The RDCK has offices on Lakeside Drive and in two other smaller locations in Nelson. For this year the board has cut its projected expenditure on space planning that was intended to consolidate its office space. File photo

RDCK cuts proposed 2020 tax increase by half

Changes were prompted by COVID-19’s likely effect on West Kootenay economy

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has cut its planned tax increase in half because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The future economy is unknown,” said board chair Aimee Watson, “so we are doing our best to make sure essential services are maintained while reducing where we can.”

The planned increase would have seen an intake of $32 million in taxes compared with $29 million last year. Instead it will be about $30.5 million.

Because homeowners in the RDCK are taxed differently depending on where they live and on what services they receive, an overall tax increase is impossible to identify, but the average tax increase in the region will drop from about 10 per cent to about five per cent.

“Anything that was extra was cut for now,” Watson said. “The test will be what happens next year, because some of those things are actually essential, we have just moved them down the line to next year.”

At a meeting on March 19, the board put off $50,000 worth of office space planning for next year and delayed the hiring of a finance manager to the fall for a saving of $75,000 for this partial year.

They saved $80,000 by delaying the hiring of a purchasing agent to next year, reduced expenses for directors for travel to national and regional conferences by $42,000, and removed a $49,000 carry-over of directors’ previous year travel expenses.

The long list of additional reductions and adjustments included cuts to training budgets, delays to an upgrade to the website, reductions of planned contributions to a variety of reserve funds, and reduction of equipment and project budgets.

The board, after some debate, decided to continue work on developing a regional composting program.

“Some directors wanted to push it down the line,” Watson said, “but we have two-thirds of the grant funding already in the bank. We need to roll it out because that is a big project and might employ some contractors who have no work right now for the next six months.”

She said the task for the RDCK is to balance keeping the economy going, keeping workers safe and maintaining essential services.

Those essential services include fire halls, water systems, emergency services, garbage and recycling, search and rescue, and economic development along with the administrative costs of keep these things running.

Related: Draft 2020 RDCK budget shows 4% increase for Nelson residents



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

budgetCentral Kootenay Regional DistrictCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

FortisBC pausing power disconnections and late-fees amid COVID-19 crisis

Company says they plan to work with customers affected by COVID-19 on a “one on one” basis

Don’t avoid doctor’s office if you need help, say Kootenay Boundary physicians

There are alternatives to coming in physically to offices, docs say

MP Morrison ‘disappointed’ in six-week delay for wage subsidy support

Kootenay-Columbia MP says small businesses and employees need financial help now

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Most Read