Council looks to maintain services, keep up with inflation and infrastructure needs with 6.5% budget increase
Every year by law, local governments must prepare a Five-year Financial Plan which outlines revenues and expenses for the current year and projections for the next 4 successive years. This year, Council is taking a bold step in what it feels is the best direction for the Town of Golden. Part of that step means an increase to the budget.
“We need our budget to increase 6.5% this year, and in successive years, to start meaningfully addressing the significant and nation-wide issue of infrastructure deficit, while still maintaining the services and quality of life our citizens, visitors, and the economy expect,” says Mayor Ron Oszust. “No more can we simply keep up with inflation – we have responsibilities to our local society that far outweigh the ‘business as usual’ approach.”
The budget increase will also allow the Town to maintain our existing levels of services rather than cutting services while keeping up with the increasing costs of energy, labour, materials and general inflation (Consumer Price Index).
Some of the services we provide for you include (but are not limited to) water, wastewater collection, curbside waste/recycling collection services, maintenance and enhancement of streets, sidewalks, parking lots and dykes, recreation service programming and partnerships, emergency services for natural disasters, a full service fire department, planning and development services.
In most cases, about half of the money needed each year by municipal governments to provide and maintain services is raised through property taxes. There are also several other revenue sources for us that we depend upon, including other government grants and transfers, sale of services, developer contributions, and earnings on investments.
Every year, Council has the ability to set tax rates. As business and residential usually take on the bulk of the municipal tax rate, for the past few years Council has been working toward making that an even split.
The actual Financial Plan Bylaw being considered by Council is many, many pages.
“That’s why we have developed a Budget Book to make it a little simpler,” says Town of Golden CAO, Jon Wilsgard. “The document can be found on our website at www.golden.ca, on Facebook, in hard copy at Town Hall, and will be available at the upcoming open house. It provides the ‘big picture’ and shows you where we’ve been over the last two years and where we intend to head over the next five.”
You can find the Budget Book by visiting the I Want To section of our website on the Home page, choosing View and selecting the document, or by clicking HERE.
The proposed 2017-2021 Five-year Financial Plan passed first reading on December 20th, 2016. A consultation period occurs now in which public input is encouraged and welcomed.
Have your say by attending our Budget Open House on January 17th, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Seniors Centre. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, as well as a look at other departmental initiatives for the year. You can also come to one of our upcoming Council/Committee meetings on January 10th at 7:00 p.m. or January 17th at 10:00 a.m., both in Council Chambers at Town Hall.