April 2021 Newsletter
Updated: Apr 6
Happy Easter, Roberts Creek! It is budget season, the pandemic continues, and SCRD staff has been running flat out for over a year. Many things are not happening at a pace we were used to pre-pandemic, from recreation offerings, replacing and training staff, and just getting the day-to-day things done while working from home or in empty offices; or having unexpected sick leave just because you have the sniffles. So please exercise patience with everyone in your lives, including SCRD staff. They are incredibly caring members of our community and they are doing their best.
The 2021 budget
The largest budget in SCRD history has passed and has been sent off to the Province. Below is a summary from a screenshot I took from our March 25 CAS agenda.
If you would like to figure out what the SCRD portion of your tax bill is, divide the assessed value of your property by 100,000 and multiply it by your area’s total residential tax rate. Here is also a link to an earlier press release after our Round 2 discussions.
We are fully aware that this is not a good time to be increasing taxes, as COVID is impacting many of us, housing affordability is dropping rapidly, and benefits like the CERB are likely to be used up. We are doing what is necessary to continue providing the services that we are tasked to provide by our community to the best of our abilities. This means that we are not here to save people money and cut taxes when times are tough, but to do our best at providing the services we were elected to provide in the most responsible manner in the framework provided to us by the local government act and at the request of the public. If these taxes are too high for our community, the way we can reduce them is by dropping service levels. We assume that things like reliably clean drinking water coming out of our taps and finding a home for our garbage is pretty high on the priority list, while having 3 pools and 2 ice rinks in a community of 30,000 people may be considered on the generous side. These are community discussions that we may need to have in the future, because costs are not going to go down anytime soon.
Regulatory requirements are increasing the cost of our fire departments, our drinking water supply and future landfills. Climate change is impacting our water supply, our infrastructure at sea level and more extreme weather events are impacting our infrastructure, as well. We are catching up on 40+ years of chronic under-investment into assets that we have been slowly accumulating, but not resourcing enough to maintain and replace them. We have over 200 projects on the go. Let us hope that we don’t burn out our staff to get them done.
It looks like we have a better than average snowpack heading into spring thanks to some recent snow, so we are starting out in a decent position for our last summer without any new water capacity. By next year we will, knock on wood, have Church Rd well online, and the year after that we can hopefully tie the Langdale well into the Chapman system with some extra capacity added by another well next to the existing one (The existing well is getting a makeover right now, as they are replacing a pump that’s been in operation since 1972!)
The results are in and the rural areas seem to be in favour of curbside recycling pickup. See the table below, where the blue column below shows for and the yellow column shows against.
We will be discussing adding that service this Thursday, April 8th at our Infrastructure Services Committee meeting.
I will once again put in a plug for my fellow director, Donna McMahon’s, newsletter. Her gift with words and layout far surpasses mine and she puts a lot of effort into keeping everyone informed.
That’s it from me for now. In case you have any questions or concerns, you can always email me.