By Korie Marshall

It is income tax season, but it also budget time – the federal and provincial governments have both released their budgets, and municipal governments are busy working on theirs.

Valemount Council has held the first two preliminary budget meetings, where staff shows them at a high level where things from last year’s budget came under, which things were over budget, which projects are on the go or currently planned, and what that might mean for the budget. Currently among items in the plan are updates to the Official Community Plan; boundary expansion study; geothermal strategy; upstream water intake study; a study on the cost of implementing water meters and which type; a number of repairs and renovations, like repairing the Public Works shop floor, the Community Hall ramp, the retaining wall on Karas Drive, and installing an emergency power system for the Village office; and some purchases like a trackless sweeper and a sewer pumper truck for Public Works.

According to BC’s Community Charter, municipalities must adopt a five-year financial plan before May 15 each year. And as the plan has to pass a number of readings, plus be discussed at a public budget meeting, they have to start early. Staff will bring the budget bylaw to Council for first and second reading next week, March 11, followed by a special public meeting currently scheduled for April 2, and then third and fourth readings.

At the public preliminary meetings, Councillor Hollie Blanchette wondered what could be done to get people out to the meetings. She and Councillor Sandy Salt both agreed that it is important to get people’s feedback, to see how members of the community feel about projects now, when it is financial planning time.