After the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) released its final budget report earlier this month, Trail’s director Robert Cacchioni says the nominal rate increase is palatable considering the rate of inflation.
Over three years, Trail saw a zero per cent increase in 2019, less than one per cent (0.88) last year, and for 2021, a 0.1 per cent increase, Cacchioni explains.
“I believe this is amazing when you consider that it’s only about only one-tenth of the rate of inflation,” he said. “This is great news for our citizens and taxpayers not only in the City of Trail but in the whole east end,” Cacchioni added.
“And it could not be done without the total cooperation of the East End committee and of the board as a whole.”
The RDKB budget is over $50M this year, its highest on record.
For the City of Trail, it will pay $4.7M as part of the regional district, an area that covers 8,200 square kilometres and goes from Big White in the west to Champion Lakes and Area A in the east, includes eight municipalities and five unincorporated electoral areas.
The benefits come from residential services which Trail pays 40 per cent as part of the East End committee. Many people don’t realize the city contributes to services such as: 911 emergency ($77,211); planning and development ($44,351); victims assistance ($32,152); solid waste ($315,718); emergency preparedness ($70,173); culture arts and recreation ($296,351); fire protection for the East End ($1,525,394); cemetery ($241,983); transit ($464,813); building inspection ($258,149); animal control ($54,364); and general government administration ($123,000).
As well, in a three-way partnership between Trail, Rossland and Warfield, based on flow volume, Trail pays roughly 68 per cent of the regional sewer service ($1,149,716).
“I often get questioned as to what the regional district provides for the citizens of Trail and that’s one of the major reasons why I’ve taken the time to list the services that the regional district provides,” Cacchioni explained in his May 10 report to Trail council. “The last major issue is that the terms of reference for the East End committee are being looked at.”
“We’ve been notified that discussion of budgets not included in the east end and disposition of dam revenues [Waneta Dam] are not in our terms of reference. We are looking at upgrading the terms of reference so that we can provide recommendations to the board on these two issues.”
For Area A, overall taxes went up by $68,000, specifically in building inspection, fire protection and various other services.
However, according to Area A director Ali Grieve, since the value of the assessment base increased in Area A, there should be no significant impact to each property owner.
The residential increase in Area A grew by 17 per cent, as well, major industry also expanded by $5M which is converted at a higher rate than the residential assessment rates.
All of these factors regarding the assessment values play into whether each property owner will see an increase or not, added Grieve.
The RDKB board also awarded the Grand Forks Regional Landfill contract to Marwest Industries for $1.86M.
Further authorization was given to spend up to 10 per cent of the contract value, $186,130, in contingency to manage unforeseen costs during construction.
Overall cost is projected to be higher at $3.5M due to the expanded scope of the project but mostly to increased costs for equipment and supplies, added Cacchioni.
“A reminder is that we already received over $2 million in grants for this project,” Cacchioni told the Times. “We are now awaiting grants for the McKelvey Creek project. These grants are at the 90 per cent level and with a projected cost of $2 million the regional district will only have to come up with $200,000 for the complete project.”
The Bailey Theatre also received two grants of $32,000 each for a total of $64,000 to upgrade the staging equipment. The regional district on top of that has guaranteed $150,000 for stage upgrades if and when a grant applied for by the Trail and District Arts Council comes through.