RDCK budget meeting lightly attended but much to discuss

Library funding, new financial system and taxation all up for discussion

A public meeting regarding the 2013 budget and five year financial plan of Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Areas “I”, “J” and the City of Castlegar, was lightly attended but still resulted in important lines of communication being strengthened.

Rob Trickey and Jean Borsa, treasurer and chair on the board of directors for the Castlegar and District Public Library joined with library director Heather Maisel, in opening a dialogue regarding the change from one per cent to two per cent in RDCK funding for the library.

RDCK directors Andy Davidoff (Area “I”) and Gordon Zaitsoff (Area “J” ), joined RDCK’s Grant Roeland, CFO, and Brian Carruthers, CAO, at the meeting.

After a brief presentation by Trickey, outlining the library’s strategic plan for the next three years, and acknowledging how grateful they were for any level of funding, director Davidoff got straight to the heart of the matter.

“We held the line at one per cent across the board in 2012,” said Davidoff.

He and other members of the RDCK went on to explain the library would have had to make a formal presentation to the RDCK during budget consultations, making its best case as to why the same two per cent level of funding would be needed.

Borsa said the library board would not neglect to approach the budget consultations in the future.

She added that library personnel do excellent work in applying for and receiving grants; making good use of the funds on a “skinny budget.”

The 2012 annual report for the library has a thank you to its core funders: the City of Castlegar, the RDCK and the Libraries and Literacy Branch.

One of the other important details the RDCK wanted to publicly convey, was the change to a new financial business system that Roeland said embraces detailed project costing. The new proprietary software should allow for more organizational analysis and better identification of inefficiencies.

With a $60 million budget to oversee, Davidoff said the RDCK wants to enhance services and operate as efficiently as possible, while at the same time holding the line on taxation.

“We take a pretty technical and analytical approach, but we want to understand and then help,” said Davidoff.

Financial statements and property tax rates by area, can be seen at:  www.rdck.bc.ca/publicinfo/rdck_budget_info.html