Town Council approves 2021 Budget and Property Tax Rates Print Article Font Size
The Town of Golden is committed to sound financial management and developing a responsible budget. On April 20, Council adopted the 2021 budget and five-year financial plan with a focus on increasing reserves to provide funding for the renewal of Town assets, and maintaining levels of services for residents. The approved budget includes a 5 per cent increase for 2021, following the zero per cent increase last year.
 
“In 2020, we saw unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a municipality and as a community,” said Mayor Ron Oszust. “The five per cent increase in 2021 will ensure the Town keeps up with inflation, maintains service levels for our community and ensures reserves are adequate to absorb any further financial shocks in a pandemic environment.”
 
By provincial law, municipalities must adopt a balanced budget and financial plan before May 15 of each year. For the first time this year, the Town introduced an online survey as part of the public consultation process in addition to a virtual open house and traditional methods. The online survey was available from March 12 to 26 and received 53 responses. The information collected from the survey helped inform and very much aligned with Council’s decisions in adopting the budget and financial plan. To learn about the results of the survey, visit golden.ca/budget.
 
Following the budget and financial plan process, Council adopted the 2021 Tax Rates Bylaw on May 4. Set over several classes of property, tax rates determine how much each property class contributes to the budget.
 
“We were extra careful this year,” explained Mayor Oszust. “We looked at the assessments for business and residential properties and the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic.”
 
This year, the residential rate is up by one per cent and business is down two per cent from last year to reflect this. The town will also introduce a re-designed property tax notice to help property owners better understand their tax bill, including the other authorities the town must collect on behalf of.
 
“2021 will be both an exciting and challenging year for our community,” said Chief Administrative Officer, Jon Wilsgard. “We’ve been very fortunate to receive a number of small and large grants addressing both core infrastructure and community improvements.  The pandemic will still be with us but we are trying to ensure that the improvements we are making today will help in our economic recovery and long term sustainability.”  
 
Here are a few of the initiatives residents can expect to see happen in 2021:Workplan-Infographic-2021-01.png
 
Executive Administration
  • This summer residents will see the replacement of the south entrance sign along Reflection Lake, completing the entry point program in the community as funded through the Resort Municipality Initiative.
  • Work will start this year on the redesign and construction of the downtown plaza (in front of the post office), transforming the plaza into a vibrant public space. Funded entirely through the Tourism Dependent Initiative program, the project is set to be completed by 2022.
 
Legislative Services
  • Bylaw will continue to focus on education and enforcement of the Town of Golden bylaws with a focus on COVID-19 public health orders.
  • This year, Bylaw will support the rollout of the short-term rental regulations through education and enforcement.
 
Operations
  • Residents will see the completion of the Kicking Horse River Dike Improvement Project this year. Work will include backfilling the alley, replacing riprap along the river and starting work on theWorkplan-Infographic-2021-02.png landscape and beautification elements of the project. The project is 100 per cent grant funded and set to be completed by July 2021
  • The Town has received two grants to help fund upgrades and enhancement to the Mount 7 Rec Plex. This includes energy sustainability upgrades to the lighting and HVAC systems, and accessibility upgrades with the installation of three automatic door openers.
  • This year, 7th Street South between 5th and 7th Avenues south will be repaved to provide a better driving surface with improved road surface drainage. This is the first project recommended in the 2018 Road Condition Assessment and Upgrade Plan for “fair condition maintenance.”
 
Development Services
  • The Town will start work on developing a transportation plan with an active transportation component. This plan will provide opportunities for residents to give input and understand transportation issues within the community, and makes sure growth is being accommodated and contributes to improving and expanding transportation infrastructure. 
  • Staff will be working with an environmental consultant on moving towards obtaining a release from the Ministry of Environment for the Old Town Works Yard so that it is ready for medium and high density residential development with an affordable housing component. 
  • In 2021, residents will see the implementation of the short-term rental regulations.
 
Recreation
  • In partnership with the Golden Rotary Club and Golden Skateboard Association, grant funding has been secured to install a new outdoor skating surface, basketball court and seating on the Rec-Plex grounds. Completion of the project is anticipated for fall 2021.
  • Recreation Services will be launching a new registration and point of sale system this spring to support operations at the pool and other facilities. Online registration for programs and the ability to purchase punch cards will help make visiting facilities even easier.
  • While challenges associated with the pandemic continue to limit how recreation programming is delivered, the Golden Swimming Pool is set to open on May long weekend. Staff continue to work on return-to-recreation plans and are ready to launch programs as it becomes safe to do so.
 
Fire
  • The Fire Hall will be undergoing construction to upgrade the washrooms to include gender neutral washroom and shower facilities. This will include a new National Fire Protection Association rated washing machine for bunker gear.
  • This year, Golden Fire Rescue will be replacing the air compressor unit that fills the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) packs.
  • A new air exchange system will be installed in the truck bay to keep diesel trucks from pumping exhaust into the Fire Hall.
 
Finance
  • Residents will see a new, re-designed, property tax notice in the mail. The notice will help property owners better understand where their tax dollars are going.
  • The Town will be introducing a new VOIP phone system to the corporation. This will improve communications between the various operations of the Town and make it easier to transfer calls between departments.
 
Communications
  • In 2021, Communications will be initiating a website redesign and development project to update golden.ca.
 
For more information and details on the 2021 budget and 2021-2025 financial plan, visit golden.ca/budget.