reserves. That money was not being moved to help balance the 2019 budget.

The sub-paragraph has been removed from this version of the budget story. The News apologizes for the error.

If you would like to hear more about the budget from the experts, attend the public hearing for the financial plan on Monday, April 8 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Miners Hall.

Residents of Rossland will likely face a three per cent municipal tax increase this year.

City administrators introduced the proposed budget to council this week, calling for the increase.

For the average Rossland home worth $346,000, that would work out to about $2,176 a year, about $68 more than last year.

If passed in its current form, it would be a smaller tax increase than last year, when homeowners faced a 4.8 per cent increase.

The increase is set within a five-year proposed budget. The city plans its budget over several years to smooth out anomalies and expenses.

Balanced budget

The city budget proposes about $11.8 million in revenues, about $5.2 million of it raised by taxes. The rest of the revenue comes from grants from other governments and reserve funds.

The balanced budget also proposes about $11.8 million in expenditures.

Among the big drivers on the spending side of the budget are general government costs, at $1.5 million; transportation and public works, $1.49 million; recreation and culture, $1.1 million; and planning and engineering, at $372,000.

Other big increases on this year’s budget include an extra $23,000 for mayor and council’s pay raise (approved by the previous council), increased pool maintenance costs of $15,000, and $50,000 for cleaning up from weather-related incidents.

Capital budget planning

For the capital budget, which includes the physical plant of the city — water and sewer lines, city hall, the arena, etc. — the city plans to spend $3.066 million for general projects.

Repairing City Hall, which was damaged last year when the roof collapsed, will cost up to $500,000 (half of that will be covered by insurance). Another projected big-ticket item is $175,000 for repairs to the arena— but the city’s manager of operations warned that number could be significantly underestimated.

Transportation and public works’ budget is $1.1 million, and nearly $1 million is set aside for water and sewer infrastructure.

First reading cleared

Councillors passed first reading of the budget Monday, putting it in the process for eventual passage.

They’ll now go through the budget, sharpening pencils to look for savings, and trying to refine projected costs.

But there’s not a lot of wiggle room for councillors to save money for homeowners.

Most of the cost of running the city is borne by residential homeowners, who provide 53.9 per cent of the city’s revenues. Other taxes, grants, and user fees make up the rest.

Rossland taxpayers will have a chance to have a say on the budget soon. A public meeting will be held in the next few weeks.

 

Councillors passed first reading of the budget bylaw Monday night; two more meetings, including a public input session, will be held before the budget is finalized. Photo: John Boivin

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