The preliminary budget numbers of the ‘2018-2027 Financial Plan’ were received by Chilliwack council Tuesday.
It’s a couple of weeks earlier than last year, and the reason is so residents can in turn offer feedback on the budget with the online “engagement tool.”
The proposed 2018 tax rate increase of 2.39 per cent represents a tax bill for a typical homeowner that is $43 more.
Broken down, the 2.39 per cent tax rate increase is 1.49 per cent as a base rate, to cover inflationary, non-discretionary and some protective service cost increases, with the remaining .46 per cent going to expanded public transit, and another .44 per cent for two additional RCMP, for a total of four new officers.
“At this stage we are requesting input and feedback,” said Glen Savard, director of Finance for City of Chilliwack.
Last year the tax rate increase was 3.5 per cent, when council approved 10 new RCMP officers, and the year before, 2016, the increase was 1.89 per cent.
Coun. Sam Waddington praised finance staff for getting the update prepared earlier than in recent years so citizens can use the financial plan’s online “community engagement” tool.
“I wanted this info to get out to the public in lots of time so that this budget could be the community’s budget. I encourage everyone to fill out the survey to let us know what the community thinks,” Waddington said.
Citizens are asked to rate the importance of services, on a scale of 1 to 10, in areas such as transit, rec facilities, roads, homelessness, policing, recreation and more.
City Council must “balance and prioritize” the needs of the municipality while considering “a reasonable tax levy” to its residents, according to the city website. Responses to the survey will provide council with “input on current service importance, prioritization and financial planning considerations.”
Complete the survey by Oct. 27, after reading the budget information, by going to chilliwack.com/budget and filling out the questionnaire. Or fill out a hard copy questionnaire and return to City Hall by mail or or drop-off: c/o Finance Department, 8550 Young Rd., Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 8A4