The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) has wrapped up round one of budget meetings with a tax increase of 5.2 per cent over the 2013 budget year.
“The round-one numbers are very preliminary,” says Tina Perreault, SCRD Treasurer. “Year-end surpluses and deficits have not yet been finalized.”
The SCRD has three rounds of budget review, with the first round typically considering a wide range of projects and costs based on priorities. Some projects approved during round one include improvements in public transit ($44,000 for implementation of the Transit Future Plan), recreation facilities ($350,000 for capital maintenance and equipment replacement at Pender Pool), community parks ($57,250 for island trail maintenance and parks hut replacement), bike and walking paths ($370,000 gas tax revenue devoted to improvements), the Gibsons and District Fire Department, water departments and solid waste. Other projects include the continuation of the Affordable Housing Committee, a development cost charge review for regional water, and a series of energy savings projects to reduce BC Hydro costs.
“The Board is committed to delivering programs and services that are efficient, effective, and aligned with the priorities of residents and as captured within the Strategic Plan while keeping taxation as low as possible,” says Garry Nohr, SCRD Board Chair. “This year’s budget has been especially challenging with many essential projects still to be addressed.”
Major projects still awaiting Board decision include curbside recycling for Areas B and D, improvements at the Gibsons and District Aquatic Facility and landfill revenue shortfalls. These items will be brought forward to the round two budget meetings scheduled for February 18 and 19 at the SCRD Board Room, 1975 Field Road in Sechelt.
“Public input and feedback during budget meetings are very important,” says Perreault. “We urge citizens to add their voice to the decision making process and attend our meetings.”
For more information, visit www.scrd.ca/Budget or follow Twitter @SunshineCoastRD