On the first and second days of November, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors met to begin pre-budget discussions for the 2022 year.
At the meetings, 82 new proposals for projects were presented for consideration, and 24 of those proposals were considered “mandatory” to be included in the 2022 draft budget. These mandatory projects include nearly $2 million for safety improvements for dams at Chapman, McNeil and Edwards Lakes, as well as repairs to wastewater facilities, and replacement of vital equipment such as a garage hoist to assist with the maintenance and repair of transit and emergency vehicles.
There are approximately 164 projects being carried forward into the pre-budget process, some of which SCRD staff said they anticipate will be completed by year end.
In December, 15 staffing positions associated with maintaining services and the proposed projects will be discussed as part of the next round of budget discussions. A press release from the SCRD notes that some of these positions are temporary and others will be funded through future budget cycles.
The meetings also included the results of the SCRD’s budget survey, which received responses from 583 residents and more than 600 comments between Sept. 27 and Oct. 22. More than a third of the comments related to how the SCRD can better communicate with residents about the budget.
Virtual community information sessions outlining the general financial situation will be held on Nov. 16 and 23, and allow for the public to ask questions.
In the budget process, there will be three more public meetings: Round 1 on Dec. 13 to 15 will include new proposals as well as presentations from community partners and stakeholders. Round 2 will include budget proposals that were not fully approved in the previous round. During Round 2, the projected implications to taxation will be presented. Then, the budget is scheduled to be adopted in late February.