Council has completed the bulk of their deliberations for the City of Powell River Five Year Financial Plan. The Financial Plan sets out the City of Powell River proposed expenditures, proposed funding sources, and proposed transfers between funds for the period January 01, 2012 to December 31, 2016. The Financial Plan must be adopted prior to adoption of the Annual Property Tax Bylaw, which must occur by May 15. Before adopting the Financial Plan, Council must provide an opportunity for public consultation regarding the proposed Plan. The date for the public consultation meeting is to be determined.
For the year 2012, the Financial Plan proposes a 3.8% increase in residential taxation and a 1.0% increase in business/other taxation. In order to support sustainability, the funds from these taxation increases are allocated to City Reserves for Asset Management and will not be directed to operations. Major Industry taxation is $2,250,000 in accordance with Revitalization Tax Exemption Program Bylaw 2304, 2011. Proposed fees and charges increases of 10% for water and 5% for sewer supports water and sewer operations and related capital projects.
When preparing the City’s 2012 General Operations budget a shortfall of approximately $620,000 was determined. Council reviewed all areas of City operations to deal with the shortfall and minimize the impact on taxation. The outcome is a General Operations balanced budget with the shortfall addressed by reductions in operations and without a further taxation increase to taxpayers.
Operational changes include:
Reductions in staffing levels
Reduced transit operating hours
Changes to garbage/recycling collection
Closure of the Recreation Complex Concession
Reduced staff vacation relief, staff training and travel budgets throughout the organization
City Hall closure over Christmas season
Reduced maintenance at City facilities
Members of CUPE local 798 and IAFF local 1298 have been consulted regarding the operational changes. Council anticipates that both unions will work collaboratively with the City in implementing the changes.
In considering the 2012 budget, Council focused on minimizing the taxation impact on City taxpayers, supporting and maintaining financial sustainability and living within our means.