The RDCK has offices on Lakeside Drive and in two other smaller locations in Nelson. For this year the board has cut its projected expenditure on space planning that was intended to consolidate its office space. File photo

RDCK cuts proposed 2020 tax increase by half

Changes were prompted by COVID-19’s likely effect on West Kootenay economy

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has cut its planned tax increase in half because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The future economy is unknown,” said board chair Aimee Watson, “so we are doing our best to make sure essential services are maintained while reducing where we can.”

The planned increase would have seen an intake of $32 million in taxes compared with $29 million last year. Instead it will be about $30.5 million.

Because homeowners in the RDCK are taxed differently depending on where they live and on what services they receive, an overall tax increase is impossible to identify, but the average tax increase in the region will drop from about 10 per cent to about five per cent.

“Anything that was extra was cut for now,” Watson said. “The test will be what happens next year, because some of those things are actually essential, we have just moved them down the line to next year.”

At a meeting on March 19, the board put off $50,000 worth of office space planning for next year and delayed the hiring of a finance manager to the fall for a saving of $75,000 for this partial year.

They saved $80,000 by delaying the hiring of a purchasing agent to next year, reduced expenses for directors for travel to national and regional conferences by $42,000, and removed a $49,000 carry-over of directors’ previous year travel expenses.

The long list of additional reductions and adjustments included cuts to training budgets, delays to an upgrade to the website, reductions of planned contributions to a variety of reserve funds, and reduction of equipment and project budgets.

The board, after some debate, decided to continue work on developing a regional composting program.

“Some directors wanted to push it down the line,” Watson said, “but we have two-thirds of the grant funding already in the bank. We need to roll it out because that is a big project and might employ some contractors who have no work right now for the next six months.”

She said the task for the RDCK is to balance keeping the economy going, keeping workers safe and maintaining essential services.

Those essential services include fire halls, water systems, emergency services, garbage and recycling, search and rescue, and economic development along with the administrative costs of keep these things running.

Related: Draft 2020 RDCK budget shows 4% increase for Nelson residents



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

budgetCentral Kootenay Regional DistrictCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Interior Health to host virtual town hall Friday, March 27

The Q&A forum begins at 6 p.m. PDT, link in story

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

Most Read