The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George Board of Directors has approved the 2017 operating budget and five-year financial plan.
Operating expenditures for the regional district in 2017 will total $46 million, $3.2 million more than the 2016 budget. Of the $45 million, $18.5 million will be funded through property taxation, which is an increase of $500,000 (2.8 per cent) over 2016. Most of the other funding for the budget increase for 2017 is coming in the form of grants and use of reserve funds.
Significant 2017 budgeted expenditures provided by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George include solid waste management ($20.4 million); 9-1-1 emergency response services ($3.5 million); protective services ($5.7 million) and recreation and cultural services ($3.6 million)
Regional District Chairman Art Kaehn says this year’s budget maintains existing services and improves on several, citing the new Exploration and Learning Centre in McBride, the construction of a full service transfer station at the Mackenzie Regional landfill and the Foothills Regional landfill entrance relocation project.
“Many of these projects and purchases are fortunately supported with capital grants from the federal and provincial governments, NDI Trust and reserve accounts, so we can move forward on projects that will improve quality of life for residents in our region without a significant impact on taxation,” said Kaehn, in a press release.
Kaehn added that an increase in the overall budget does not always translate to an increase in taxes for residents throughout the region. 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.
Regional District taxes per $100,000 of residential assessment fluctuated in Electoral Areas and municipalities for 2017. Based on current assessment information, Prince George residential taxes decreased 2.7 per cent to $57.33 per $100,000 residential assessment. In Mackenzie, the taxes decreased 2.8 per cent to $69.62. In McBride, the taxes went from $394.15 per $100,000 residential assessment in 2016 to $412.89 in 2017 (4.7 per cent increase). Valemount will see a 2.7 per cent increase this year at $309.97.
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.