Street view of the Trail Riverfront Centre, Nov. 7. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Riverfront Centre budget a hot topic

Early budget projections had council meeting with library and museum boards this week

How much is too much to operate the new Riverfront Centre?

The jury is still out on how much taxpayers will buck up when the library/museum/visitor centre opens next year.

At this point, the projected increase nears $700,000, or about an $83 increase per capita for Trail and $21 per capita in the Village of Warfield.

Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff clarified the cost per capita increases are costs per resident based on a population of 8,000.

“It is too early to project what the costs will be on an ‘average’ homeowner,” he told the Trail Times.

After a prolonged governance meeting between the city, library and cultural services on Monday, Coun. Robert Cacchioni says council is working on making the increase more palatable, but he cautions $196,000 for Riverfront Centre operations and a $475,000 debenture are essentially fixed costs.

So that means, the only areas to effectively shave, would be service levels.

“Consequently, because of all the other projects going on, the city, administration, feels itself squeezed in terms of budget,” he said. “And nobody really wants to come into a huge increase in taxes, so this is the exercise council is going through, but it’s too early to have something come of it.”

In the past, council hasn’t cherry-picked one budgetary section so far in advance of general deliberations.

“Previously to this, all the budgets were looked at, at one time,” Cacchioni said. “The only reason these were looked at this way, is because it’s a new facility.”

The preliminary budget for the library exceeds the 2017 budget by $206,850 but is based on 53 hours, which is three more hours than the service currently offers.

The board will reconvene on Nov. 15 to look at potential cost savings.

However, Cacchioni stands by his conviction about further reducing hours, especially after the library cut 10 hours (to 50 hours per week) since 2016, in order to meet its budget.

“The problem is we don’t want to be put in a position where we open a new facility,” he said. “And we don’t provide the services that everyone would expect of a new facility.”

Cacchioni clarified,”My position has been quite clear, we need to look carefully at the apportionment of the increase (over all class taxes) before we come up with a final solution to the budget.”

He also pointed out that when the 2014 library referendum passed with 61 per cent in favour of a new build, council was clear that taxpayers would be impacted, though admittedly the cost has risen from $6.3 million to $8.4 million.

“When we went to the referendum we knew it was going to be a substantial increase,” Cacchioni said. “We knew that was the case, and presented that to the public in the referendum.”

Once the budget is set, Perehudoff explained council will need to determine how the costs will be apportioned amongst the various rate classes.

“In this regard, there has been some talk amongst council of changing how this cost is spread out between residential, major industry and business,” he added.

“If this does change, it would impact the property tax rate and what the average homeowner will pay. In addition, we don’t have assessments yet so a preliminary estimate is not possible and we would not want to suggest something now that could change in the future.”

The 2018 budget projections now stand at $1.43 million including $661,800 for the library and $231,000 for cultural services (museum, archives and Visitor Information Centre services), as well as operations.

To view complete budget projections visit trail.ca.

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

Just Posted

RDCK reduces number of properties under evacuation alert from Talbott Creek Fire to 46

Improved visibility has allowed helicopters to resume water suppression efforts on fire

Trail Smoke Eaters to host Cranbrook Bucks to open exhibition season

The BCHL announces a 100-plus game exhibition season

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Trail Kiwanians wrap up $10,000 hospital donation

The new KBRH emergency department opened its doors a few weeks ago

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read