Coldstream hosts budget input meeting
Coldstream taxpayers have a chance to examine how their municipal dollars are being spent.
The district will host a public open house today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the municipal hall to go over the 2013 budget.
The $8 million financial plan calls for a tax increase of 4.12 per cent (which equates to nearly $40 extra for the average residential property).
A few factors have led to the increase, including the mechanic shop, heightened RCMP costs and the elimination of HST April 1.
“The transition back to PST is a big issue,” said Trevor Seibel, director of financial administration.
Under the current HST tax, the district could recover 10.25 per cent of the 12 per cent tax.
But by reverting back to the GST/PST system, it can only recover the five per cent GST. The transition will cost the district approximately $75,000.
Another financial challenge for the 2013 budget is coming up with an additional $65,000 to cover increased RCMP costs.
The district budgets for seven officers, and the cost per officer has increased about $9,000 for 2013. Coldstream also has to plan for RCMP costs to double in another four or five years.
“It’s obviously a challenge,” said Seibel, of the increased cost yet need for public safety.
Other increases included in the budget include operational costs, which are being allocated to snow removal, drainage, traffic services and other public works services.
Coldstream’s budget has $3 million allocated for capital projects, which include: completion of the mechanic shop, pavement management, the Kidston Road path, a water tender for the Lavington fire hall and the Lavington wetland.
Public comments on the budget can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a comment form at www.districtofcoldstream.ca.
Public comments will be considered at the March 11 council meeting (in Lavington), as the district prepares to adopt its budget before May 15.