Calling the situation "critical," Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) administrators are recommending the board raise the taxation limit for community recreation facilities by 50 per cent to $5.4 million.
That's up about $1.8 million from the current $3.6 million allowed under the 2005 bylaw that sets the maximum taxation limit for the SCRD's four recreation facilities.
In a report to the board for round two budget talks, treasurer Tina Perreault said the bylaw limit left more than $630,000 available at the start of the budget process, but revised assessments shrunk that amount to about $520,000.
"In the round one budget, over $325,000 worth of projects were approved and the 2013 deficit grew to $147,000. Therefore, the limit bylaw has become critical, with only $51,523 remaining, at the start of round two," Perreault said.
She added that the recommended increase "is more than is required for the short term, but provides flexibility to increase capital maintenance funding or additional debt for facility enhancements."
CAO John France, who called the recommendation "the opening suggestion by staff," said there are no plans to spend up to the proposed maximum limit.
"To handle the capital maintenance deficit, we're going to need approximately $750,000 a year over the next five years," France said. For an average property assessed at $400,000, he said, that would translate into a property tax increase of between $50 and $75.
The additional funding is needed to cover the "basic necessities of keeping these facilities operational," he said.
"That's all capital maintenance. It has nothing to do with improving the facilities. We're talking about boilers, flooring, changing rooms, lighting, all those kinds of things to maintain the status quo level of service and maintain these aging facilities."
At press time, the board was scheduled to meet on Thursday (Feb. 20) to consider giving first, second and third reading to the proposed bylaw.
The proposed bylaw limit would raise the property value tax rate from 92 cents per $1,000 of net taxable value to $1.15 per $1,000, and the dollar limit from $3.6 million to $5.4 million, with the requisition limit set at the greater amount.
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