It’s that time of year again – when city council works on shrinking the city’s burgeoning budget.
Both Nov. 29 and 30 are the days this year when mayor and council are sitting down with city staff to see where cuts can best be made.
In a post on social media on Nov. 28, Coun. Tim Lavery wrote: “Salmon Arm costs associated with the new RCMP collective agreement and lump-sum retroactive award makes this 2022 budget the most challenging I’ve seen to date.”
After each department has gone through its proposed expenses and projects for 2022, city council takes the overall tax increase projected to see if it can be reduced.
This year the budget presented to council included a 4.03 per cent tax increase, as well as a two per cent increase each to the annual water and sewer user fees.
For what’s described as an “average residential home” assessed on Oct. 2021 at $422,200, the municipal property tax levy would be $1,674, an increase of $65 from 2021.
Added to that would be the across-the-board $150 parcel tax, the water and sewer frontage tax (60 taxable feet) at $244, and the curbside collection user fee at $101. Both the annual water user fee at $292 and the annual sewer user fee of $327 include a $6 increase.
The total for that home would be $2,788.
The proposed budget document also shows that the impact of the 2022 municipal tax increase per $100,000 of assessed value would be $15.36. For businesses, the impact would be a $43.47 increase per $100,000 of assessed value.
In a 12-page memorandum to council about the proposed budget, Chelsea Van de Cappelle, the city’s chief financial officer, said the police services budget has a net increase of $384, 630.
“The police budget has consistently, over the past years, been a prominent factor behind the tax increases and this year is no exception,” she wrote.
The hike includes an increase in number of officers from 20 to 21, although the new person would not start at the beginning of the new year.
A number of other areas in the city’s proposed budget also project increases. It’s not known if council will conclude its deliberations at the end of the day on Nov. 30.
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