Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) new chief administrative officer Dean McKinley described the budget in front of directors at Round 2 earlier this week as “overwhelming.”
There are more than 65 projects left over from last year, and more than 130 projects introduced for 2020. That volume was reflected in the preliminary overall tax increases shown to directors on the first day of Round 2 budget discussions.
In a release following the conclusion of Round 2 budget talks, the SCRD estimated residential tax bills to increase by between $50 and $300.
The increases remain preliminary, and the SCRD’s tax bill makes up a portion of the municipalities’ and SIGD taxes.
Due to the increase in projects, the budget adds the equivalent of approximately 15 full-time positions. Jobs have been “static” at the SCRD for the past 10 years, minus the 2017-18 transit expansion, the SCRD said in a release.
“We have an ambitious strategic plan, we have a lot of projects that have not been started historically that we’re trying to address now,” said McKinley when introducing the budget at Round 2 discussions, held Monday and Tuesday.
“We’re trying to wrap our heads around asset management, and the ramifications around that. We have substantial and significant water issues,” in addition to solid waste management, he said.
Forty-five water projects have been included, as has curbside organics collection in rural areas. A 2025 landfill closure plan is also being developed. “Significant investments” have been made to add new fire trucks to fleets in Gibsons, Roberts Creek and Halfmoon Bay, among other investments.
“The community has asked for strong action on key services such as water and the board is delivering that through this budget,” board chair Lori Pratt said in the release.
Budget adoption is expected Feb. 27.