Finance department releases budget figures

The zero per cent tax increase was achieved through dozens of departmental cost-savings.

A circle graph explaining how the zero per cent tax increase was achieved.

The district’s finance department has released a document explaining how it was able to find $1.6 million in savings in order to present a 2012 budget with no tax increases.

Mayor Ted Adlem first announced the news during Monday evening’s council meeting.

According to the document, 27 reductions or deferrals in spending, including $220,000 from RCMP integrated teams, $122,177 from reduced capital contributions, and $385,345 from position vacancies, allowed the district to present a zero per cent tax increase.

Several small cost-cutting items were found in each department, including eliminating $32,000 for the mayor’s part-time clerk, $46,000 in reducing RCMP front desk operating hours, and $65,359 in removing maintenance for new infrastructure.

Not everything received cutbacks. There were several non-discretionary items in the budget that were inflated from the previous year due to contracts, such as employee wages and benefits, the new West Coast Express and transit agreement signed in the summer, RCMP services, and hydro rates.

As well, the snow removal budget received a $20,000 boost, Fraser River Heritage Park will get an extra $6,600, and there’s an additional $3,145 to enhance staffing for the youth lounge.

The total budget will be $58.9 million, the same as it was last year, while water and sewer rates will both increase two per cent.

Details of the draft budget can read by downloading the document from the district’s website, while a public information session is scheduled for Thursday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.