Regional district approves 2016 budget

Region-wide services to increase by 1.1 per cent; regional rural services to decrease by 4.7 per cent

Bar graphs show Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako’s tax rates from 2012 to 2016. The trend lines represent an average tax rate increase from 2012 to 2016 of 1.1 per cent for municipal taxpayers and 1.7 per cent for rural taxpayers.

Bar graphs show Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako’s tax rates from 2012 to 2016. The trend lines represent an average tax rate increase from 2012 to 2016 of 1.1 per cent for municipal taxpayers and 1.7 per cent for rural taxpayers.

Flavio NienowLake District News

 

Directors of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) will have an easier time presenting the RDBN’s budget to their constituents this year.

In March of 2015, the board was dealing with double-digit tax increases – region-wide services increased by 15.5 per cent while taxation on regional rural services increased by 22.4 per cent.

This year, taxation on region-wide services will increase by 1.1 per cent while taxation on regional rural services will decrease by 4.7 per cent.

Tax on a $100,000 residential property went from 0.9 per cent in 2015 to 0.92 per cent in 2016 for municipal taxpayers; for rural taxpayers, the tax rate remained at 1.19 per cent, same as 2015.

According to Hans Berndorff, Financial Administrator of the RDBN, the biggest factor behind the lower tax increases this year was an increase of $480,000 in last year’s surplus, which allowed the regional district to offset tax increases.

Other factors that contributed to the low increase this year include an initiative to bring the management of the landfills in-house, as opposed to contracting it out. As a result, landfill operating costs were reduced by $400,000. However, in order to reduce landfill operating costs, the RDBN was required to purchase new equipment, which will result in debt repayment over the next five years. Berndorff said the RDBN will likely see another significant tax increase at the end of that five-year period.

In addition, the RDBN has reduced its scrap metals budget from $150,000 to $25,000, and switched its 9-1-1 service provider – the RCMP – to E-comm, resulting in a decrease of $152,000 in this year’s budget.

After the significant increase in taxation in 2015, the board of directors highlighted the need to pay more attention to the financial implications of their decisions throughout the year. They proposed the creation of a finance committee that would provide guidance to the board of directors during the budgeting process. However, the committee was never created.

Last year the board also discussed if the RDBN had been relying too much on surpluses from previous years to offset tax increases. At the time, Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said that although Smithers had used surpluses from previous years to offset tax increases, the town had never relied on surpluses to lower taxation.

Bachrach asked Bendorff if there was any way the RDBN could transition into linking its tax increases to changes in service levels, as opposed to relying on money from previous surpluses to lower taxation.

Bendorff answered by saying that this transition could result in even more taxation. “Once you’re in the mode of using prior years’ surpluses, like all regional districts do, it’s very difficult to transition out of that,” Berndorff said in 2015.

According to Bill Miller, Director of Electoral Area B, fluctuation in taxation is common. That’s why the RDBN has been looking at five-year periods to analyse tax increases.

Looking at the RDBN’s five-year trend, from 2012 to 2016 there was an average tax rate increase of 1.1 per cent for municipal taxpayers and 1.7 per cent for rural taxpayers.

 

Just Posted

Grads at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof celebrates 2021 graduates

NVSS grads got together at Riverside Park on Friday, June 11 in… Continue reading

Singing and drumming was heard in downtown Vanderhoof on Monday, June 14. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Photos: Honour Walk held in Vanderhoof

An honour walk was held Monday June 14 in Vanderhoof, remembering the… Continue reading

Emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspicious fire at the southeast corner of the OK Café in Vanderhoof Friday, June 11. The historic building is 101-years-old. (BC RCMP photo)
OK Café in Vanderhoof alright after suspicious fire

Damage kept to a minimum by firefighters

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read