The District of Clearwater could see a five per cent increase in spending, should a proposed 2022 budget be approved in the coming months.
Council has begun deliberation on the $5-million-plus budget, and heard from different departments on upcoming projects.
Council members stressed that they were considering how much the overall budget should increase for the upcoming year, not how much tax rates will increase for the municipality.DOC staff tabled two financial plans. Although the dollar figures are the same for both, one includes potential COVID-19 funding and the other does not. The potential taxation increases are five and 12.62 per cent, respectively.
Mayor Merlin Blackwell noted he is comfortable with the five per cent increase, adding there are many projects that have already been postponed.
“Me saying five per cent more does not mean your taxes are going to go up five per cent, that’s not the case,” he stressed. “At this point, there’s still so many variables in the conversation.”
Council members also noted that 2022 is an election year, something Coun. Shelley Sim said should positively impact how they make budget decisions.
“That we are focused on growing our community being a sustainable and responsible community, so it’s not a popularity contest, it is actually to do what we’re supposed to do and that’s look after those who come next.”
An open house is scheduled for Feb. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. for the public to provide feedback and ask questions about the proposed draft five-year financial plan. The budget documents can be found in the Jan. 18 agenda package on the district’s website. Tax rates are slated to be discussed in March.