2020 Taxation Reduced 19% over 2019 due to Economic Impacts of COVID-19
Community Resiliency Top of Mind in Revised Budget
On April 30, 2020, Council directed staff to move forward with a revised Budget and Financial Plan which included immediate cost-saving measures while ensuring core and essential services remain available to the community now and in future years.
The 2020 municipal budget has been reduced by 19% over the previous year by deferring or removing many non-essential projects and expenditures funded by taxation, reducing staffing and service levels, and funding the Capital and Infrastructure Levy from previous years' surplus.
Examples of deferred or cancelled projects and expenditures include:
- Community Hall kitchen upgrades removed from 5 year plan;
- Significant reductions in all Council and staff travel and training budgets, with the exception of training required to maintain certification or professional designations;
- Fire Department duty officer vehicle removed from the 5 year plan;
- Drainage condition assessment deferred to 2021;
- 2020 cultural initiatives budget reduced.
In addition, staffing and service levels have been reduced as a result of a reduced demand - think recreation services, public washrooms, and childcare. The District has suspended hiring of all temporary positions in 2020 and delayed hiring of essential service positions to late 2020 or 2021.
- 2020 Budget reductions;
- Utility rate freeze in 2020;
- No taxation used to fund Capital and Infrastructure Levy in 2020; and reduced in further years of the plan;
- Late payment penalties for property taxes postponed to October 1, 2020;
- Funds from the District's Financial Stability Reserve used to cover emergency response and water utilities.
Understanding the Municipal Budget
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.
|Third Budget Meeting
|Council met with Management to review the District budget in light of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To understand the changes to the District Budget, click here.|
|Fourth Budget Meeting||Council authorized staff to prepare Tax Rate and Financial Plan bylaws. See the April 30th Budget Meeting Presentation.|
What is Next in the Process:
|Adoption of Financial Plan & Annual Tax Rate Bylaws||May 12th Regular Meeting|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recreation Facility Grant Denial
The District’s current Financial Plan included 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 have removed this project from the District’s Financial Plan, and are surveying the community to understand the best ways to provide recreation opportunities for residents moving forward.
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%.
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.
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 "Tofino Tax Guide" with information about our priorities, challenges, and plans for the next five years. This guide will be 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