City presents draft Financial Plan with information on project highlights, solid waste and budgetary process

City presents draft 2015 Financial Plan (2015-2019) for community feedback

The City of White Rock released an updated draft financial plan (2015 – 2019) ahead of the Finance and Audit committee on March 23, 2015.

2015 draft Financial Plan project highlights

In the draft financial plan, the City incorporated the elimination of the solid waste service in the general municipal tax levy. The annual tax savings for the tax payer is estimated at a 4.5% for 2015 and a further 4.5% in 2016 for a total of 9%. This equates to an approximate annual savings of $100 for an average strata property in the City.

Through other inflationary costs and program improvements, the 2015 draft budget proposes a net reduction in the general property tax levy of 1.6% compared to 2014. The reduction of property tax will see the average single family homepay approximately $49 less and the average strata property see a reduction of approximately $18. 

The 2015 draft Financial Plan provides additional funding for programs and services including:

  • Support for arts and culture initiatives including the summer concert series, White Rock Sea Festival and Diwali Multicultural Festival, and White Rock Museum and Archives;
  • Additional position for City planning offset by increase in building permit revenue; and
  • Increased funding for park maintenance.

City Council will also review the draft 2015-2019 five-year Capital Plan. The draft plan continues to advance the City's long-term fiscal plan objectives and focuses on infrastructure rehabilitation and rail safety. 

Some significant projects planned from 2015 to 2019 are:

  • Increasing rail safety with two new pedestrian crossings and upgrade of 
  • specific crossings;
  • East Beach erosion control concept plan with implementation starting 2017;
  • Study and redevelopment of Centre Street Walkway; and
  • Investment to enhance customer service experience and offer more online options.

These significant projects reflect community investments to support corporate goals and strategies to enhance the resident and visitor experience, support a vibrant local economy, and demonstrate leadership in the stewardship of natural assets and infrastructure management.

City falls in line with Greater Vancouver municipalities’ trend to solid waste user fee model

The City of White Rock is one of the only municipalities in the Lower Mainland that includes solid waste collection in the general tax levy. In the draft financial plan, the City incorporated the long standing strategic corporate priority for a solid waste utility model.  A user fee utility model increases customer awareness of the cost of providing the service as the rate is transparent rather than embedded as part of the municipal tax levy.

In January 2015, the City announced the move to privatize multi-family and commercial garbage, recycling and upcoming organics collection. Therefore, multi-family and commercial general municipal tax levy will no longer include a charge for solid waste collection effective July 1, 2015.

The City will continue to provide garbage, recycling and organics collection to detached single family homes and some small multi-family properties after June 30, 2015. The City has proposed a charge of $192 as the Solid Waste utility fee from July 1 to December 31, 2015.

Budget process

Preparation of the five year Financial Plan is guided by the Community Charter and involves planning, discussion and deliberation by staff, the Finance and Audit Committee and Council, with input from the community.

What's next?

The Finance and Audit Committee is scheduled to review updates on the draft Financial
Plan (2015 – 2019) on March 23, 2015. Members of the public can speak directly to the Finance and Audit Committee after a staff presentation on Monday 23 March at 5:00 p.m.  In addition, written comments from the public will be accepted up until 4:30 p.m. Monday 23 March.

Tax notices are mailed out at the end of May and municipal property taxes are due on July 2, 2015.