Pandemic budget woes
This pandemic certainly does not seem to be going away any time soon. At the Regional District Board table we have come to the realization that this is the new normal, and we can't keep reducing our budget by cutting reserve contributions to our services to temporarily give tax breaks.
We have had our first pre-budget meeting for 2021 and it looks like the average Roberts Creek Home may see a $300+ increase of their property taxes for next year as things stand. The impending landfill closure and the associated costs (approx. $6 million) are a big reason, and we are finally looking at post closure options.
Adding more water to our system is also not cheap, so expect an increase in utility fees, as well ($9 million for Church Rd, with more coming).
We are seeing a compounding effect of historic underfunding for the replacement and maintenance of our assets, climate change, regulatory increases (like environmental flow needs of Chapman Creek and increased firefighter training and competency requirements), downloading by senior levels of government (like docks, police based victim services and libraries) and COVID related costs (lower admission revenue and higher operating costs in recreation and transit, for example).
I want to give you a heads-up on this and would welcome engagement. Please keep in mind that we are trying our best to keep the services we currently provide going as best as we can, but at some point COVID and/or our wallets may force us into making some difficult decisions.
Here is a link to the pre-budget meeting agenda. From p.194 onwards you can see what projects are currently under way (in pink) or being planned. Specific feedback would be appreciated (e.g. I think you should not go ahead with this for these reasons…Or I think we should reduce the services offered in this department for the following reasons). I can’t do much with generic feedback (e.g. I can’t afford an extra $300 on my property tax bill).