Richmond budget shaved to lower increase

*This story has been modified from its original version regarding the Steveston community centre and the Garry Point floating dock. 

Council managed to bring down its 2019 budget increase to 4.82 per cent from the originally proposed amount of 6.82 per cent by transferring less money to reserves and shaving off money from the community safety budget.

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The capital budget remained largely the same as was originally proposed, except for the removal of a bench construction project at Terra Nova.

After several finance meetings with staff going through capital budget items, and challenges from couns. Kelly Greene and Carol Day on items that could be cut, in the end, council cut just the one item.

Operating budget increases partially resulted from the addition of 36 new RCMP officers as well as an increase in fire fighters and transfers to reserves.

Staff had proposed putting about $2.2 million into community facility reserves, which would have meant a tax increase of one per cent, but this was cut in half with only $1.08 million going into this fund resulting in a half per cent increase.

The capital budget passed by council is $112 million, originally pegged at $116.5 million.

Other capital items include a multi-use pathway on Steveston Highway costing $2 million, a million dollars in upgrades to city hall and the Gateway Theatre second phase, which is estimated to cost $3.7 million.

The floating dock at Garry Point for $4.2 million was not approved by council.

The Steveston Community Centre and library is in the early planning stages and $90 million has been put as a placeholder in 2020 as part of the five-year plan.

A five-year plan calls for a tax increase in 2019 of 4.82 per cent, 6.69 per cent in 2020, 5.2 per cent in 2021, 3.91 per cent in 2022 and a 5.36 per cent increase in 2023.

These numbers have increased over the years. Earlier five-year plans laid out increases for 2019 of just under three per cent.

Property tax rates will be set later in the year.

 

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