Parksville council completed their 2012 budget deliberations, raising property taxes three per cent as expected and freezing spending on 40 per cent of the budget.
The draft bylaw has to be presented to council for public feedback and three votes, but mayor and council appear happy, at least with the process if not every tough decision they had to make.
“The process was done very well, they broke everything down to a very basic level,” said Coun. Sue Powell of the new approach staff took to give council a better sense of the big picture.
Each department listed around 200 specific service areas, dividing them into seven prioritized categories from the most urgent down: health and safety, legislated requirements, infrastructure, organizational welfare, protection of private property and community economic and social welfare
For example the human resources department listed four services under health and safety including safety audits for $10,328 and health and safety training and development for $24,000. They didn’t list anything under development and maintenance of infrastructure and assets.
The engineering department on the other hand doesn’t have anything under health and safety but has eight items totaling around $700,000 under infrastructure.
Council helped divide the services from 11 departments into the seven prioritized categories. Spending in the four lower priority service levels will be frozen at 2011 levels for the next five years.
“It’s a very constrained budget,” said mayor Chris Burger who called this “one of the toughest budget process I’ve ever been through.”
Read the full story in Friday’s print edition of The News.