Recent History – 1999
Nov. 30, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The new city council will be left in good financial shape says Councillor Dale Bumstead. As one of its last acts, the current council gave three readings Monday to a provisional budget for 2000 and an amended budget for 1999.
Bumstead, responsible for the finance portfolio, said the new council will be handed a provisional budget that aims to hold the line on taxes and includes a sizable contingency fund.
Revenue generated from the 1998 assessment of property has increased to $5.464 million from $5.329 million. Bumstead attributed the rise to construction in 1999 of such buildings as the new Lake View Credit Union.
Taxes revenue to be generated from new construction meanwhile, has been estimated at $150,000 for next year. That’s $25,000 more than those for 1999, but Bumstead said the prediction may still be on the conservative side.
“I believe our new assessment for 2000 is probably going to generate as much as maybe $250,000 or maybe even more,” he said. “But we guess at that number until we actually get the assessment notice, and so I asked administration to be fairly conservative.”
He noted the contingency forward for 1999 is at $342,370, which, he said, is enough to offset any further cut in transfer payments from the provincial government.
“If they cut that completely, the transfer payments, we have enough left in contingency that we wouldn’t have to worry about a tax rate increase,” he said.
The provisional budget, which the new council will use until a final budget for 2000 is passed in May, totals $16,728,099, which is $304,487 higher than the amended budget for 1999.
Revenue from property taxes was conservatively estimated at $5,464,000 while revenue from major industrial is expected to total $418,700. Council expects to collect $150,000 in new taxes from new construction, compared to $125,000 new construction taxes in the 1999 amended budget.
Fair Share revenue for the general budget is expected to drop by $324,250 to $400,000, the difference being the taxes owed on the Silverado Hotel which the city took over, and then sold.
“We had to have a funding source for that money to pay out for the Silverado, and so we took it out of Fair Share and plugged it in there to purchase it.”
In all, the city gets about $4 million from Fair Share. About $400,000 is put into the city’s operating budget to do minor capital programs such as street lights and new signs.
The rest is for major capital budget which the new council members will finalize in February or March.
Wrapping up 1999, council also made adjustments to this year’s budget, knows as the amended budget.
The amended budget for municipal services totals $16,423,612, which is a $711,750 increase over the total for the annual budget that council passed in May.
About half that increase comes from higher than anticipated revenues from other sources, which rose by $357,700.
Bumstead said much of that increase was due to increased use of the parks and recreation department’s after school programs and because of an increase in revenue from building permits.
Much of that increase is offset by a $204,200 increase on the expenses side under the recreation and culture function, while an additional $416,200 will go into reserves.
Revenue from property tax was $89,000 higher than expected, thanks to a larger return from major industrial, reaching a total of $5,872,700. An extra $90,650 also went into the Fair Share fund and an additional $145,700 came from government transfers.
Sales of services were up by $17,500, and other transfers were up by $16,900.
Revenue from water frontage fell by $5,000 while revenue from sewer frontage and fuel tax fell by $4,000 respectively and grants in lieu of taxes was down by $1,700.
On the expenditure side, the cost of environment services rose by $70,200 due to increased use of the landfill, while protective services rose by $57,600.
Bumstead said the increase was due partly to the RCMP getting a full-complement, while that increase was partly offset by the early retirement of some Dawson Creek Fire Department members.
General government expenditures fell by $41,650, transportation services dropped by $35,300, and the cost of other services went down by $12,000.
The council elected on Nov. 20 will be installed on Dec. 6. From the current council, only the Mayor Blair Lekstrom and Coun. Bob Gibbs will be part of the new council.