Trail council presented the 2020 municipal budget during the Monday night meeting. (Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash)

City of Trail provides budget overview

“The 2020 budget serves to balance the needs of the municipality … ” says Mayor Lisa Pasin.

An overview of the 2020 budget was presented in Trail council chambers Monday night, which is an annual occurrence city staff completes before the municipal budget is passed in May.

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The purpose of the public presentation is to provide general information to the public that focuses on key budget issues and property tax implications as well as other financial and operational indicators.

“If the presentation generates any comments from the public, council can consider the input prior to considering and approving the budget bylaws,” explained David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer.

“While not intended to be comprehensive, the purpose of the review is to present select budget, financial and operating information as part of enhancing public awareness as the budget process advances. (It) is another step in the budget approval process that finally concludes when council adopts the Financial Plan Bylaw, Property Tax Rates Bylaw and Statutory Reserve Funding Bylaw.”

After several months of consideration regarding strategic priorities and capital planning, council has landed on a property tax increase of 5.95 per cent.

What this means for taxpayers who own a home assessed at an average value of $230,000, is an $81 upsurge on their annual bill, due around Canada Day.

“The 2020 budget serves to balance the needs of the municipality when considering the high level of service that has historically been provided as well as the continual investment in core infrastructure improvements,” Mayor Lisa Pasin told the Trail Times.

“Parks and Recreation and Transportation Services make up the majority of the capital expenditures for the year, with the most significant projects being the Gyro Park Playground Project as well as the Groutage Avenue Restoration Program,” she explained.

“Further capital investment is also slated to occur in West Trail to repair aging infrastructure as well as at the RV Park and the airport. As demand for replacement and renewal always exceeds the revenue available, the city works to deal with priority projects comprehensively during our annual and long-term planning.”

As Perehudoff pointed out, the near six per cent levy hike is to balance a budget increase of $868, 850 which is largely due to three municipal expenses.

Those three factors which actually total $567,500 are: $100,000 to fund an organizational review; a $350,000 transfer to reserves for future demolition costs related to the Old Trail Bridge; and $117,500 in additional funding for unspecified capital demands.

The most significant increase, related to the Old Trail Bridge, will likely become an annual budget allotment.

Over the years since the bridge has been closed, Perehudoff says the city has been meeting with the province as a means of planning ways to financially back the eventual teardown.

The government has come back to say that the city cannot borrow money for the demolition.

Furthermore, when the province handed off the old bridge to the City of Trail when the Victoria Street Bridge came into commission in the 1960’s, there were no conditions associated with future costs of teardown.

“So it’s definitely a City of Trail future expenditure,” he added. “And $350,000 will be put forward into a reserve fund for the future cost.”

Property tax rates are referenced on the basis of a rate charged per $1,000 of assessment. In addition, residential properties in Trail are subject to a parcel tax of $260.

Residential assessments continue to increase, primarily in response to ongoing changes in the real estate market.

Infrastructure summary the city, which is 3,693 hectares in size, is responsible to maintain:

– 67 kilometers of paved road

– 12 kms lanes (paved and unpaved)

– 54 kilometers of storm sewer

– 72 kilometers of sanitary sewer mains

– 83 kilometers of water mains

– 4,170 service connections to the water system

– 4,086 service connections to the sewer system

– 30 kilometers of sidewalk

– 1,460 street lights

– 317 fire hydrants

– 53 parks that cover 61 acres

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