Port Alberni city council has brought its proposed tax increase for 2022 down from 4.97 percent to 3.96 percent.
Director of finance Andrew McGifford identified a surplus in the 2021 budget, and council agreed on Monday, Feb. 28 to use this surplus to reduce taxation in the 2022 budget.
Council allocated $200,000 of the surplus to the Connect the Quays pathway project in 2022. Another $50,000 in surplus will be allocated to tree planting in 2022.
McGifford said the city collected between $500,000 and $750,000 in surplus from 2021, although this figure still needs to be finalized in the auditing process.
During a committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 22, Mayor Sharie Minions said she wants to have a conversation about budgeting intentional contributions to the city’s reserves, instead of relying on surplus funds. Although a surplus shows the city is being “diligent” in how it spends money, she said it also shows the city is setting its budget too high.
“I’ve never known the city to not have a surplus,” she said. “In my opinion, I think that a consistent surplus is overtaxing.”
City council still has a few meetings left to amend the 2022 budget, which must be adopted by May 14.
The city will be holding an e-town hall meeting to consider the budget on Monday, March 7 at 7 p.m. Members of the public will be able to join via Zoom to ask questions and provide input on the financial plan. To register for this event, visit www.portalberni.ca and click on the banner at the bottom of the home page.