The regional board adopted a $45.8 million budget Thursday, down approximately $200,000 from the 2017 budget. Of the $45.8 million, $18.8 million will be funded through property taxation, which is an increase of $300,000 over 2017. Most of the other funding for the budget for 2018 is coming in the form of grants and use of reserve funds.
Significant 2018 budgeted expenditures provided by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George include Solid Waste Management ($21.4 million); 9-1-1 Emergency Response Services ($3.9 million); Protective Services ($4 million) and Recreation & Cultural Services ($3.7 million)
Regional district chair Art Kaehn says the 2018 budget is a reflection of some significant capital projects and purchases, including the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill Entrance Re-location project, Mackenzie Regional Landfill conversion to transfer station and equipment purchases for volunteer fire departments. It also reflects a decline in the requisition for waste reduction.
“We are excited to move forward on some big projects that will improve quality of life for residents in our region without a significant impact on taxation,” says Kaehn.
Kaehn notes that an increase or decrease in the overall requisition does not always translate to what residents will see reflected on their tax bill. The budget can affect communities in the region differently depending on a number of variables such as services provided to that area, fluctuations in property assessments and a change in the amount of residential or commercial properties that share in the funding of a particular service.
For the second year in a row, regional district taxes per $100,000 of residential assessment decreased in most municipalities and electoral areas for 2018. In Prince George, the taxes decreased three per cent to $55.57 per $100,000 residential assessment. In Mackenzie, taxes are down 8.2 per cent to $64.31 per $100,000 residential assessment. Valemount will see a 5.4 per cent decrease at $293.17 per $100,000 residential assessment.
McBride will see an increase of 3.4 per cent at $426.74. However, those decreases may not result in a decrease on the tax bill for many homeowners in the region. The average increase region-wide in property assessment was 4.84 per cent, meaning that the overall amount homeowners are taxed on may have increased.
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George provides 90 services to residents of its seven electoral areas and to the City of Prince George, District of Mackenzie, Village of Valemount and Village of McBride.