Cariboo Regional District hopes to hear from residents before adopting 2019 budget

A Red Bluff Sewer budget meeting will be held Feb. 5 so residents can learn about user fee increases

Before adopting its 2019 budget in late March, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) is hoping to hear from residents through a survey and public meetings.

The CRD board has endorsed the regional district’s draft 2019 budget and is now looking for public input before the final version is adopted.

Meetings will be held to discuss budgets facing significant tax increases, and the CRD encourages people to review a budget summary and take a short online survey.

“With our 2019 budget, the CRD board is balancing our goals of providing quality services, maintaining infrastructure and ensuring sustainable funding,” CRD finance chair Steve Forseth said in a press release. “As we plan and work to deliver on those goals, we want to hear from our residents about what they think of our service levels and the value they receive from their taxes.”

For 2019, the CRD’s budgeted expenditures are increasing from $48.3 million to $48.9 million. In terms of taxation, the CRD is proposing collecting 3.2 per cent more taxes than 2018.

Three new services are being added in 2019, following the public assent processes: North Cariboo Airport Service, Benjamin Water Utility Service and Lexington Water Utility Service.

“The majority of the CRD’s services are seeing no tax increase or minimal tax increases to account for inflation,” the CRD states in the press release.

There are a few other services seeing notable tax or user fee increases in 2019, in addition to the new services. Taxation is proposed to increase for the Emergency Planning Service, Solid Waste Management Services, Invasive Plant Management Service and 150 Mile Fire Protective Area Service. User fee increases are planned for the Alexis Creek and Red Bluff Sewer Services.

“In general, we are seeing increased financial pressures on many of our services,” Scott Reid, the CRD’s chief financial officer, says in the release. “Our overarching goal is to deliver our services cost-effectively with minimal tax impacts, but we are reaching the point where tax increases are becoming necessary in certain services over the next several years to maintain our service levels and meet changing regulations.”

The Regional District Board of Directors and staff encourage all residents to review the budget documents and provide feedback prior to the budget’s final adoption on March 22 by taking the survey by Feb. 19 at surveymonkey.com/r/K7VSN7S, emailing mailbox@cariboord.ca or calling the Chief Financial Officer at 250-392-3351.

A Red Bluff Sewer budget meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 5 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at The Lodge at 262 Maple Heights Rd. Interested residents are encouraged to drop-in any time.

Users of the Alexis Creek Sewer can expect a letter within the next week with more information on the user fee changes, according to the CRD.

For more information about the 2019 budget, including the budget summary, visit cariboord.ca/budget.

Paper copies of the budget documents are available at all three CRD offices and in the CRD Branch Libraries in 100 Mile House, Quesnel and Williams Lake, along with copies of the survey.

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