Municipal Budget Information

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. 

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.

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. District staff are available to answer questions, distribute your feedback to Council, and provide clarity. 

In general, the annual budget process is as follows:

  • August: All Departments submit proposed Budgets
  • August-Sept: Detailed Budget Review by CFO, CAO, and each Department 
  • October/November: First Budget Meeting*
  • January: Second Budget Meeting*
  • January/February: Public Consultation* (Open Houses, Feedback Forms, Presentations)
  • March: Final Budget Meeting* – authorization to prepare Financial Plan and Annual Tax Rates Bylaw based on Budget discussions
  • April: Introduce Five-Year Financial Plan and Annual Tax Rate Bylaws*
  • Before May 15th: Adoption of Bylaws*; submit to Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

*All meetings are open to the public and advertised in advance.

Sign up for District Emails or follow us on  Facebook  or   Twitter to receive notifications about District Meetings. 

FAQ

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 is funded by taxation, the majority of revenue is coming from grants at 44%

What is Tofino's expected tax increase going to be this year?

The draft 2019 budget calls for increases in all three areas of expenditures, as follows:

  • General municipal operations budget is proposed to increase by 2%, as it generally has in previous years. This accounts for rising costs of fuel, hydro, materials and supply inventory, equipment, professional fees, wages and benefits and other operating costs.
  • Debt-servicing will be increased in 2019 by just over $67,000 to account for two new sources of debt: the wastewater treatment project, and a BC Housing loan guarantee required to enable the Tofino Housing Corporation to borrow $353,780 for the development of affordable housing at DL114.
  • The C&I Levy is proposed to increase by 4.3% in 2019. This increase is part of a steady and measured rise in saving for infrastructure replacement to bring the municipality to a stable long-term position of being able manage our infrastructure without sudden shocks to the taxpayer. Many municipalities, the District of Tofino included, have recently begun Asset Management programs to manage municipal assets and make better investment decisions. The program relies on accurate information about the state of our roads, pipes, buildings and other assets, and is similar to a homeowner saving up a little bit each year to replace the roof on their house, or ensuring that you’ve saved up enough to cover the costs of fixing your brakes when they wear down.

Together, the increases in these three areas will result in a change from 2018 taxation of $4.32M, to $4.64M in 2019, which is a 7.4% increase.

Keep in mind - when municipal property taxes go up by 7.4%, it does not mean that your tax bill will increase by 7.4%.

Learn more: Understanding Property Taxes

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 this municipality 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. Together with the Capital and Infrastructure Levy increases (forecast at approximately 4% each year until 2023 when the reserves stabilize to a sufficient level) and the other projects that Tofino Council is planning for, such as the possibility of a new recreation facility, the proposed 2019-2023 Financial Plan shows increases as follows:

  • 2020: 9.28% 

  • 2021: 23.05% 

  • 2022: 4.03% 

  • 2023: 3.90% 

These amounts may change, for example if projects such as the recreation facility do not go forward or are delayed.

The only changes that are certain in any given year are those of the current year, i.e., the 2019 increase will be confirmed and the remaining four years discussed in detail again as each year passes.

Why is the increase 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 the public involved?

The process of draft budget review and debate is held in meetings open to the public, with opportunities for the public to provide comments and feedback throughout. 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. District staff are available to answer questions, distribute your feedback to Council, and provide clarity. 

In general, the annual budget process is as follows:

  • August: All Departments submit proposed Budgets
  • August-Sept: Detailed Budget Review by CFO, CAO, and each Department 
  • October/November: First Budget Meeting*
  • January: Second Budget Meeting*
  • January/February: Public Consultation (Open Houses, Feedback Forms, Presentations)
  • March: Final Budget Meeting* – authorization to prepare Financial Plan and Annual Tax Rates Bylaw based on Budget discussions
  • April: Introduce Five-Year Financial Plan and Annual Tax Rate Bylaws*
  • Before May 15th: Adoption of Bylaws*; submit to Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

*All meetings are open to the public and advertised in advance.

Sign up for District Emails or follow us on  Facebook  or   Twitter to receive notifications about District Meetings.

2019 BUDGET

The following information has been compiled to address major themes in the public feedback received about the 2019-2023 Financial Plan and 2019 Municipal Budget.

Questions and feedback included: 

  • How are projects like the MUP extension funded?
  • How much is the total municipal budget?
  • Where do tax dollars go that are collected for infrastructure (the C&I Levy)?
  • Does a 7.4% tax increase mean my taxes will increase by 7.4%?

For more information or to ask questions about anything you see in this presentation, please feel free to contact us:

Nyla Attiana
Director of Financial Services
(E) nattiana@tofino.ca
(T) 250-725-3229

LEARN MORE:

To help you answer your questions and provide a fulsome picture of Tofino's Five Year Financial Plan, we've created the "2019 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