Trail releases budget preview

After a serious exercise in number crunching, the city is projecting a four per cent hike, or $30 on the average $180,000 home assessment.

With the city controlling less than half of the total property tax bill, Trail taxpayers will have to wait a few more weeks to hear what this year’s levy will be.

So far, after a serious exercise in number crunching, the city is projecting a four per cent hike, or $30 on the average $180,000 home assessment.

In light of an almost $300,000 revenue loss related to neighbouring communities withdrawing from recreational cost sharing, the tax hike is in line with the comparable cities of Castlegar and Nelson, according to Trail’s chief administrative officer.

“However, it will be several more weeks before we have a clear picture on the bottom line,” said David Perehudoff at Monday night’s council meeting. “We will be waiting to get all of the other budgets and tax rates to calculate the final impacts.”

The tax rate could decrease pending the city’s annual apportionment to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB).

A preliminary report of the RDKB’s 2014 budget reflects a net payment decrease of $318,000, related in part, to the sale of the regional airport and the end of a regional economic agreement.

“The city’s levy increase will be offset by reductions in the regional district’s requisition,” explained Perehudoff.  “As such, if the reductions are netted out, the resulting increase is $17 or just over 2 per cent.”

Municipalities are required to consult with the public before finalizing annual budgets and historically open meetings were hosted to invite community consultation.

Previous open houses in Trail were poorly attended, so for the past five years, the city has posted its budget overview on the trail.ca website.

“We have not had any complaints about the online approach,” said Perehudoff. “In the future we will continue to look at other ways of consulting with the public that are current with the times.”

Included in the city’s budget overview is a list of this year’s capital projects that total $14.4 million.

The most pricey items include the purchase of the Trail Regional Airport at almost $1.6 million, which includes terminal upgrades and additional fencing to the area; civic improvements for $835,000 including Phase 2 of the downtown revitalization plan; and $9.1 million for the construction of the pedestrian pipe bridge, proposed to break ground this summer.