EDITORIAL: Examining finances

Municipal budget will likely mean higher taxes

Members of municipal council and municipal staff around the province are currently examining figures and counting costs as they plan the 2020 budget.

The budget covers the costs involved in providing local government services. It includes costs such as policing and other protective services, utilities, road construction and maintenance, recreation facilities and services, park maintenance, the community’s share of public transit costs, administration costs and more.

Each year, these costs increase as wage contracts and costs of supplies tend to rise.

As a result of these increases, property taxes in most B.C. communities will increase once again this year.

While nobody likes a tax increase, the increases are necessary in order to maintain existing levels of services provided by the municipality.

READ ALSO: Summerland taxes expected to rise by 4.0%

READ ALSO: Summerland’s proposed budget requires $16,382,355

There is no sustainable way to avoid these increases.

Some may suggest a municipal government simply tighten the belt and find efficiencies in order to cut costs or at least hold taxes to present levels, thereby avoiding the need for an increase.

However, municipal budgets are carefully scrutinized, and if there were reasonable ways to streamline operations or find ways to trim costs, these changes would most likely be implemented.

Others might suggest holding back on the amount of money put into future reserves.

This could provide short-term relief, but eventually, roads will need significant repairs, water, sewer or power lines will need to be replaced and municipally-owned facilities will require upgrades or replacement.

At best, cutting back on reserve funding would only delay the inevitable. Sooner or later, the municipality will need funds for capital projects. Even with grant funding, the municipality still pays a portion of these costs.

Some may suggest cutting some of the services provided by the municipality.

The question is which services should be cut?

Road maintenance and winter snow clearing are essential. Police and protective services cannot be cancelled. Utilities must be maintained.

Members of the public need to be aware of the budget process at this time, and still speak out if there are areas of concern.

However when raising concerns, one should always consider the funds necessary to best provide the services a community needs.

— Black Press

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

4 inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre granted early release due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

South Okanagan real estate market adjusting to ‘new normal’

Numbers are up in March; however, industry insiders say the market has cooled

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

Law enforcement will patrol shuttered campgrounds in Cascades this weekend

Patrols will enforce provincial order requiring all such facilities remain closed during COVID-19

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

Accused’s house arrest conditions no different than what residents self-isolating face: Kamloops judge

A Kamloops woman’s strict house arrest terms are no more onerous than self-isolation experienced by many, judge said

Princeton woman sits out pandemic in ‘cheese heaven’

‘We are surrounded here by fruit orchards and the blossom are starting.’

Okanagan drive-in movie theatre plans to open amid COVID-19

Enderby theatre making a number of operational changes to further enable social distancing

Hitchcock classic a parable for our times

‘You fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat’

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

Most Read