The City of Port Alberni has brought its proposed tax increase down from 8 percent to 7 percent in 2023.
City staff were able to accomplish this by moving the purchase of a new asphalt truck from 2023 to the 2024 budget, instead. Manager of finance Andrew McGifford said that after a review of vehicles, the city is recommending that the asphalt truck “live another year in the City of Port Alberni’s fleet.”
A 0.65 percent increase in non-market change in the residential class also contributed to the lower number. Non-market change refers to the new taxation that comes from residential units built in 2022.
“The average single-family home will see a 6.97 percent increase in 2023 if all else remains the same,” said McGifford. This will be an increase of around $150.35.
The city will be receiving $5.2 million from the province under the Growing Communities Fund, so council also approved a pair of projects through that fund. Council first voted to add $290,000 from the fund to this year’s budget for a project connecting the Rogers Creek Trail and the Scott Kenny Trail. They then voted to add $150,000 from the Growing Communities Fund for an asset management “master plan” to determine roadway lifespans and replacement costs.
If the plan is not able to be accomplished through grant funding, council voted to fund it through taxation instead.
“One or the other, we have to get moving on that,” explained Councillor Debbie Haggard.
Mayor Sharie Minions said that the city doesn’t need to spend the full $5.2 million this year.
“We need to really look at infrastructure and what our future needs are, and allocate those funds over time in a way that makes the most sense,” she said.
Council also voted to add $20,000 to this year’s budget from taxation to add some lighting to Upper Johnston Road as an “entrance feature” to the city. Two businesses (Westcoast Home Hardware and Canadian Tire) have offered to donate LED lights to be installed on the centre median on Johnston Road between Cherry Creek Road and Broughton Street, but the city will need to provide power to the median.
Councillor Charles Mealey thanked Westcoast Home Hardware and Canadian Tire for helping to fund this project.
“It’s very nice for local businesses to come forward and say they want to partner with us and alleviate the cost,” said Mealey.
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