FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John gave City Council a first look at the operating budget for 2017 on Monday.
The City says they strive to keep taxes for citizens low while meeting service needs.
With the budget, they are trying to achieve the following goals:
- Plan: Cost effective service delivery
- Efficient: Budget preparation
- Sufficient: Resources to deliver City services (now and in the future)
- Integrity: Earning public trust
- Accountability: Meet legislated requirements
When it comes to salaries, wages and benefits of staff, it accounts for 36.79% of total operating expenses. The presentation given to Council says there will be no employee increases in 2017 as per Council’s growth related staffing policy.
The presentation outlined the 2017 Significant Impacts that are set to occur in the next year. They are:
- Salary Increase = $1,035,347
- Contracted services increase (including RCMP which is $400,000) = $810,417
- Utilities rate increase = $65,798
- Reduction in small communities grant = <$130,000>
- Reduction in gaming revenue = <250,000>
- Total Significant Impact = $2,291,562
When it comes to tax revenue increases, the City has 3 options on the table. The tax ‘revenue’ is the amount collected in taxes. An increase in revenue does not necessarily equal a tax ‘rate’ increase as the tax rate is dependent on property assessments. The tax revenues options are as follows:
- Option #1 – Increase by 0.72%
- Option #2 – Increase by 2.6%
- Option #3 – Increase by 4.12%
The City staff have recommended “option 2” which would see a tax revenue increase to meet increased demands.
But Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman and Council didn’t seem keen on any of the 3 options that were given. They have asked City staff to come back with a budget outlining a 0% tax rate increase.
Staff are now examining the operating budget to find further reductions in expenses. They will bring options back to Council on January 23rd.
You can view a full copy of the operating budget presentation below.