In 2021, six budget-related meetings were held between January and April, all of which were open to the public. Additionally, a community survey was undertaken through January, a Community Dialogue was held via Zoom on March 23rd to provide residents with the opportunity to ask Council and senior staff questions about the annual budget, and the Town hosted a virtual Open House on April 13th, where staff presented the highlights of the 2021 Budget.
Budget 2021 – Timeline
- 03-02-2021: Staff have been directed to prepare bylaws that reflect a 5% increase to the current Water Parcel Tax and Water User Fees and a 5% increase to the current Sewer Parcel Tax and Sewer User Fees.
- 03-02-2021: An amendment to Bylaw 1196, 2020 was given first, second and third reading. The amendment reflects an $8 annual increase to the current residential Garbage and Organics User fee. Read the related report here.
- 03-09-2021: A dedicated police service tax increase of 5% (in addition to the 2% municipal tax increase included in the preliminary budget numbers) is under consideration. Taxation funds related to this 5% increase would go into a Police Reserve Fund, and used to help mitigate an expected annual increase of $700,000 to $1 million in the Town’s policing costs, which will be triggered by the Province of BC when Gibsons’ population reaches 5,000 people. Learn more about the pending Police Services Tax here.
- 03-09-2021: Council will likely hold the Business Tax Multiple for 2021 steady at 2.75. The Business Tax Multiple (BTM) affects the relative tax burden borne by Class 6 (businesses) versus Class 1 (residential.) The higher the BTM, the higher proportion of the tax burden businesses bear. Read the related report here.
- 03-09-2021: Council has asked staff to include $5,045 in the 2021 Annual Budget for a new freezer for the Gibsons Seniors Society, and to include a line item of $5,000 for the Gibsons Seniors Society in future budgets. A $5,000 budget line item will also be added beginning in 2021 for funding to go to a reserve for children’s playground equipment and infrastructure.
- 03-09-2021: Council has asked staff to implement collection tax scheme which differs from the scheme outlined in the Community Charter. The adopted scheme would designate July 2, 2021 as the Property Tax due date, with a 5% penalty applied on any outstanding balance on July 3, 2021 and a further 5% penalty applied on any outstanding balance on September 1, 2021, rather than applying a 10% penalty on July 3, 2021.
- 03-16-2021: The Director of Infrastructure Services has presented a Preliminary 2021 – 2025 General Capital Budget. Read the 2021 Capital Projects highlights here. Read the related Staff Report here.
- 04-06-2021: Council has voted to move forward with an overall 7% municipal tax increase (with 5% relating to future policing costs) and has directed staff to prepare the 2021 – 2025 Financial Plan Bylaw and 2021 Annual Tax Rate Bylaw for approval.
Community Dialogue Budget 2021
On the evening of March 23, 2021, a Community Dialogue was held via Zoom, to provide residents with the opportunity to ask Council and senior staff questions about the annual budget. Thirty-eight people attended the meeting, which included an overview of the budget-to-date and breakout rooms for General Government, Town Operations, and Capital Projects.
Public engagement is available and encouraged at each phase of the annual budgeting process. (All Council meetings may be accessed online from this page. Video recordings of past meetings may be viewed here.) Opportunity for public involvement is also provided at the final stages, when a high-level overview of the financial plan is provided.
Meeting dates* and topics for budget-related discussions are:
- January 26th at 3pm – Special Committee of the Whole –Water & Sewer Long Term Financial Plan Updates, 2021 Preliminary Water and Sewer Operations and Capital Budgets
- February 23rd at 3pm – Special Committee of the Whole – Preliminary General Operations Budget, Utilities User Rates Finalized – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here
- March 2nd at 7pm – Council Meeting – Water, Sewer and Garbage User Rates (1st, 2nd and 3rd readings of Bylaw) – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here. A presentation on the SCRD’s Round 1 Budget discussions was also presented to Council (please see section below for more details.) Staff Report on Community Survey results.
- March 9th at 3pm – Special Committee of the Whole – General Operations Budget (Update #1) – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here.
- March 16th at 3pm – Special Committee of the Whole – General 1-year and 5-year Capital/Project Plans – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here.
- March 23rd at 3pm – Special Committee of the Whole – General Operations Budget Update; Revised General 1-year and 5-year Capital/Project Plans – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here.
- March 23rd at 7pm – Community Dialogue on 2021 budget (an opportunity for Town of Gibsons stakeholders to ask Council members and senior staff budget-related questions). View a recording of the dialogue, including breakout rooms, here.
- March 29th at 3pm – Special Committee of the Whole – Reports on Community Dialogue; Final Committee recommendations on budget – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here.
- April 6th at 7pm – Council Meeting – Direction from Council to prepare 2021 – 2025 Financial Plan and 2021 Annual Tax Rate Bylaws – View Meeting Agenda and links to related staff reports here.
- April 13th at 7pm – Budget 2021: Final Presentation – senior staff presented the Town’s budget highlights, including planned capital projects for the coming year.
- May 4th – Bylaw readings (2021 budget is finalized)
*Meeting dates and times may be subject to change, please confirm details one week prior to meeting.
Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) Budget
On March 3, 2021, Lori Pratt (Chair of the SCRD Board) provided an overview of the SCRD’s Round 1 Budget 2021. View PowerPoint presentation here.
The Round 1 Budget anticipates a 9.49% increase in the SCRD Property Taxation rate, due to a record number of projects, depleted reserves, higher staffing costs and COVID-19 impacts.
Approximately 27% of the total property taxes paid by Town of Gibsons property owners are comprised of the SCRD tax.
Therefore, a rise in the SCRD property taxation rate will push up that portion of Town of Gibsons property taxes.
For 2021, the SCRD tax increase is expected to be an additional $92.85 on a house valued at $500,000, $139.27 on a house valued at $750,000 and $185.70 on a house valued at $1 million.