Staff originally introduced a 7 1/2 percent increase in the first year at Tuesday night’s Joint Planning Committee meeting in City Council Chambers in Quesnel.

That was to be followed by 5 percent and then 2 1/2 percent in each of the final three years of the five year Recreation and Parks Business and Financial Plan.

Most, including CRD Area A Director Mary Sjostrom, felt that it would be better to spread the pain…

“I’m not comfortable at all with a 7.5.   I’d be more comfortable with a four right across, and I realize what this gives us, is my understanding, is it gives us about 250 thousand that would go into our capital reserves.”

The idea behind front loading the tax increase was to build up capital reserves more quickly which is what Barb Bachmeier, the CRD Director for Area B, preferred…

“We need to have capital replacement reserves, and we need to start looking seriously at that.   I’m not sure what that’s going to look like or what that’s going to cost, but if we don’t do it 50 years down the road West Fraser Centre is going to be rotting into the ground, along with a lot of our other facilities.”

Jeff Norburn, the Director of Community Services, noted that the budget makes several assumptions including that there will be a loss of approximately 500 thousand dollars in revenue in the first 6 months of 2021, and the reduction of between 25 to 30 hours of service at the Rec Centre…

“This should be presented as a response to COVID, and as Director Sjostrom has pointed out there are communities that have recreation facilities that are completely closed, that haven’t been re-opened at all or are re-open with very limited hours.   It’s a difficult situation but hopefully it’s only a temporary situation.”

A four percent increase based on this year’s assessments would be approximately $5.52 cents per 100 thousand of assessment.

A final decision will be made at next month’s meeting.