The Town of Qualicum Beach has started budget deliberations that include opportunities for the public to provide their views and input.
Public consultation is an integral part of the town’s financial planning process, and this is the first year of a two-year process to improve public engagement.
A draft financial plan has been prepared in accordance with best practices recommended by the Government of Financial Officers Association (GFOA), the gold standard for local governments wanting to achieve a high standard of transparency in quality.
It was presented at the first budget committee of the whole meeting on Wednesday, March 15. The draft highlighted the plans and expenditures of the different departments, strategic plans, asset management, and capital program.
Consultant Paul Murray, who has been assisting with the town’s budget due to the recent hiring of new director of finance Ray Hayre, presented the framework of the town’s five-year financial plan, which needs to be adopted by May 15. Hayre said the is “a work in progress.”
The 2023 draft financial projections expect property taxes to go up 5.6 per cent this year, that would result to a typical household paying $114 to a typical home assessed at $983,000.
“The increase is less than current inflation,” said Murray, who added that it compares well with other local governments. “It sustains the organization’s ability to provide the same level of service and manage risk.”
Murray said the rise in the tax rate reflects on the substantial consumer price increase during the year as well the increased capacity in policing, corporate services and planning and provides the town a modest hike in asset replacement funding.
Water, sewer and solid waste rate increases also account for an additional $74 increase for an overall combined total of $188 or 6.3 per cent tax increase. A typical single family home is expected to be charged $3,168 this year, up from $2,981 in 2022.
The draft Financial Plan is now available on the Town’s website at qualicumbeach.com/_finance
To encourage community input the following meetings are open to the public to provide input and ask questions. These committee of the whole meetings will be held in the Council Chamber of Town Hall at 10 a.m.:
- Thursday, March 16, COW meeting (budget presentations)
- Thursday, March 23, COW meeting (budget presentations)
- Wednesday, March 29, COW & Special Council meeting (2023-2027 Financial Plan)
Following public input, the Financial Bylaw will be given readings by Council to meet the relevant adoption deadline for submission to the Ministry. These meetings will be held in the Council Chamber of Town Hall at 10:00 am
- Wednesday, April 19, Special Council meeting (1st Bylaw Reading)
- Wednesday, April 26, Special Council meeting (2nd Bylaw Reading)
- Wednesday, May 3, Regular Council meeting (3rd Bylaw Reading)
- Wednesday, May 10, Special Council meeting (Bylaw Adoption)
Ways to engage in the financial planning process are as follows:
- Ask questions and provide input at the COW meetings.
- View the meeting live and after the meeting at qualicumbeach.com/council-live-streaming.
- Write to Council via email at [email protected] or via mail to P.O. Box 130, Qualicum Beach, V9K 1S7. Comments to be considered by Council at the meetings should be received by noon on the day before the COW meeting.