Council Approves 2022 Budget, Tax Rate and Financial Plan

City of Fernie Council approved the 2022 Budget, tax rate and Five-Year Financial Plan at the Regular Meeting of Council held on March 14, 2022.

Following a comprehensive review of the City’s financial position, a 5% increase was established to include the 3.91% required to provide a fully-funded budget, and an additional 1% increase to allocate $81,870 to establish a new Affordable Housing Reserve.

“We know that there is real concern in our community around the lack of affordable housing in our community. Creating a reserve and allocating funds that will ensure we are poised to take advantage of opportunities to create more affordable housing is crucial for the continued growth and prosperity of our community,” says Mayor Ange Qualizza.

The importance of creating affordable housing, and concern with the current cost of housing were two of the prevalent themes in the feedback gathered from the 108 budget surveys submitted during the public consultation period.

The 2022 budget focuses on critical infrastructure upgrades, asset management and sustainable service delivery. The budget maintains essential services, increases staffing to improve existing service delivery, implements recommendations from external assessments, and responds to ongoing financial impacts related to the Covid-19 pandemic and increases in fixed costs.

“The City is continuing to improve financial processes and policies to set the foundation for the creation of an effective asset management program and sustainable service delivery model,” says Director of Finance Bryn Burditt. “We are working to streamline the budget process and have an adopted budget and financial plan two months earlier than last year, putting us in a better position to forecast finances”.

Key projects funded in the 2022 budget include Annex Dike upgrades, active transportation network improvements, wastewater upgrades and remediation, transportation network rehabilitation, and facility and IT upgrades.