Thursday, November 14, 2013

2014 Budget Review

Tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 15th) morning City Council finalizes the budget for next year.  Keep in mind this is just a smaller review.  The previous Council set out a three-year budget beginning in 2012 and culminating in 2014.  However, each year Council is able to tweak the budget.  So without further ado, here is what we face tomorrow:

I'm going to try to make this as clear as I can without getting into too many details.  I'm also still learning about the finer points, so bear with me.

Council has been presented with a number of spending proposals from administration and community groups.  I've listed several of the larger ones ($500K+) below:

Artificial turf football field at CKC: $2.74 million
Eastlink Centre parking: $2.03 million
CGA Truss & Rigging upgrades: $2.66 million
Odyssey House Supportive Housing project: $700,000
Community Space at Isabel Campbell school: $500,000
City Hall First Floor redesign: $500,000

Other projects (< 500K): $1.5 million

Additionally, we are going to find out tomorrow the capital costs associated with the Leisure Centre and the Bear Creek pool renos as well as a list of road/storm water/traffic signal/trail projects.

So we are going to be faced with between $10-$20 million in new expenditure proposals.

Let's look where we're at on the revenue side:

The core operational and capital budgets have been set, but there is a small amount available to us that has not been allocated yet.  These budgeted amounts are $3.4 million in operating and $3.7 million in capital.  These amounts were originally budgeted for with a 3.3% tax rate increase, but due to a number of factors, these amounts now equate to a 1.8% increase.

In addition, there is a $3.4 million surplus from this year that could be used for expenditures.  We'll have to discuss whether we would want to use that entire surplus up, or have it go into our Financial Stabilization Reserve for future expenditures.  So in sum, there is about $10.5 million we have to work with (at a 1.8% tax rate increase).  Of course, we could choose to higher/lower the tax rate.  A 1% increase/decrease equates to a $900,000 change in revenues. 

So there's the scoop.  Tough decisions will have to be made; but that's what we were elected to do.  Thank you to everyone who has shared their thoughts on the budget and/or specific proposals.  If you have additional comments, let me know by 9am tomorrow!  Feel free to watch us online starting at 9am or come on by City Hall to watch the action in person!


  1. Spending proposal listed in the order above My priorities (1-6)
    a. 6. User's should pay or facility bring economic benefit
    b. 1. All families use the E link centre. Parking is critical
    c. 5. What is the CGA? trusses? Big $. more info req
    d. 2. Homelessness is important in this city.
    e. 3. Isabel C community space serves everyone
    f. 4. Why does the 1st floor need change. Save $

    No money to financial stabilization reserve. It seems more like a slush fund to pull from for city managers without council oversight. Not to say they waste it but still. Lower the tax rate! You heard the stats on the radio today-I hope. We have a bad Mill rate in this city.

    1. Thanks for the comments Walter. To answer your question: the CGA is the Canada Games Arena. Currently our trusses are only weighted for 40,000 lbs while most shows nowadays are bringing in equipment requiring 80,000 to 100,000 lbs of support. Over the past year alone, we had the promoters of Carrie Underwood, KISS, and Eric Church come to us first, but had to go to EnCana because we couldn't support their equipment.

      You may have seen my blog post earlier where I was not in favour at this time of the large scale Crystal Centre expansion, but thought that the truss upgrade would be a cost-effective third option. Of course, we'll have to see whether it's a high enough priority once all the other proposals are presented tomorrow.

  2. really need to look at the Crystal Centre return on investment .. will putting millions more into that facility benefit us or are we sinking more into the black hole trying to make that facility into something it was never designed for? No matter how much money you pour into that centre, it's never going to be a good concert venue.