CSRD unveils first draft of 2020 budget

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) released their proposed annual budget this week, with the draft one virtual binder available online for residents to peruse.

The budget, which is still in the primary stages of approval, will affect those living in rural Golden and Area A, which falls under the jurisdiction of the CSRD instead of the Town of Golden.

“We haven’t had our draft one meeting yet with the directors, which is when we provide them with an overview of the CSRD budget,” explained Jodi Pierce, the Manager of Financial Services for the CRSD. “That’s when we will be discussing some of the bigger projects.”

The proposed budget would increase in Area A from $146,519 in 2019 to $162,135 in 2020, a difference of $15,616. Highlights from the first draft include an increase in the average residential assessment for rural Golden and Area A by 3.1 per cent, and an average residential increase of $14.85, which represents 3.4 per cent.

“This is all still subject to change as we don’t have all of our 2019 invoices in yet,” said Pierce. “We can’t determine our surpluses and deficits until we have those.”

Unlike in a city, the CSRD needs to have those surpluses and deficits because they cannot combine service area. For example, a surplus in fire protection in Nicholson has to stay with Nicholson, and can’t be used for another function. Currently, those surpluses and deficits are in the process of being finalized, and upon completion, will impact the budget accordingly.

Another factor that will contribute to the budget will be the final cost of the chiller repairs in the arena, which falls under the jurisdiction of the CSRD. The final cost of the repairs and closures, as well as final information on a potential insurance claim, will change the budget between now and March.

“It’s still undetermined, we don’t have the expenses that occurred during the shut down yet, and are still waiting to hear if any of that will be covered by insurance,” said Pierce. “It will absolutely be here for the final budget, but it won’t be in place for draft one.”

The first budget meeting will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 29, where directors will have a chance to provide input and determine if there’s any changes they wish to see, or things that need to be taken away.

The group reconvenes in February once the surpluses are determined to rework the budget, where it then goes for its draft two meeting with the directors. The final meeting is held in March, where the board adopts the final draft of the budget.

“At the draft two meeting in February, the budget should be 90 per cent if not 100 per cent complete,” said Pierce. “Every year the budget changes once we have new priorities identified with changes in work plans and staffing needs. It’s all evaluated on an annual basis.”

There are also opportunities to make amendments to the budget throughout the year. The 2019 budget was in fact amended in December, but Pierce says that is rare for amendments to happen mid-year, and that the CSRD tries to stick to their final budget each year.

For residents who wish to have their voice heard, they are welcome to come to the meeting in January, or contact Pierce to give their input on the proposed budget.

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