City unveils 7 per cent property tax hike
The city of Port Alberni draft financial plan for 2016–20, unveiled last week, would see a seven per cent increase in residential taxes in 2016.
The increase in tax revenue, from $20,955,117 in 2015 to $22,434,410, will pay for a 3.7 per cent increase to general fund expenditures.
According to director of finance Cathy Rothwell, “the financial plan for 2016 maintains city service levels at 2015 levels.”
Increased costs include an extra $27,000 for street sweeping, an extra $19,000 spent on gravel, $21,321 on Glenwood Centre maintenance, $19,273 on Multiplex programming, a $1,083,550 increase in transfers to the general capital fund and a $1,100,950 increase to transfers to the sewer revenue fund.
Decreased funding is proposed for the city’s industrial heritage collection, business development and training programs.
The city is proposing to spend $3.3 million on general capital projects, down from the $6.2 million budgeted in 2015.
The Port Alberni Fire Department is asking for $148,000 to spend on a flow testing bench for their breathing apparatuses, a new firehall generator and a control room console and electronics.
The city is looking to replace two vehicles in 2016; a 1995 Ford E150 van for $31,000 and the chassis from a 1996 GMC utility dump truck for $60,000. The funds from both will come from Equipment Replacement Reserve Fund (ERRF).
The city is looking to pave 1,530 metres of road in 2016; Angus Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues, Seventh Avenue between Angus Street and Argyle Street, Anderson Avenue from Maitland Street to Wallace Street, Third Avenue from Burde Street to Bute Street, Fifth Avenue from Redford Street to Burde Street and widening Beaver Creek Road from Pineo Road to Compton Road.
The proposed implementation of the LED street light program will cost $150,000 and a traffic light at Johnston Road and Helen Street will cost another $150,000.
Storm drain work is expected to cost $650,000; $200,000 will be the second phase of the Coal Creek outfall, while the rest is made up of storm drain improvements on Craig Street, Lathom Road, Anderson Avenue and Angus Street.Backup power for city hall is proposed to cost $100,000 and the demolition of the old bottle depot building on Fourth Avenue will cost $50,000.
There has been $90,000 allocated for welcome signs (results of a signage audit are expected in the New Year), $10,000 for a bus shelter at Maple Way (cost shared with Chances Rim Rock), $65,000 to replace the Josephine Street bridge and $50,000 for the design of the Victoria Quay bridge deck rehabilitation.
The River Creek playground is proposed to get a $70,000 upgrade, a lower Dry Creek bridge will cost the city $40,000 and trail development for the new Scott Kenny Trail will cost $100,000.
The aquatic centre is slated to get upgrades to its diving board and starting blocks at a cost of $30,575.
The Harbour Quay clock tower repair and removal is proposed to cost $25,000 for the plan and $250,000 for its repair or removal.
Mill Stone Park is proposed to receive an extra $50,000 and another $32,000 is slated for additional irrigated Johnston Road planters.
Water works capital projects are proposed to cost $612,500,down by almost half from the $1.1 million budgeted last year.
Work includes main renewals and upgrades on Seventh Avenue, Angus Street, Gordon Avenue, Fifth Avenue and Strathcona Street, a backup generator at the Arrowsmith pump station, Arrowsmith reservoir pumps and methane detection equipment.
Sewer works projects are proposed to cost the city $350,000, down from $660,000 in 2015.
Works include main renewal and relines on Craig Road, Anderson Avenue and Gordon Avenue.