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City budget sessions begin
Parksville council and senior staff began the public portion of their long budget process Wednesday and will continue next Thursday, March 8.
The special council meeting ran much of the day Feb. 29, with presentations from almost every department head before running out of time mid-afternoon.
The overall numbers won’t be available until presented to council at the next meeting and aren’t final until approved by council at the end of the process.
Some department examples include administration looking at a $202,637 or 15 per cent decrease to $1.1 million despite increases like $14,500 to bylaw enforcement’s $126,000, a $23,000 photocopier and $58,000 for compact shelving for records, called long overdue by chief administrative officer Fred Manson.
The small human resources department, which is only five years old, will increase its budget 43 per cent to $206,045, mostly due to expanding from one to two people last year. They will focus on health and safety related regulations and information over the next year.
The fire department, who’s volunteer’s did over 6,000 hours of training last year, is looking at a 4.4 per cent increase in their operations budget to $905,504 in 2012 with most of the increase going to training.
Chief Doug Banks also spoke of $428,600 worth of capital projects including $250,000 to develop a training facility and $55,000 to complete fire hall landscaping.
Briefly, other department changes include a seven per cent increase to $2.1 million for public works, a 1.6 per cent decrease in parks and recreation to $1.3 million, a five per cent decrease for water to $1.7 million, 3.3 per cent increase in sewer to $910,000 and a 0.7 per cent decrease in engineering and administration to $1.1 million.
Overall capital projects are budgeted at $6.2 million for 2012 but that includes ongoing projects like the McMillan Street upgrades. It also includes new traffic signals on Highway 19A and Temple St. improvements.
Many of these costs are offset by revenue (like sewer and water rates) and various grants and other funding.
Mayor Chris Burger pointed out they don’t know the resulting tax increase yet, since the numbers aren’t final and have to be combined with others like the school board and regional district, but they hope to end up in the three per cent range that was projected in last year’s five year plan.
The follow up session is scheduled for Thursday, March 8 at 9 a.m. in the forum at the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre, 100 Jensen Avenue East.