Council to consider 2024 – 2028 Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw January 22

After much hard work, discussion and debate, City of Cranbrook council has directed city administration to bring forward the proposed 2024 – 2028 Five-Year Financial Plan bylaw to their regular meeting on Monday, January 22.

The direction from council is the outcome of their special meeting held on Wednesday, January 10 at City Hall.

The 2024 – 2028 financial plan is to set a tax levy increase of 8.32%, including the one per cent Road Dedicated Tax, or $17.38 per month for the average residential property in the city for 2024.

Monthly utility fees will increase $4.50 per month in 2024.

Sewer fees represent most of the increase at $3 per month. In 2024, a new reserve will be established to provide funding for regular desludging of the city’s sanitary sewer lagoons. The first desludging is scheduled for 2025. The project is budgeted at $4.5 million. As there will not be enough accumulated in the reserve, the city will need to borrow the funds.

Inflationary pressures which have been a thorn for municipalities, businesses, and individuals for the past couple of years continue to rise across many commodities and services. These pressures continue to impact many of the city’s operating and project costs, as residents and businesses face.

Municipal policing, the Memorial Arena repairs, transit, software contracts, supplies and parts, and contract services, along with the one per cent dedicated road tax, wages and benefits are behind what makes up the budget increase in 2024.

Mayor Wayne Price

“Municipalities are facing a very difficult time in dealing with municipal budgets. Costs to provide services have steadily outpaced the ability for municipalities to generate revenues required to maintain same level of service,” said Mayor Wayne Price. “I am very pleased that staff, finance and council were able to bring this budget forward in spite of the challenges they faced.”

“This year’s budget process was extremely challenging. Costs continue to rise across all departments. Areas where budget increases had been deferred, could no longer absorb rising costs without jeopardizing service levels,” said Charlotte Osborne, Director of Finance for the City of Cranbrook.

“Cost increases on capital projects continue to challenge our reserves. Many large and critical projects have seen budget increases over 50%. The impact these increases are having on reserve balances will have long-lasting implications.”

Historically, at this stage of the process the public is invited to submit comments about the proposed financial plan. This year, public input was accepted through November 2023 with a great public response received.

Provided the 2024 – 2028 Five-Year Financial Plan bylaw receives three readings on January 22, 2024, the bylaw could come back for adoption on Monday, February 5.

e-KNOW file photo

City of Cranbrook