Historic Ashcroft sign, 2006. Photo credit: Journal files

Ashcroft facing 2.5% tax increase, no rise in utility fees

2022 budget and five-year financial plan to be presented to public in April

The Village of Ashcroft hosted a community forum on March 28 for public input and inquiries regarding budget plans for the coming year.

Attendees — both virtual and in-person — heard from Chief Financial Officer Yoginder Bhalla, who reviewed some of the village’s projects, the overall financial position, and the projected taxes for 2022.

Inflation and supply-chain issues are two major challenges the village is facing, Bhalla said, describing the “intense cost pressures” that are impacting operations.

“We are facing a very different environment than we’ve been in the last few years,” he explained, noting that commodity cost increases from Fortis and BC Hydro will also have an impact.

“As opposed to the cost increases we are facing, we are still tightening our belts and trying to keep things within a reasonable level.”

Bhalla pointed out that despite inflation reaching 5.7 per cent, the village’s overall tax increase remains at 2.5 per cent, with no utility increases forecast for 2022. “We did not want to front load the expenses to the public when they’re facing a lot of expenses already,” he said.

The forum also provided an opportunity for staff to review some of the village’s major projects, including the sewage lift station, which is near completion, the north Ashcroft drainage study, and the electric vehicle charging station.

Brian Bennewith, director of public works, explained how supply-chain issues, specifically relating to electronic components, have delayed the completion of the lift station.

“Our project completion date was supposed to be the end of November, but there were some small electrical pieces due to come in early this year,” Bennewith explained. “The completion date now is probably pushed off until May.”

Bennewith said that there are “very limited resources” with many suppliers, including plastic products, that are affecting project timelines.

A public presentation of the 2022 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan will take place this month, with the plan to be adopted by council no later than May 9.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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