It is budget season, and determining what a budget will include is one of the most important decisions Council must make during the year. Developing this budget requires making difficult decisions between funding essential services, supporting operational and infrastructure demands, and balancing those with the growing needs and wants of the community.
The City of Terrace has always been a strong supporter of economic diversification in the region including the LNG Canada project. Now that construction is underway on this massive project in Kitimat, Terrace is faced with the challenge of mitigating the impacts. The increased economic development, while beneficial to some local businesses, is not generating any revenue for the City of Terrace and is placing unprecedented demands on our capacity to maintain service levels and manage growth-related pressure on key infrastructure.
As the service and supply centre for the Northwest region, Terrace serves as the business and social services hub for the surrounding area. There has been a significant influx of people into our community due to the increased economic development in the region. As a result, Terrace is experiencing increased levels of homelessness, vagrancy, and criminal activity. According to statistics from LNG Canada’s Social Management Roundtable, “In Terrace, RCMP received an 18% increase in Q3 total calls for service and experienced a 37% increase in Q3 total crime incidents (e.g. offenses against person or property, drug offenses, motor vehicle offenses) between 2018 and 2019.” Our protective service departments are stretched beyond their limits dealing with increasing incidents of social issues and criminal activity.
You are seeing many effects of this in your daily life. Council has had considerable feedback from community groups and members of the public over the past year with suggestions about what is needed to make Terrace the best it can be during these changing times. City staff and Council want you to know that we are considering all feedback and that we hear your concerns.
Council has been advocating on behalf of the community to both the Province and LNG Canada for capacity funding to support the operational and infrastructure pressures generated during the construction of the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink pipeline projects.
We will be continuing that advocacy during 2020 and beyond but until we receive capacity funding from the Province or industry, our only option to generate revenue is increased taxation on our residents and business owners.
The LNG Canada project is unprecedented in size, and its impacts on our community are also unprecedented. The City of Terrace requires unprecedented support from the Province and LNG Canada so our community is not bearing an unfair burden as a result of the project.
On December 17, 2019, city staff will present the first draft of the 2020 budget to Council for consideration in a meeting that is open to the public. This budget includes an 8% tax increase* in 2020. To the average household this will result in an increase of $120 annually—$10 per month. Of this increase, 5.5% is directly attributable to pressures from increased economic activity in the region, with the remaining 2.5% resulting from increases to regular operational expenses.
Key points in the draft 2020 budget to be presented include:
- Enhancing the Bylaw Compliance Department with the focus of being more proactive in the downtown core.
- One additional municipal RCMP officer to support the increased call volume the Terrace Detachment is experiencing.
- Two additional Firefighters to ensure sustainable operations for the Fire Department.
- A Parks Supervisor position to respond to increased demands in our parks and public spaces.
- A temporary increase to administration capacity to assist staff in managing the impacts of LNG Canada.
- The City will be using a portion of the $8.197 million Northern Capital Planning Grant received from the Province in 2019 to offset capital project costs in 2020.
We will be updating this page with key budget 2020 documents as they become available.
*Update: The draft budget presented at the December 17, 2019, meeting included a proposed 7.4% tax increase, down from the original 8% proposed increase that was first announced.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
We welcome and appreciate public participation in our budget process. There are a number of ways to take part through each step.
December 17, 2019 – 2020 draft budget presentation
On December 17 at 5:00 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall, staff will be presenting the first draft of the 2020 budget to Council for their consideration. This meeting is open to the public for observation but public feedback will not be taken during the meeting. Space is limited in Council Chambers so the meeting will also be livestreamed on www.terrace.ca as well as on our Facebook page. Video will also be available on our website following the meeting.
From now until January 15, 2020 – Send us your written feedback
Provide written feedback on the draft budget to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also write us at
3215 Eby Street
Terrace, BC V8G 2X8
Attention: Budget 2020
Please ensure that any email or written feedback includes your full name and address as it will form part of the public record. Due to this requirement, comments received via social media will not be considered an official submission. All written feedback will be collected for Council’s consideration.
January 16, 2020, 7:00 pm – Attend the public consultation
Join us on January 16 at 7:00 pm in the Sportsplex Banquet Room. If you would like to speak directly to Council regarding the 2020 budget, bring your feedback to this meeting to be included on the speaker’s list.
January 27, 2020, 12 noon – 2020 draft budget approval
On January 27 at 12:00 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall, Council will deliberate and approve the 2020 draft budget. This meeting is open to the public for observation but public feedback will not be taken during the meeting. Space is limited in Council Chambers so the meeting will also be livestreamed on www.terrace.ca as well as on our Facebook page. Video will also be available on our website following the meeting.
March 2020, TBA – 2020 final budget adoption
The final budget adoption will take place in March 2020. The date and time will be confirmed at a later date.
We will post more documents, including the draft budget, as they become available.