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Mayors Message

Mayors Message

It is budget season in local government. By law, we must pass our 2021 budget by mid-May, so we have laid out a schedule of meetings between now and then to wrestle with providing the level of service you want, doing the mandatory things we have to do, reviewing those extra things that would be nice to do all while keeping it as affordable as possible. In our new virtual world, that means we come together online as we move through the decision-making process with you.
The operating budget for 2021 will be approximately $14 million, with over $10 million of that coming from taxation and other levies. Of all the taxes you pay to different levels of government, you pay the least amount to your local government while we provide the services that are closest to home. We provide sewer, a hefty chunk of the policing costs, parks, trails, roads and the amazing arts and culture we enjoy in Sechelt. So, what is that worth to you? If the cost of road salt goes up, are you ok with paying more? Or do you want us to do less? Do you want more parks and trails? More grants to non-profits? What are your
priorities?
Our capital budget is mostly funded through other sources like grants and development cost charges (a fee developers pay). So when you see that we are spending almost $3 million on paving and extending the airport runway, it might seem like we are wasting money, but in fact, that work is fully funded through grants that are designated specifically for airports. While you might not use our airport, others do, and it contributes to our overall economic health. And the air ambulance capabilities of the new runway are important to our healthcare services.
There are five surveys available on our website, shared through our Facebook page and in print at the library. The surveys are on parks, roads, planning and development, protective services, arts and culture, and sewer. These things touch your lives and your wallets, so take a moment to have your say. We review various aspects of the proposed budget at each of our Committee of the Whole meetings that you can watch on our YouTube channel. And we have added some public question periods that you can join to ask your questions or make a comment. Those meeting dates are Feb. 16 at noon, Feb. 22 at 7:30pm, March 1 at noon, March 15 at noon and, March 29 at 7:30pm. Click on the big Budget Planning 2021 icon on our website to find the meetings’ links or the phone-in number.
I hear people complain about government spending, but they don’t take the time to join a meeting or take a survey to tell us what their priorities are. Take a minute to join the conversation and help set the direction for our community.

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