The General Operating Fund is the Town’s main operating fund. It captures the costs associated with providing the following municipal services to residents and property owners:
- Corporate Administration
- ICBC/Driver Services
- Financial Services
- Planning Services
- Protective Services (Building, Bylaw, Animal Control)
- Infrastructure Services
- Municipal Buildings
- Public Works: Roads, Drainage, Solid Waste, Snow Removal, District Energy Utility, Fleet
- Parks and Cultural Services
Revenues to fund the services listed above come from:
- Property taxation
- Garbage and organic program user fees
- Investment income
- Property rental income
- ICBC/Driver Services commissions
- Donations/Other Recoveries
- Planning and development related licenses and permit fees
- Operating grants from the Province of BC
2021 Preliminary General Operating Budget*
On February 23, 2021, the Director of Finance presented the 2021 preliminary general operating budget to the Committee of the Whole for review. The following information is a summary of the highlights contained in that presentation. Read the related Staff Report 2021-02-23 here.
On March 9, 2021, the Director of Finance presented Update #1 to the 2021 preliminary general operating budget. Read the related Staff Report 2021-03-09 here.
On March 23, 2021, the Director of Finance presented Update #2 to the 2021 preliminary general operating budget. Read the related Staff Report 2021-03-23 here.
*Please note: the numbers shown below are for the preliminary general operating budget and will change as Council moves through the budgeting process.
2021 Revenue: Highlights
For 2021, total operating revenue is currently budgeted to be $7,047,876.
The change can be summarized as follows:
- Impact of 2% property tax increase to cover contractual obligations and cost of living increases $66,909
- Impact of new property assessments (growth) $19,517
- Increase in garbage and organics program user fees $21,430
- Decrease in Green Waste program fee for services ($32,407)
- Increase in general revenues $47,926
- Decrease in rental income ($33,608)
- Increase in protective services $41,500
- Decreases in various licences, permits and fees ($45,581)
- Decrease in Infrastructure Services fees ($60,430)
- Decrease in provincial grant funding ($14,008)
- Increase in transfers from reserves $58,527
2021 Expenses: Highlights
Total expenditures, debt payments and transfers to reserves are currently budgeted to be $6,902,245.
Some of the year-over-year changes include:
- Council costs are expected to fall by 13.9% ($26,975), due to a decrease in benefit costs and lower conference fees and travel costs, reflecting a shift to online conferences and meetings.
- General government operations costs are expected to grow by 12.1% ($192,664), due to increased salary expenses, higher recruitment costs, higher computer services fees, an increase in Property and Liability insurance costs and the addition of the costs of the parcel taxes charged to Town-owned property. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in professional services & fees.
- Grants, donations and fee for service – the overall budget for this category, which includes ongoing grants to the community, increased by $34,474 to $351,816 compared to 2020. The majority of the increase relates to the COVID-19 Community Grant ($25,000.) Other beneficiaries of this funding include Police Victim Services ($8,000), Restorative Justice ($2,710), the Coast Cultural Alliance ($2,000), the Gibsons Seniors Society ($5,045) and organizations who apply for one-time funding through our General Grants of Assistance program ($20,000). Fees for services such as Visitor Information Services ($45,000), Youth Services Worker ($14,325), SCREDO ($45,656) and SC Tourism ($7,200) are also included.
- Municipal Buildings budgeted costs have been increased by 8.3% for 2021, due to required repairs and maintenance identified by the building assessments done in 2020.
- ICBC/Driver’s Services costs are expected to increase by 2.5% ($7,355) over 2020.
- Protective Services include costs for building inspection, bylaw enforcement and animal control. In 2021, costs in this category are expected to increase by 3.9% to $268,399.
- Infrastructure Services budgeted expenses are down by 2.6%, due to:
- An overall decrease in general administration costs for the department, which includes salaries, wages, dues & subscriptions, professional services, training and travel;
- A decrease in costs associated with the Public Works – Henry Road Workshop, which includes salaries, wages, dues & subscriptions, training & travel, and repairs & maintenance;
- Increased costs associated with traffic signs and streetlights;
- A slight decrease in Road Maintenance costs, to better reflect actual costs incurred in previous years;
- An increase in snow removal costs, due to increased staffing and vehicle charges;
- An increase in Drainage costs, which reflects the carryover of some costs associated with 2020 CCTV and flushing program, which was delayed due to the pandemic;
- An increase solid waste expenditures, which are related to enhanced street garbage service and increased garbage and organics collections costs;
- An increase in equipment costs; and
- A slight decrease in the operating costs associated with the Gibsons District Energy Utility, as the system is decommissioned.
- Planning Department expenses are expected to decrease by $36,894, or 7%, over 2020. The change is mainly related to a payment of $70,000 which was directed to the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society in 2020. No such payment will be made in 2021.
- Parks and Cultural Services expenditures are expected to increase slightly (1.3%) over 2020. The increase mainly relates to costs associated with COVID-19 related safety supplies, washroom cleaning and rental of porta-potties.
- Fiscal Services includes bank charges, debt servicing costs and transfers to reserves. The overall budget of $878,581 is a decrease of $91,205 compared to 2020, with the change mainly related to a significant reduction in debt servicing costs following the retirement of the 2009 Road Rehab debt and a reduction in the interest rate charged on the debt related to the RCMP Building from 3.56% to 1%. These reductions were offset slightly by a small increase in transfers to vehicle/capital reserves to reflect additional fleet-related costs related to physical distancing requirements of the pandemic.
With total budgeted revenues of $7,047,876 and total expenses budgeted at $6,902,245, the net result is a budgeted surplus of $145,632. This may be used to finance the current year capital/projects plan, transfers to reserves, funding requests by external organizations and/or additional considerations of Council.
To view a line-by-line spreadsheet of the Preliminary 2021 General Fund Budget as at March 23, 2021, please click here.