The Fraser Valley Regional District board is considering the 2023-2027 FVRD financial plan on Thursday (Feb. 16) with a committee-of-the-whole budget review planned before sending it out for public consultation.
“This financial plan is no different than prior years, fiscal management and conservatism is key,” wrote FVRD chief administrative officer Jennifer Kinneman in the report comments. “Costs are always scrutinized.”
Asset management and reserves to allow replacement are in the spotlight, and the board has the option to approve the motion as presented, or amend and approve during the meeting.
“The needs are growing greater than the funding will permit,” Kinneman’s report said. “The FVRD has identified assets at risk, whereby the historical tax levels have not kept pace and the reserve balances are insufficient.”
At the regional committee-of-the-whole, FVRD staff will be seeking support for recommendations on budgets proposed with new projects or initiatives, and/or or tax increases greater than inflation and an overall endorsement to proceed with public consultation.
Additional funding of $50,000 for Chilliwack Search and Rescue is being proposed.
“Further, this year marks the second year of a formal request for submissions on regional grants-in-aid. For context, in 2021 a report was brought forward to the board to change the regional grants-in-aid process to an annual call for proposals. For the 2023 plan, there were five requests submitted for regional grants-in-aid, totalling $32,400.“
B.C.’s inflation rate is above the national average which is almost seven per cent at the moment.
“Staff continue to focus on securing external funding to offset the tax burden on property owners.”
In many cases service area budget proposals are below inflationary levels. In cases where the tax requirements exceed inflation, those were highlighted. The Local Government Act requires the adoption of the fve-year financial plan by March 31.
“The timeline for this Plan was shifted due to elections in late 2022 in order to enable decision-making and visibility of the plan to the new board.”
Public question period will see participation live on Zoom, by phone or computer using the Zoom information provided on the FVRD website (FVRD.ca) Check out how to participate.
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