District of Sparwood logo and flag. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Sparwood financial plan out for comment

Highlights of the 2021-2025 financial plan are on display at the Greenwood Mall

Highlights of Sparwood’s draft 2021-2025 financial plan will be on display at the Greenwood Mall from March 22 to April 14, with virtual sessions on March 22 and March 26.

The district has a preliminary tax increase budgeted at five per cent, with one per cent of that going towards a reserve for future policing costs as a result of potential changes in the provincial RCMP allocation.

Utility rates were also raised by 10 per cent at the beginning of 2021 in the district.

District reserves at the end of 2021 are forecast to be down significantly to around $130k (from $2.6 million at the end of 2020) due to spending and transfers across accounts, with multiple capital works projects on the go in Sparwood at the same time.

Reserves are projected to increase again year-on-year after 2021, with a forecast reserve budget of $1.4 million by 2025.

One of the bigger projects (besides wages, which is always a big expense) are planning for a new Multi-Purpose facility in the district which is budgeted to soak up $100,000 in funds.

The Centennial Square revitalization is also on the cards for 2021, and is due to soak up more funds. Discussion and feedback is ongoing however, so the district does not yet have a cost estimate. The $6 million complete plan will not go ahead however, with councillors and community members preferring to lower costs and reduce the scope of the project.

The budget for snow and ice management has been bumped up significantly in response to higher actual costs in 2020.

A little over $500,000 was budgeted for the service in 2020, but interim actual costs are estimating the district spent almost $600,000 last year. As a result, the district is budgeting a little under $600,000 in 2021.

Following public feedback, the draft plan will head to regular council meetings for discussion in late April and early May.

READ MORE: Centennial Square goes back to the drawing board



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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