The Cariboo Regional District board meets for a finance budget committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Cariboo Regional District board meets for a finance budget committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

CRD continues toward adopting 5-year financial plan, final adoption anticipated March 24

Public had the opportunity to provide feedback through a online survey up until Feb.

The Cariboo Regional District is one step closer to finalizing its five-year financial plan, which has to be adopted by March 31.

During a finance budget committee meeting Thursday, Feb. 23, the board approved the draft financial plan for 2023-2027.

The plan provides for total revenue collection and spending authorizations of $58.41 million, with $29.83 million (51.1 per cent) being financed through property taxation for 2023.

Jim Glassford, Area I director and chair of the finance-budget committee said the board, staff and key stakeholders have tried to keep taxes as low as possible with the budget.

“While we are being challenged by extraordinary inflation levels, I am thankful for the collective effort to ensure that we are being fiscally responsible and only taxing at levels that are necessary to fund the services we provide.”

An increase of $1.47 million is anticipated for the 2023 budget, when compared to the 2022 levels, total property tax revenues would increase by $1.17 million or 4.1 per cent overall, the CRD said, noting the financial plan also authorizes a $851,119 draw-down from previous years’ surplus, from $16.02 million to $15.17 million.

Services in the financial plan are solid waste management, emergency preparedness, fire protection, recreation facilities, regional libraries, and land use and development planning.

In total the CRD funds 125 regional, sub-regional and local services, which are divided up among the region’s residents. At the regular meeting on March 24, the board will be asked to consider adopting the financial plan.

Under legislation the CRD is required to do public consultation before final adoption of the plan.

On Jan. 19, 2023, the CRD released its budget for feedback from the public and posted a survey online through social media and made paper copies available until a deadline of Feb. 10.

At Thursday’s meeting communications manager Gerald Pinchbeck gave the board a summary of the low response of survey results showing only 24 people did the survey online and two people did the paper version.

He said survey respondents consistently raised road maintenance and property assessments as concerns, despite neither being the responsibility of regional districts.

Rural water systems and taxation levels were other subject areas which were featured in the survey and online feedback. The highest ranked services by the respondents were fire protection and 9-1-1, emergency programs and recreation.

Pinchbeck said doing the survey through social media cost the CRD about $100 as opposed to spending $12,000 to print it and mail it to all residents.

With files from the Cariboo Regional District

Cariboo Regional District