Calling it a “transitional period with the landfill,” Cache Creek Council held a public meeting on Jan. 25 to present upcoming plans and projects to the public as well as the 2016/17 budget with its tax and utility increases.
“People appeared to be reasonably comfortable with where Council was going,” said Mayor John Ranta after the meeting.
Council is considering a utility increase of approximately $75 per home and a tax increase that will amount to approximately $100 per home.
“We need to do that to balance the budget,” said Ranta, who added that Council considered borrowing from its Landfill Legacy reserve up to $71,000, but are reluctant to.
“We don’t want to keep using the Landfill Legacy to balance the budget,” said Chief Financial Officer Sheila McCutcheon at the public meeting.
She told the meeting that the rising costs were all “catch up” to make up for declining landfill revenues.
The landfill is scheduled to close at the end of 2016 and it will likely stop accepting garbage well before then. For many years, royalties from the landfill provided $2-$3 million per year for the Village.
Ranta said if the landfill had never existed, residential taxes would probably have gone up by 75 per cent of what they are today.
“We are in uncertain times,” he said, “but hopefully we can establish the Extension. If it doesn’t get going, there will be additional hard decisions to be made by Council.”
The Extension is waiting for the province to grant it an Operational Certificate. The Village is hoping that will come before the landfill closes so that the jobs and customers aren’t lost.
“Landfill revenues in previous years have subsidized a lower tax and user fee regime,” said a document prepared for the public meeting. “However, with the closure of the landfill at the end of 2016, a new financial strategy is required to ensure the sustainability of services and future development.”
Ranta said the Village was anxious to get this year’s budget approved so it could proceed with plans for any capital projects that need to be done this year.