As the new year approaches, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) will be starting 2022 budget discussions with 85 new projects on the discussion table. It’s not out with the old yet –147 carry-over projects from previous years are also entering 2022.
Following Round 1 discussions earlier in December, the SCRD released its preliminary tax estimates on Dec. 21, with a preliminary average property tax increase of just under seven per cent.
Per $100,000 of assessed value of homes, by area, the breakdown is: an increase of $40.70 for Area A, $30.60 for Area B, $5.51 for Area B Islands, $17.34 for Area D, $9.47 for Area E, $7.53 for the District of Sechelt, $8.11 for the Sechelt Indian Government District and $10.33 for the Town of Gibsons. Area F and Area F Islands both see a decrease from 2021’s rate of -$1.61 for Area F and -$9.34 for Area F Islands.
These numbers represent the SCRD portion of residents’ tax bills only, and do not include increases on utility bills. The BC Assessment will be updated in January.
The top projects driving the 2022 budget and increases are related to water services, emergency services and solid waste, the press release said.
There are two major meetings left in the budget process: Round 2 budget meetings on Jan. 24 and the adoption of the financial plan in February. Staff will present the projected implications for taxation to the board during Round 2.
SCRD directors will host virtual information sessions on January 12, 13, 18 and 19. More information about these events and how to attend can be found at letstalk.scrd.ca/budget and the SCRD’s Facebook page.
On Dec. 16, just days after Round 1 budget discussions concluded, the SCRD’s corporate services department received an award for its 2021 budget.
The Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award “reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting,” a press release from the SCRD stated.
There are four guidelines used to assess a budget: as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and as a communications device.
“Achievement of this award demonstrates the SCRD’s commitment to high-quality financial reporting and transparency,” the SCRD’s general manager of corporate services and chief financial officer, Tina Perreault, said in the press release. “A special thank you to our staff, which has shown their commitment in making sure that our residents are informed with quality financial documents.”