Sooke council begins prep work for 2017 budget

The district must approve its 2017 to 2021 financial plan by May 15.

Sooke council is moving around some of its money as it prepares for budget talks next month.

Four fund items were “repurposed,” first of which was transfer of the 2017 budget for long-term plans of $20,000 for the official community plan, a budget line item.

Second was figuring out what to do with an extra lump of money, a total of $28,150 left untouched after the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce bowed out of its contract with the District of Sooke last summer.

Council members agreed to split it into two parts: $12,000 for its contract with the RCMP and $16,150 towards its budget of “other outside services,” which includes municipal property maintenance and repairs.

The chamber’s abrupt departure was an unforeseen change in the district’s five-year financial plan.

“When you do a budget that far out in advance, you’re always going to have things that either aren’t going to happen or different things are going to need to be done,” said Brent Blackhall, the district’s financial officer.

“We know now that for 2017, we’re not spending that money on the chamber of commerce, so there’s $28K in there, but I know we need it for something else.”

Third transfer was of $16,000 of the budget set for records management towards its outside services fund.

Last was the $1,307 of the Crime Reduction Action Team to the budget of relief worker remuneration. The fund hadn’t been used, so its purpose was found elsewhere, Blackhall said.

“We moved that into relief worker remuneration, which is the volunteer firefighters, and that’s to provide for benefits for them, as currently, they [volunteer firefighters] don’t have any,” he said.

The district must approve its 2017 to 2021 financial plan by May 15.