Budget 2018 - Chapter 3: The next steps

cover-page.jpgOver the past five months, Council and Town staff have spent many hours deliberating over the 2018 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan.

It 's important to us that you, the taxpayer, know just what is happening and what might be changing that affects you.

To that end, Council and Town Staff hosted the annual Budget Open House on January 16th, with the hopes of engaging the public in some meaningful conversation about the proposed 2018 budget and five-year financial plan.

"We appreciate those that took advantage of the opportunity to come out and get informed about what is being proposed," says Mayor Ron Oszust. "The Public Consultation period closes on February 20th so there is still an opportunity for the public to provide feedback by attending the upcoming Council meeting on February 6th, 2018."

"Every time you use a recreation facility, have your garbage picked up, or flush your toilet - you are using a Town of Golden service," says CAO Jon Wilsgard. "Public input helps Council to shape how the town 's priorities are funded for the near future."

The current process will see Council pass separate readings of the Financial Plan bylaw and eventually adopt it. After this comes setting the tax rates for the various tax classes in the community - essentially who pays how much in order to fund the budget.

Tax rates are based on property assessment values that are provided by BC Assessment - the provincial Crown Corporation that classifies and values all real property in the province. BC Assessment determines the value of properties and Council then determines the property tax rate they will set to raise the revenue needed to pay for public services.

Golden has six different classes of properties. When setting tax rates, the bulk is assumed by residential and business properties.

"Setting the rate for each class is an exercise in structured and practical political judgement, considering assessment trends, distribution fairness, new (non- market) assessment benefits and economic development potential," says Mayor Oszust. "This is the most important annual decision that council makes - and can be highly scrutinized by the public. Moving forward, Council will debate and discuss its views on these considerations and we will speak more to them after the budget is adopted."

To learn more about our Proposed Five Year Financial Plan, grab a copy of our Budget Book. This will give you an idea of the "big picture" and where Golden is headed. The Budget Book can be found under the View tab on the homepage of the Town of Golden website, by visiting our Facebook Page, in hard copy at Town Hall or by clicking HERE.