The City of Port Alberni is proposing an eight percent tax increase in 2023 in the first draft of its budget.
The city’s manager of finance, Andrew McGifford, presented the draft financial plan for 2023-2027 to council during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.
There are a number of reasons for the increase, said McGifford. One of these is the impact of inflation. Fuel, in particular, has gone up “significantly” over the past two years, with the city spending an extra $175,000 on fuel in 2022 compared to 2021.
“These are things we don’t have a lot of control over, but we do have to start to populate the financial plan with these increases,” said McGifford.
A number of departments, including the RCMP and fire department, are also seeing their budgets increased due to a new collective agreement. Otherwise, the draft budget includes the same level of service as previous years.
On a positive note, McGifford said the city has seen “record amounts” of new building construction in the community, which does bring new revenue to the city.
City CAO Tim Pley emphasized on Monday that this is a draft budget, and city council will be able to make changes over the next few weeks as they dive deeper into the proposed budget.
Mayor Sharie Minions remarked that this year is a “difficult” budget year.
“I know a lot of work has gone into just getting it to the eight percent mark,” she said.
The first reading of the draft budget will take place during the next regular meeting of council on Monday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. Another committee of the whole meeting for informal budget talks will place place on Monday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.
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