Campbell River has managed to chop just over $2 million from its draft 2024 budget.
The revised budget has a 3.45 per cent tax increase or an extra $10 on every $100,000 of assessed home value (an extra $72 next year on the so-called average B.C. home assessed at $716,000).
The original budget had a 9 per cent increase.
CFO Alaina Maher told council the adjustments came from increased revenue projections and budgetary realignments – but no job cuts.
“No labour has been impacted. During hard times this is always a last resort to look at,” Maher said.
In fact, the proposed budget adds four RCMP officers, one flex firefighter and two bylaw enforcement officers.
Most of the $2.2 million in reductions have come from increased revenue projections and cost savings through “budgetary realignments.”
Maher explained the tax increase includes a hedge against inflation.
“It maintains existing service levels, amongst abnormally high levels of inflation. This is supported with the inclusion of a proposed 0.25 per cent tax increase for inflation to ensure that services and budgets aren’t eroded by increasing prices,” she said.
As the city struggles with the homeless, drug use and crime in its downtown, the budget includes $1.4 million over the next three years to tackle downtown safety and $6.6 million over three years for “low barrier temporary housing.”
City councillors had little to say Tuesday about the revisions.
Coun. Ron Kerr did take a moment to call it a “good news story.”
“There’s lot of troublesome news in the media and out there but when you look at this (budget), it really is a good news story. The last two years have been challenging but this definitely falls within the range that council set out,” Kerr said.
Coun. Doug Chapman agreed with Kerr’s assessment.
Budget talks are scheduled for three days starting next Tuesday (Nov. 28) at 9:30 a.m.