Victoria, BC–- A preliminary Financial Plan for 2018 approved by the Capital Regional District (CRD) Board is now available on the CRD website for public review and feedback. The plan reflects and responds to a strong and vibrant economy, as evidenced by a surge of development and population growth in the capital region.
The CRD Board held two Committee of the Whole meetings to carefully review details, make suggestions, debate changes and ensure agreement on the process and outcomes. After consideration and input from the Board, the preliminary Financial Plan was approved with amendments to reduce overall requisition for regional and some sub-regional services.
Various external forces influence the preliminary CRD Financial Plan including inflation, interest rate changes and utility costs such as electricity, natural gas, and fuel. Impacts on CRD activity include the need for new capital investment, infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, and a continued focus on maintaining service levels while advancing Board priorities.
The CRD, Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) and Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) financial plans combine to form a consolidated budget. The proposed consolidated operating portion ($295 million) will pay for a range of regional services and sub-services to over 383,000 people in the region. In addition, the proposed consolidated capital portion targets $272 million in projects. The CRD preliminary Financial Plan is unique for each municipality, electoral area and First Nation as each participates in a different set of services. An overview is available in the attached 2018 Consolidated Budget Overview.
The operating portion of the preliminary CRD Financial Plan pays for the daily business of the CRD, including labour, supplies, programs, services and repayment of debt for major projects. For 2018, the operating portion includes revenues and expenditures of $247 million, an increase of $9 million or 3.7% compared to the 2017 CRD Financial Plan.
This increase reflects the scope and scale required for working within complex regulatory and legislative frameworks while managing changes related to environmental monitoring; reporting related to liquid and solid waste management; discharges and emissions; operations and site safety; cyber security; and internal performance measures. It is also driven by Board priorities and community needs identified in corporate and service planning.
For 2018, revenue from sale of services make up nearly half (47%) of the CRD’s operating revenue, while requisition makes up approximately 26%. The balance is funded from a variety of other revenue sources including grants.
The capital portion of the preliminary CRD Financial Plan pays for new and enhanced infrastructure. This includes acquisition of buildings and facilities as well as construction and upgrades to assets. For 2018, the capital portion includes revenues and expenditures of $213 million, an increase of $54.8 million (34.6%) compared to the 2017 CRD Financial Plan. The Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project accounts for $135 million (63%) of capital expenditures as construction activities continue. A list of significant capital projects is available in the attached CRD Major Capital Projects.
- The Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project will see significant construction activities in 2018. The project will take advantage of significant contributions totaling more than $450 million from the federal and provincial governments as work proceeds. The CRD continues to support implementation of core area wastewater treatment by increasing the requisition to $25 million ($5 million increase) for participating municipalities. This follows a 2013 Board decision to budget for incremental increases to reduce overall interest expense, reduce ongoing annual debt servicing costs and provide sufficient funding for capital and operating costs.
- Renewing and improving drinking water and wastewater infrastructure for the region’s urban centres and local service areas continues in 2018. Activities include the upgrading of the drinking water disinfection plant for the Regional Water Supply System and Juan de Fuca Water Distribution System upgrades.
- The Board has approved the 2018 Regional Water Supply wholesale water rate of $0.6644 per cubic metre as recommended by the Regional Water Supply Commission, which is a 4.22% increase over the 2017 rate.
- Managing natural areas and ensuring access to parks and trails will remain a priority as the CRD continues development of the E&N Rail Trail, a new cycling and pedestrian trail largely within the E&N rail corridor. The CRD Board has agreed to borrow up to $6.1 million to complete an additional 2.3 km of trail by 2019, which will provide residents and visitors with a 13.8 km continuous route from Westshore communities to Victoria. The CRD also continues to collect about $20 per average residential household assessment resulting in $3.7 million annually for park land acquisition.
- Construction of a unified 911 call answer and police dispatch centre is now underway and borrowing costs for construction will be funded from existing revenue streams. When complete, the centre will meet post-disaster standards and accommodate consolidated services that benefit residents across the region.
- Subject to a UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund grant, a proposed expansion of SEAPARC in 2018 would add 5200 square feet of fitness and multi-purpose space to the leisure complex in Sooke.
- The CRHD Financial Plan includes $51.2 million for continued development of health-related infrastructure, including The Summit at Quadra Village, a 320 unit complex residential and dementia care facility. Construction of the facility is currently underway.
The CRD follows a four-year planning cycle to ensure alignment with the local government election cycle. The CRD’s multi-year financial plans establish a longer-term perspective of the allocation of resources required to deliver the programs and services needed by the community, and to accomplish Board priorities.
Financial plans are the products of a rigorous strategic, corporate and financial planning process spanning many months, starting in May of the preceding year. Service plans drive the financial planning process and provide necessary information to evaluate overall organizational requirements, new initiatives, proposed service levels and implications for the budget and financial plan.
Under the direction provided by the Board, the Electoral Area Services Committee reviews and recommends all electoral area-only service budgets, including the review of Local Service Commission budgets. This process includes a significant amount of work undertaken by many commissioners who volunteer their services in the Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island and Juan de Fuca electoral areas.
The preliminary 2018 CRD Financial Plan is subject to change prior to final approval by the Board in March. Feedback can be provided via email. Comments will be correlated and provided to the Board as part of the budget approval process.
To review details and provide feedback, please visit www.crd.bc.ca/about/financial-accountability/budget-in-brief.
The CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at www.crd.bc.ca.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications