District Reviewing 2020 Budget In Light of COVID-19 Pandemic
No matter who you are in Tofino, we understand that COVID-19 is having a real impact on your life.
Faced with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, District of Tofino Council and staff will be reviewing our draft 2020-2024 Financial Plan in recognition of these extraordinary times. Things have changed significantly since our last budget open house on February 18th, and the District will be reconsidering our draft financial plans over the coming weeks. The Financial Plan and Tax Rates Bylaws are currently required to be adopted by May 15, 2020.
To support our community in the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation, the District is extending the payment due date for Quarter 1 2020 utility bills.
Many of you have asked about the payment of upcoming utility bills. Utility bills will be distributed the week of April 20th, and the District will be extending the payment due date from 30 days to 90 days. Late payment penalties will be added to utility accounts after the 90 days has passed.
What about property taxes?
We understand that many property owners have questions about the potential deferral or reduction of property taxes.
Property tax collection and due dates are mandated by Provincial legislation, meaning that individual local governments cannot alter them. Tofino’s Mayor and Council, along with almost every other municipality in BC, have been asking the Province for further information on property tax deferrals or other tools that will help British Columbians. We have been assured that the Minister of Finance and her staff are actively discussing this topic, although no timeline for updates has yet been provided.
For the business sector, the Provincial Government has created a webpage for Provincial Tax Changes that have been announced to date, including a reduction of school taxes for Property Classes 4, 5, and 6.
Recreation Facility Grant Denial
The District’s current Financial Plan includes the development of an Indoor Recreation Facility, dependent on substantial funding (73.33%) from the provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), with the balance to be funded by taxation (borrowing).
Unfortunately, the District has recently been informed that the application to the ICIP was not successful.
During the December and February budget open houses, we asked the community to share your thoughts about how the District should proceed should the grant application be unsuccessful. In light of the recent denial, District of Tofino Council and staff will reconsider how this project fits into the District’s Financial Plan during our upcoming budget meetings, and discuss the best ways to provide recreation opportunities for residents.
Stay Tuned for More Information About the District Budget Review
In the coming weeks, Council will be discussing significant changes to 2020 operations and projects to be responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic, remain resilient, and prioritize essential services and projects. These changes will impact the budget and property taxation, and we remain committed to communicating regularly with the community about any communication from the Province, changes to the District budget, or impacts to District services.
How does the budget process work? The financial planning period for municipalities must include the current fiscal year and the next four fiscal years (five-year plan). Each year, the District of Tofino updates its Five Year Financial Plan, which includes operating and capital budgets for each of the five years contained in the Plan.
What's involved in budgeting considerations? Municipalities are required to prepare a balanced budget each year - while a municipality can incur debt to pay for large capital projects, we cannot incur a deficit to fund day to day operations the same way senior levels of government can. In order to balance the budget, a careful analysis must be done regarding the level of service required to meet the expectations of the community balanced against realistic taxation and user fee levels.
How is the public involved? Tofino residents and businesses are encouraged to make Council aware of your priorities, whether you value more parks, reserves for infrastructure, an age-friendly community, or low taxes. We invite you to attend budget meetings, learn about the process, understand the issues and the challenges, and let Council know your thoughts. District staff are available to answer questions, distribute your feedback to Council, and provide clarity.
In general, the annual budget process is as follows:
|This is a high-level overview of proposed projects for the next 5 years.|
|November-February Public Consultation||This includes Open Houses, Feedback Forms, Presentations to stakeholders, etc.|
Second Budget Meeting
|Public Feedback is presented to Council in conjunction with staff recommendations. Prioritization of initiatives and projects.|
Third Budget Meeting
|Review budget for approval of changes based on Feedback.|
Regular Council Meeting
|Introduction of Five-Year Financial Plan and Annual Tax Rate Bylaws|
|Before May 15th
Adoption of Bylaws
|Submit to Ministry responsible for Municipal Affairs|
*All meetings are open to the public and advertised in advance.
What Has Happened So Far:
|First Budget Meeting||October 31, 2019|
|Open House & Town Hall||December 3, 2019|
|Second Budget Meeting||January 31, 2020|
|Open House||February 18, 2020|
Feedback forms were available online and in person after each Open House.
What is Next in the Process:
|Third Budget Meeting||Spring 2020|
|Regular Council Meeting||Spring 2020|
|Adoption of Financial Plan & Annual Tax Rate Bylaws||Before May 15th|
District Staff will present common questions and feedback at upcoming Budget Meetings, Newsletters, or FAQ's.
To view a list of projects being considered for the 2020-2024 Financial Plan, the consolidated draft 2020 Budget, or to view the presentation slides from the Special Budget Meeting held January 31, 2020, please click on the links provided below. A video recording of the Special Budget Meeting is also available, and to follow the order of the presentation the Operating and Project Budgets slides should be opened first, followed by the Financial Offer's Report slides.
- 2020-2024 Draft Financial Plan - Project Sheets
- 2020 Consolidated Draft Budget
- 2020-2024 Draft Financial Plan - Budget Meeting Presentations:
The submission period to submit feedback for this round of the budget cycle is now closed.
To send general budget feedback at any time, please email email@example.com.
For reference, see the compiled public feedback received about the 2019-2023 Financial Plan and 2019 Municipal Budget.
Click on the link below to view the presentation:
For more information or to ask questions about anything you see in this presentation, please feel free to contact us:
Director of Financial Services
What does Property Tax cover?
Tofino’s property taxes are collected to address three main areas of expenditures:
1. The general municipal operations budget to deliver services to the community, such as roads, parking, parks, trails, recreation programs, planning and development services, fire protection, bylaw enforcement, emergency planning, and much more.
2. Debt servicing required for long-term loans taken out to build infrastructure such as water reservoirs or sewer infrastructure.
3. A Capital and Infrastructure Levy (“C&I Levy”), which effectively builds savings accounts to maintain and replace infrastructure from roads to pipes to buildings.
In 2019, just under 15% of the total municipal budget was funded by taxation, the majority of revenue came from grants at 44%.
What is the expected tax increase over the next five years?
Municipalities must forecast their budgets for five years, and present a balanced budget for each of these years.
The wastewater treatment project is the largest project the District has ever undertaken, and by 2020 the full effects of its cost will show up in property tax requisitions. The municipal operations budget is forecast to continue to rise at 2% per year.
The only changes that are certain in any given year are those of the current year. The 2019-2023 Financial Plan shows increases as follows:
These amounts may change if projects such as the recreation facility do not go forward or are delayed.
This information will be updated each year during the Financial Planning Process.
Why are increases needed?
Generally speaking, the forecasted increases are needed:
- To account for rising costs of fuel, hydro, materials and supply inventory, equipment, professional fees, wages and benefits and other operating costs;
- To pay for services and facilities that Tofitians expect – such as clean drinking water and fire protection – as well as to pay for services that Council sees as important to our community’s health and well-being, such as robust by-law enforcement or a new recreation facility;
- To pay for services that Tofino has been mandated to deliver, namely sewage treatment; and
- To adequately set aside savings (a.k.a. reserves) that will pay for the true costs of annually maintaining roads, pipes, parks, and buildings so that Tofitians can benefit from them for years without worrying that sudden tax increases will be needed to fix and replace them when they break, wear out, or become unsafe.
View a Breakdown of Municipal Property Taxation by Year (2019-2023)
How is public feedback used?
Tofino residents and businesses are encouraged to make Council aware of your priorities, whether you value more parks, reserves for infrastructure, an age-friendly community, or low taxes.
We invite the public to attend budget meetings, learn about the process, understand the issues and the challenges, and let Council know. District staff are available to answer questions, distribute your feedback to Council, and provide clarity.
In general, the annual budget process is as follows:
- October/November - First Budget Meeting: This is a high-level overview of proposed projects for the next 5 years.
- November - February - Public Consultation: This includes Open Houses, Feedback Forms, Presentations
- January - Second Budget Meeting: Public Feedback is presented to Council in conjunction with staff recommendations. Prioritization of initiatives and projects.
- March - Third Budget Meeting: Review budget for approval of changes based on Feedback.
- April - Final Budget Meeting: Introduction of Five-Year Financial Plan and Annual Tax Rate Bylaws
- Before May 15th Adoption of Bylaws: Submit to Ministry responsible for Municipal Affairs.
To help you answer your questions and provide a fulsome picture of Tofino's Five Year Financial Plan, we created the "2019 Tofino Tax Guide" with information about our priorities, challenges, and plans for the next five years. This guide was mailed with all Property Tax Notices.
To learn more about how tax rates are set, the relationship between your property assessment and your tax bill, and other general information please check our "Understanding Property Taxes" page. Here you'll find information and links such as:
- Annual Tax Rates
- How to calculate your Property Taxes
- How Property Assessments impact your Tax Bill