Despite two large upcoming projects, minimal municipal tax increases are expected for residents of Sun Peaks.
The Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality created a draft 2016 budget for the end of December. Mayor Al Raine said he predicts taxes will stay about the same as in previous years.
“In the last couple of years, and I think that will continue to be the case this year, regional district taxes have been coming down by more than 1.5 per cent. So we have actually been able to keep the total tax package pretty much the same for the past three or four years.”
There is an average increase of 1.5 per cent annually, which Raine said is in line with inflation. Some of the new buildings within the community may see an additional increase of one per cent.
The two costly additions, the Health Centre and anticipated ice rink, are not expected to create a strain on the budget or result in increased taxes.
“We’re not taking money from somewhere else to create the health centre,” Raine said, adding the centre’s budget of $1.5 million has already been raised.
While the budget will not be finalized until the spring, council chose to complete a draft before the end of the year.
“Council said we want to have a draft of next year’s budget before the end of this year. So we have always met in December and done a tentative budget,” said Raine. “This council said we’re not waiting until April or May to have a look at the budget, we want to see the budget for November or December so we’re sure we’ve got the right projects lined up.”
An official draft will be presented at the council meeting on Dec. 21, and input will be welcomed from the public. Another public meeting will be held in the spring after more information on provincial taxes is available. Raine said getting that information can take some time, and the municipal budget cannot be finalized without it.
“If it wasn’t for that whole process I am sure we would be approving final budget in December the year before,” Raine said.
He also mentioned that most of the taxes collected don’t stay in the community.
“Of the taxes that people pay in Sun Peaks, only about 34 per cent of those funds stay with the municipality, 66 per cent of the funds are going off to pay for school, policing, hospital, regional district, etc. So there is more money leaving the community, going out to other levels of government, than actually staying here.”
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