The budget is in keeping with a strategy adopted by the board a few years ago of keeping budget increases down to as close to the one-per-cent mark as possible, and avoiding a roller coaster of ups and downs from year to year.
The tax requisition part of the budget is expected to increase by about 0.55 per cent.
Area P residents will see an increase of less than a per cent, equating to about $4 on an average house ($472.16 compared to $468.04 last year). The Area P share of the budget requisition is $1,368,983, up slightly from 2016 but new growth softens the impact and actually reduces the tax rate from 1.6422 to 1.5818. As well, the residential share is down minimally.
Average house price in Area P is $298,495, highest of the 10 electoral areas.
Overall expenditures for the region come to $58,506,694, of which about $24 million comes from municipal and electoral area taxes split evenly (other budget revenue comes from such things as fees and senior-government grants). The biggest slice of the budget pie goes to environmental health services with 33 per cent, followed by recreation and culture with 25 per cent, general government with 14 per cent, utilities with 13 per cent and protective services at 10 per cent.
Finance director Doug Rae told the board there are no brand new services this year but the budget includes the Black Pines water-source project, a new reservoir in Savona, various park and community hall improvements and the new backup generator for the Pritchard sewer system that will be funded with a provincial grant (as posted here yesterday).
About $300,000 has been allowed for the Cache Creek eco-depot.
Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine raised a concern about the combined impact of TNRD and Thompson Regional Hospital District taxes, as the latter are going up $20 per average house due to the local share of the patient-care tower project at Royal Inland Hospital.
Raine emphasized that he supports the much-needed investment in healthcare facilities at the hospital but would like to see it considered in the context of overall taxes in future.