CRD directors ask staff to trim proposed budget increase

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell questions roughly five per cent bump

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell is asking the number crunchers at the Capital Regional District to go back to the drawing board.

At Wednesday’s meeting, CRD staff proposed a nearly five per cent increase in the budget for shared regional services, which includes regional planning, parks, governance and more.

Blackwell, Langford’s director on the CRD board, asked that staff take another look at ways to reduce the budget.

She wants to see the budget keep more in line with the cost of living increase, or around two per cent. “I felt 4.85 was too high, and asked staff to give us options to where we can bring it to a more reasonable level. When I come to the table it’s as as a CRD director, not a Langford councillor. While the increase may be minimal for Langford after sewage treatment is included, I want to find something that’s more equitable for everyone.”

The majority of directors supported Blackwell’s motion, and sent the budget back to staff to try to find a two per cent reduction. View Royal Mayor David Screech, however took issue with the decision.

“Staff work very hard to present a budget that represents what the CRD needs,” he said. “When staff has presented the best budget, I think it’s our job as directors to identify where the cuts need to be made. To me, this proposal is all about optics. I have no problem with the proposed increase.”

Screech noted that out of the proposed increase of nearly $43 for View Royal residents, $35 of that is for sewage treatment. “We can’t do anything about that,” he added.

Screech said the increase in part was aimed at providing more bylaw enforcement in parks, which he appreciates, especially considering the issues that arise at Thetis Lake Park during the summer months. “It also includes funding for extra staff to provide additional financial oversight. Given the size of the CRD budget, that only makes sense.”

Screech also had concerns with the budget dipping into the CRD’s reserve fund to address the cost of regional planning strategies, rather than providing that funding from requisitions. “Generally in terms of municipal budgets, you never finance operating costs from a reserve budget,” he said.

The CRD’s total 2017 operating budget was $221 million, which saw an eight per cent increase from 2016.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

CRD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Capital Regional District spent $1.7 million to restore the Todd Creek Trestle. (Sooke News Mirror)
Todd Creek Trestle restoration completed

Restoration work adds 35 to 50 years to life span of the structure

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

Local New Democrat Zeb King welcomed Premier John Horgan during a brief photo opportunity in Sidney Monday afternoon (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP leader John Horgan predicts party will ‘flip’ Saanich North and the Islands

Incumbent MLA Adam Olsen calls Horgan’s claim ‘bold’

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A 23-foot sailboat that broke free from its anchor was smashed against Cattle Point during the early October south-easterly storms. (Ron Geezin Photo)
Storm-smashed boat pulled off rocks of Cattle Point in Oak Bay

Sailboat a casualty of last week’s big storms

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: Prince of Wales visited Sooke twice

Royal connections to Lady Emily Walker and Rev. Reginald Walker

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read