City Council gave a look at the five year financial plan at Monday’s budget meeting and approved the forecast assumptions.
Since the most recent draft of the 2019 budget, a few of the numbers have changed.
The City calculates $66,800 more in tax revenue. The assessment had actually gone down $33,000, but the industrial mill rate increase sees another $100,000.
A $147,500 flood mitigation grant was approved by the province, and $60,000 more than previously allotted will go to flood mitigation consultants and $87,500 more to flood mitigation reserves.
The total operating revenue, including General, Water and Sewer for 2019 is $50.7 million, and the total operating expense for 2019 is $40.8 million. (That excludes capital, as Councillor Blair Lekstrom explained — there is not $10 million of surplus).
“The 2019 Operating and Capital budgets have seen very little change from the Draft 2 budget presented and staff expects there to be a low risk of further changes due to external factors beyond the control of the City,” notes the report by CFO Flavia Rossi Donovan.
The five year plan has to show a balanced budget from 2019 to 2023.
A 2% tax levy increase is predicted each year in each class moving forward, except in heavy industry, where council had already decided on a 19.8% increase in 2020.
Peace River Agreement funding is forecasted with a 0% growth factor from 2020 up to 2023, a conservative forecast, as a 2% increase is expected next year. (As it stands now, the share of PRA funds going towards operations increases in future years).
Water and sewer user fee revenues are forecasted with a 2% growth factor considering the annual CPI adjustment is now approved by Council. For operating expenses, the five-year plan includes an inflationary rate of 2 to 3%.
These numbers do not reflect future council direction, rather just forecasts from current trends.
“Future property tax and fee increases will be required over the next five years to allow for adequate funding to support current services and increase the Peace River Agreement allocation to Capital,” wrote Donovan.
A strategic planning meeting scheduled for Wednesday could also change some of the look of the five year plan.
“The five year plan is a living document,” said Mayor Dale Bumstead.