Parks bill hikes taxes

Armstrong and Spallumcheen taxpayers will likely be on the hook for increased parks and recreation costs.

Originally Spallumcheen was eyeing a three per cent tax increase, but has now bumped that number up to five per cent.

In Armstrong the proposed tax increase is three per cent (a $19 increase for the average home assessed at $310,000).

Numbers needed to be adjusted after the Parks and Recreation Commission requested a substantial budget increase. In 2010 parks and rec received a total $793,000 from the two communities, but has asked for $1.165 million this year.

“It’s a tremendous increase,” said Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper, noting that there is some maintenance catch-up work needed in local parks and recreation facilities following recent major projects like the water park which put maintenance on hold.

Parks and rec didn’t get quite what they were asking for, but both communities worked out a number they felt was fair and that they could afford.

Armstrong will contribute $444,900 and Spallumcheen will contribute $520,227 – leaving parks and rec with a budget of approximately $965,000.

“They’ll have to make it work,” said Spallumcheen Mayor Will Hansma.

While it means taxes will jump five per cent in Spall, Hansma says the alternative was to decommission some local facilities.

“I don’t think anybody’s got the appetite for that.”

He is confident parks will be able to manage with its new budget.

“That gives us a little bit of room to do some of the stuff they need to do to some of the older buildings.”

In Armstrong, the burden on taxes was eased slightly by using the provincial small communities grant to help cover the increased parks and rec costs.

Both Armstrong and Spallumcheen’s 2011 financial plans must be adopted by May 15 under provincial legislation.