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City of Dawson Creek works up 2023 proposed budget

52% of residents can expect an increase in property taxes between $101 and $300.

When it comes to taxes for 2023, right now 11% of residents will see a decrease in property taxes, 19% of residents can expect to see an increase in property taxes of less than $100, while 52% of residents would see an increase in property taxes between $101 and $300.

City CFO Teri Vetter noted it is the intent of the City of Dawson Creek Council to move the PRA revenue currently used in operations into the capital program. Vetter presented budget concepts for council and the public Tuesday.

“It is the aspiration that a minimum of 70% of PRA be used for capital investment, with the remaining used for operations, which includes debt servicing. The goal is to have this achieved by 2030.”

“The city will be borrowing $5 million for capital paving projects,” Vetter added.

When it comes to commercial properties, 3% of commercial properties can expect to see a decrease in property tax, 40% of commercial properties will see an increase of less than $100, and 20% of commercial properties would see an increase in property taxes between $101 and $300.

Council has proposed a 4.5% increase to the mill rate in 2023 with 1.5% of the total increase going towards the City’s paving program.

Three years ago the push of council was to move towards a strong financial future and this continues. The city looks to balance Peace River Agreement funding towards a solid capital infrastructure program and continuing to deliver services.

“This has resulted in a focused approach on our operating expenses and ensuring we keep tax rates affordable for our residents and business community.”

The 2023 Peace River Agreement allocation to capital expenses is 55%.

The City entered into long-term borrowing in 2022 for capital paving projects over the next 4 years, which is coordinated with the City’s water and sewer upgrades. By the end of 2023, the City will have borrowed $10M of the approved $20M over 4 years.

Approximately, 19.3 percent of operational funding or just over $10 million will be going to protective services, with $9.7 million or 18.6 percent of operational expenses will be spent on recreation and cultural services. Transportation has been allocated $6.9 million or 13.3 percent of expenses, and general administration will be receiving $4.937 million, or 9.5 percent of operational expenses.

Vetter noted that there is nearly $10 million in planned capital funding projects based around government funding not yet received.

“The biggest contributor is conditional government grants – if the city does not receive the funding the projects will not be moving forward,” she said.

The current projects proposed in the 2023 Capital Budget, including carry forward, total $36.4 million with a total capital revenue of $37.6 million which allows the City to allocate $ 1.2 million to General, Water and Sewer Capital Reserves is - General Capital Reserve $542,663 Water Capital Reserve $551,467Sewer Capital Reserve $116,225.

Mayor Darcy Dober said he expected a city council strategic session to add more context and direction to future planning.

“Coming into a new budget year with new council can be a little challenging. It is tough for staff going into it with new council in terms of direction and more, said Dober.

Next steps

March 13, 2023 – 2023 Draft 3 Budget to be presented

March 27, 2023 – First three readings of 2023 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw

April 11, 2023 – Adoption of 2023 Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw

April 24, 2023 – First three readings of 2023 Annual Property Tax Rate Bylaw

May 8, 2023 – Adoption of 2023 Annual Property Tax Rate Bylaw

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