The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) presented their 2013 draft budget to Fort St. James mayor and council Feb. 13.
The $5.7 million budget was presented by Hans Berndorff, Financial Administrator, Gail Chapman, Chief Administrative Officer, Bill Miller, the Director for Burns Lake Rural, and Tom Greenaway, Director for Fort St. James Rural.
Their presentation highlighted some of the services the regional district provides and contributes to in the region and in Fort St. James itself, such as solid waste management and supporting the fire department and library.
Regionally in 2013, the RDBN is planning to be involved in working on improving high speed internet access and cell phone coverage, First Nations relationship building and improvements at regional landfills, and financial planning for hospital facility replacements in Fort St. James, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.
For 2013, the RDBN has $310,000 in capital expenditures planned, and with the agreement the province will pay for the majority of the new hospital in Burns Lake, along with the money the RDBN has been putting aside for a number of years, the new hospital is not expected to result in any long-term borrowing for the region at this time.
The projected change in taxation for regional services will depend on whether or not the taxpayer is in a rural area or falls within a municipality, because municipal taxpayers pay for different services than rural taxpayers.
While taxation for rural taxpayers is projected to rise, due to how taxes are calculated, the actual taxes paid by a homeowner on a $100,000 property is in fact projected to decrease due to the large amounts of industrial development in the region, which result in a greater tax base to draw from. This effect decreases over time as the assets of the developments depreciate.
The budget must be adopted by March 31 and anyone wishing to find out more about the budget can call the RDBN toll-free at 1-800-320-3339.