Golden residents are being invited to have their say on the the Town of Golden’s 2023 proposed annual budget and proposed five-year financial plan.
Noting that it is committed to sound financial management and developing a responsible budget, the town is proposing a financial plan that focuses on responsible spending.
“The Town of Golden is emerging from the pandemic years ready to move our community forward,” said Mayor Ron Oszust. “Continuing development activity, grant application successes, planned infrastructure replacements, ongoing service pressures, and internal staffing changes continue to propel us forward.”
Oazust noted that, as elsewhere, inflation is a concern for Golden.
“The annual increase to our budget will reflect this,” he said, noting that staff and council have made extra efforts to cut costs where possible and reduce budget-focused workloads to balance the affect of inflation, but will move forward with “fantastic projects” on the books for 2023.”
The first reading of the proposed budget and five-year financial plan was passed at the Jan. 24, regular council meeting.
Highlights from the budget include:
• Last year the municipal property taxes collected from Golden residents were $6.19 million. This year, to offset inflation while still being aware of the impact on residents, council is targeting a six per cent increase. While this increase will not balance the effects of inflation, it will help the municipality keep up with inflation while maintaining service levels. The search for as many grants as possible will continue in order to alleviate the local tax burden for planned capital projects.
• Town staff will re-examine the reserve policy in 2023 to ensure adequate balances in the coming years.
• In terms of notable expenditures and initiatives in 2023, the downtown transformation will continue with a complete street renewal of 6th Street North, between Ford and the Downtown Auto Wash, and the redevelopment of the Post Office Plaza; another phase of boulevard beautification work on the Trans Canada Highway will take place; Golden Fire Rescue will purchase a new fire truck; repaving will start on the 500 block of 8th Street South; the skatepark expansion and Mount 7 Rec-Plex Block will be completed this year; and capital improvements to water and sewer systems will take place, keeping the most fundamental infrastructure for the community functional for the long term.
“Our budget is becoming increasingly easier to read and understand, and we’d like to hear what people think of that,” explained chief administrative officer Jon Wilsgard.
“We have lots of time for public input this year. We encourage residents to participate and provide their thoughts. This is a chance for the community to ask questions, give feedback, learn about the different services the town offers, and understand council’s direction for 2023 and beyond.”
Residents can view the proposed budget and financial plan online at www.golden.ca where they are invited to provide feedback from now until Feb. 21. This can be accomplished by completing an online survey, attend an upcoming council meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in person at council chambers or via Zoom at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/99030675368, or at 1:15 p.m. Feb. 28 in council chambers or via Zoom at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/93327695469.
Residents may also provide feedback in the form of an email to email@example.com with “2023 budget” oil the subject line, or in a letter to Corporate Officer, Box 350, Golden, B.C, V0A 1H0.
The public consultation period ends on Feb. 21, 2023.