By Val Rossi – Trail Daily Times
Published: March 28, 2012 4:00 PM
Recreation doesn’t come cheap in B.C.’s No. 1 sports town, if a look at Trail’s draft budget is any indication.
The city’s budget is set to jump up by 2.55 per cent this year ($269,550) to $10.86 million from $10.58 million last year, with recreation counting for nearly 45 per cent of the total increase, city administrator David Perehudoff presented in council chambers Monday night.
This works out to an overall property tax hike of $20 – $794 in 2012 from $774 in 2011 – for an average residential home with an assessment of approximately $184,000.
“Definitely we’re seeing a slight decline in (rec) revenue so our user fees are sort of trending slightly downwards and then over and above that we’re dealing with the overall costs associated with the various facilities,” explained Perehudoff. “We’re seeing increases as facilities age, as we try to keep the service levels consistent and we’re just having to dedicate more resources as a result.”
The Trail Memorial Centre tops off as the most costly recreational facility to operate at $1.3 million, with about 27 per cent costs recovered, while the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre isn’t far behind with $1 million attached to annual operations (39 per cent cost recovery).
“Historically we basically would not charge anything for the use of our parks and it is a little bit contradictory compared to what we charge at the arena for example,” said Perehudoff. “Council has discussed this and we haven’t dealt with it this year but there may be a need to look at a more aggressive fee structure in (field) sports in the future.”
Just over 70 per cent of recreation is financed through taxation with revenue picking up the remainder of the bill.
User fees are projected to drop to $919,000 from the 2011 total of $939,000, but Perehudoff said this is no indication that a dual-fee structure implemented in 2009 under the Trail Residency Program is hitting the city’s pocket book.
“I think that it would be pretty hard to draw that conclusion,” he said. “I think that we did see more of a decline a couple years ago but we have seen a bit of a bounce back.”
Beyond recreation, city transportation services were the second largest expenditure – counting for 32 per cent of this year’s budget increase. Perehudoff attributes this to maintenance programs, with more money, for example, allocated toward snow removal.
This year’s budget will be advanced at the city’s next meeting for the first three readings and adopted on May 14.