QC council working on budget

  • Feb. 22, 2010 11:00 a.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Queen Charlotte council took a first look at the village’s 2010 budget and are trying to piece together a plan for the coming year. The initial draft showed a drop in general revenue for the coming year, from $959,107 in 2009 to $885,971 in 2010, but chief financial officer Debra Uliana explained this number is very preliminary and doesn’t include things like federal gas tax revenue ($88,815 in 2009). “I try to be conservative in estimating revenue,” she said, adding that, for budgeting purposes, she’s assuming everyone will pay their taxes on time. In 2009, the village collected about $19,000 in penalties for late taxes. Depending on what expenses council plans, it could raise the tax rate to increase revenue. Some known expenses in the coming year include wages (around $284,000), telephone (up by $4,800 in cell costs this year), and Official Community Plan finalization expenses (approximately $25,000).Proposed expenses include a sand and salt shed for $35,000 (covered by a grant), $25,000 for back up power for the village office (as an emergency planning centre, it needs power), and an energy efficient heating system for the village office (about $30,000). Other planned costs are $5,000 for cemetery maintenance and $20,000 each (approximately) for water and sewer maintenance. The village plans to spend $20,000 on a sewer treatment study ($10,000 from a grant) and complete phase two of the community park, including tot park and drainage work ($200,000 in grants). The $480,000 Spirit Square project should be completed this year (most from grants with $10,000 from the village coffers), along with the $4.8 million Stanley Lake water system. Water users will pay about $67,000 a year for the next 20 years to service the $900,000 debt from that project. The likely source is a frontage tax. Ms Uliana says $260,000 will also come from reserves for this project in 2010. The other $3.6 million is covered by grant money.The Feb. 12 budget meeting was open to the public and the draft budget is available at the village office. The next public budget meeting will be held in early March, (tentatively March 8). Council will present its five-year financial plan at a public meeting in April and pass a tax rate bylaw soon after. The budget must be passed and sent to the province by May 15.