Parksville residents can expect a four per cent increase in property taxes in each of the next five years

City council gave three readings Monday night to the 2017-21 financial plan

Parksville property owners face a four per cent tax increase in each of the next five years if a financial plan given three readings by city council on Monday gets final approval early next year.

Increases in staff numbers in 2017 alone will cost the city more than $200,000. That includes the hiring of a human resources advisor ($90,000) and staff for emergency preparedness and administration help ($113,00 in total for both).

The city will bring in about $17 million in revenue in 2017, of which more than $13 million comes from property taxes. In 2017, the city plans to spend about $16.6 of that revenue.

The financial plan passed unanimously by council Monday night suggests the city will see revenues of $21.8 million in 2021, with $16.3 million of that coming from property taxes.

City council hosted a number of open budget meetings in the last couple of months where members of the public made their suggestions and expressed concerns.

The numbers cited above are related to the city’s general revenue fund. The water and sewer funds are separate, as are capital budgets.

One member of the public took to the microphone Monday night, asking council to consider pumping more money into the parks department budget.

Former Parksville Downtown Business Association president Marilyn Hahn suggested the city add two staff members to the parks department, just to maintain what the community already has. She said the current staff works hard, especially in Community Park, but can’t keep up with all the work that’s required elsewhere in the city.

“The parks department should have a bigger budget and larger staff,” said Hahn.

Hahn pointed to the condition of roadside beds in the city this year. “This summer I was totally embarrassed by them,” she said.

City council still has an opportunity to make changes to the 2017 budget and 2017-21 financial plan before it becomes official early next year, but the three readings passed on Monday allows the city to move forward on some of the budget items that need attention before that final approval.

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