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Budget Blitz

Updated: May 26, 2023

Budget and Tax Rate Bylaws Must be Adopted by Friday


Nowhere has the procedural quagmire that Lions Bay Council has been mired in since the beginning of its term become more evident than in the budget process. In British Columbia, municipalities must annually adopt a financial plan in accordance with the Local Government Act and the Community Charter, prior to May 15 each year. Which means that this year, all village budget decisions must be made by this Friday.


Municipal Consultant Randy Diehl confirms this timeline. When asked about the consequences of missing this deadline, he said: "The tax rate must be set by May 15. This is a hard deadline. I have never seen a municipality miss this date."


Back at the February 21 meeting of council, newly appointed Acting CAO Ron Miller indicated that a draft budget was "basically ready to be presented to council in the next week or two." However, the budget was in fact not presented to council until the first Committee Meeting of the Whole on May 4, and posted on the website for public perusal on May 5.


A series of hastily-called meetings has been announced to hash through the budget in the past week. As reported in The Watershed, the first Committee Meeting of the Whole took place on May 4. The two final meetings are now slated to take place on Thursday May 11 at 5 p.m. and Friday May 12 at 7 p.m. Three readings of the proposed budget and tax rate by-law are due to take place on Thursday, with final readings of both on Friday. As of this printing, neither posted agenda reflects a public participation element, which public meetings are required to include. Newly elected Councillor Jaime Cunliffe has not yet been sworn in, and so will not be party to the budget decision-making.


Residents are expressing their frustration to The Watershed with both the speed of and the lack of sufficient notification in the process. "I monitored the village website until after 1 p.m. on Tuesday," said resident Norma Rodgers. "I thought there was no way they could call a meeting with less than 24 hours notice, but sure enough, a meeting was held at 4 p.m., and I missed it."


"I've set up an alert on my phone to let me know if there is a new meeting date announced on the website," wrote resident Christine Little. "It's the only sure way to know if a meeting has been called, since there have been no notifications in the Village Update."


Last Chance for Budget Questions This Week


Residents were told last week that their feedback was welcome via an email address posted to the website along with the budget. The initial address was printed with a typo, and later corrected to read budget@lionsbay.ca . A test of this email address by The Watershed received a confirmation from Controller Joe Chirkoff that the address is working.


If resident feedback has indeed been received, none of it has been offered for discussion thus far in the process, beyond the question asked by resident Tamara Leger at the first budget discussion on May 4. The final opportunity for resident questions or concerns to be raised will be at the meetings on Thursday and Friday.


Follow The Watershed as we cover budget developments as they happen. We value your opinion! Leave your comments below, or email your thoughts to editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca




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Norm B
Norm B
May 11, 2023

The budget has some gremlins but also very ambitious capital spending projections.

It is based on receiving 100% grants which don’t exist. We might expect to get grants for 50-75% but we’d certainly need to contribute 25-50% ourselves. The budget should reflect our contribution to these capital projects and where that money is coming from; either a levy, taxation, borrowing, or reserves. There are no 100% grants, it’s not realistic and it’s misleading.

it would also be good to understand what capital projects are projected to get done.

Grants take significant time and resources to apply for, and that sunk cost also needs to be budgeted for, because applying doesn’t mean we’ll get it…..but we”d still have to fund the…

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Well said Norm, this coming from a past councillor who can see what’s really happening, and the misinformation coming from this CAO. He spoke at Tuesdays meeting and said we can get 100% grants next year clearly unaware of the Grant process and time involved to write and complete with over 180 cities, municipalities and villages all competing for limited government funding, we have lost all staff with Grant writing capabilities.

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Reading this, I am just stunned at how hasty and unprepared this entire process has been. What's alarming as well to me, and as noted by KC in this article, public meetings are required as part of this process. Here we are with a few days to go and when is that going to happen? Thursday and Friday of this week?


I've taken a quick review of the posted 2023 Version 2 Prelim budget. I've noted a few variances between 2022 and 2023 - namely a 6.4% increase in taxes, 7% increases in infrastructure levy, and a 5% increase in utility fees and rates. I've also noticed a reduction in the water fund annual expenditure at 6.2% in the proposed…


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This is what happens when you hire inexperienced staff without any municipal experience and have never worked with the local government act or the Community Charter. What we have hear is the blind leading the blind, in the past years the Tax Rate Bylaw ( Mill Rate) along with the Financial Statements were presented to council months in advance so both council and the public had plenty of time to review and digest changes if necessary. Now we are down to the wire and still nothing. If CAO Miller spent more time in the office earning the Ten thousand a month for two days a week we are paying him we might, just might, have had this done month…

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Having watched the "eleventh hour" budget meeting this afternoon, I think we should all have concerns. It was obvious that two of the Councillors were unhappy with the budget as it stands, so abstained from the vote. It has to be passed by May 15th to avoid a huge fine, so their hands were tied.

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As Jaime Cunliffe was elected, and is an experienced council member, can anyone explain why she is not included in the budget discussions? Maybe I missed something?

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Hi Rod,

See my response to Dave Butler above. I watched the meeting today, and Neville Abbott who, as you point out, has experience with budgets, was clearly unhappy with it as was Marcus Reuter. They both abstained from voting, but that does not stop it going through . Because it has to be passed by law by May 15th, to avoid a huge fine, their hands were tied.

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