Revelstoke city budget: City Hall renovations now $1.74 million

A draft five-year budget for the Revelstoke City Council has been released and reveals a two per cent increase to residential rates and an anticipated 2015 surplus of just over $1 million.

Revelstoke City Hall file photo. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Need to know: There is a proposed 2% average tax increase, but the plan calls for a 10% increase in 2017. There are some whoppers on the new City of Revelstoke draft budget. City Hall renovations are now tallied at $1.74 million over four years. The water pipe across the Illecillewaet River that was exposed by erosion: $550,000. Revelstoke Forum roof replacement: $7 million proposed. This is an early draft and will change. 

A draft five-year budget for the Revelstoke City Council has been released and reveals a two per cent increase to residential rates and an anticipated 2015 surplus of just over $1 million.

The city council juggles a number of pressures including infrastructure needs due to the rapid growth in the community following the Revelstoke Mountain Resort development plus the knock-on effects of the recent recession.

The council’s operating expenses are $21.9 million for 2015 with employment costing the most at $7.2 million. Rates

Property taxes will increase two percent on residential and business classes. The major industrial class, with only one contributor – Downie Timber, will see its taxes decrease by 6.99 per cent.

“Property tax growth (revenue from new construction) is expected to contribute a reduction of ($13,638)(or -0.15%) in new tax revenue in 2015 and then continue to grow at about 3% a year for the remainder of the financial plan,” the report states.

water rate increaseFor 2015, water and sewer rates are anticipated to rise 4.3 per cent and garbage fees two per cent.

The city has an accumulated long-term debt of about $10 million and is not currently reducing the asset to debt ratio.

A portion of this debt relates to road reconstruction but this budget follows a strategy established previously to no longer borrow, rather rely completely on current revenue streams.

“Road reconstruction is estimated to be $2 million over the next five years,” the report states.

“Amortization [money needed] of roads and bridges amounts to about $500,000 a year. So the city is investing in its transportation infrastructure at a lower rate than that at which it is being consumed. Clearly, this approach is adding to the infrastructure deficit.”

Public work projects take up a significant amount of money and council plans to tackle a number of projects, including:

-$550,000: Replacement of the Illecillewaet river water pipe crossing

-$650,000: Construction of a water supply to Thomas Brook residents (funded by long term borrowing and paid by the Thomas Brook users)

-$7 million: Replace arena roof (funded by long-term borrowing)

-$1.735 million: City Hall Renovations, 2015–18 (about $165,000 has been re‐budgeted from 2014)

-$50,000:  Skateboard Park, 2015–16

-$130,000: Kovach Park washrooms

-$4.5 million: Relocate the sewer outflow to the Columbia River from the Illecillewaet River, 2015-2019

-$1 million: Downie force main replacement, 2015-2018

A note in the report indicates the financial plan does not include any capital works for the golf course.

Other council objectives for the 2014–15 year are:

-The inclusion of $25,000 in 2015 for further departmental reviews.

-A City of Revelstoke boundary extension study

-The acquisition of asset management software is included in the plan as part of the ongoing strategy to collect meaningful data to support a comprehensive infrastructure replacement programme.

The budget projects costs over the next five years and is updated yearly. Changes are expected and there is currently no provision for the Big Eddy Waterworks redevelopment, which is awaiting a funding application outcome in the fall this year.

Revelstoke councillors will meet on Friday, February 20 to discuss this proposed budget. The current budget is the first draft made public, and it will be revised before being submitted for public comment.

Here is the complete document. It can be skimmed in about 20 minutes.

City of Revelstoke 2015-2019 Financial Plan by Revelstoke Mountaineer

Emily Kemp is a freelance journalist and frequent contributor to the Revelstoke Mountaineer.