By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 22, 2014
If the planning department’s account ledger is any indication, then our town’s economy may be on the mend.
Development services at the district almost doubled its revenue this year, as people queued up to pay their business licence, rezoning, land application and special event fees.
In 2012, the development services brought in $391, 843. In 2013, that revenue had increased to more than $600,000.
At a recent budget meeting, the planning department staff told the council that revenue could have been more if it wasn’t for lower fees.
According to staff, the fees are about 50 per cent lower than other communities. The staff recommended increasing the fees.
“An increase in fees would reduce the taxation burden and should happen this year,” the staff said.
Thanks to dogs, bylaw enforcement also did a brisk business. By the end of 2012, the bylaw department was richer by $46,150 because of dog licences.
They had already crossed that target by the middle of this year. By Sept. 30 this year, the bylaw department had pulled in $52,000.
The bylaw department also issued more tickets this year, bringing in more revenue as a result. In 2012, for example, bylaw collected $2,205 in ticketing revenue. By Sept. 20 of last year, they had collected $5,485 in fines.
But if a few district departments increased revenues, there were more expenses with new departments.
Economic development, while not a legislated council duty, has been a council priority. In 2012, the economic development department spent $214,226, including salaries and other expenses.
Salary for EDO and his secretary accounted for $124,507, while a raft of other economic development programs brought the final tab to $214, 226.
Squamish Business Counts program cost the tax payers $23,356, while marketing, design and promotion of economic development programs cost another $15, 148.
In 2010, the district of Squamish also filled a communication position, which will cost the tax payers approx. $200,000.
The district also hired a new film and even coordinator, a position that is expected to cost the tax payers $85,648.
Transit services added a $1.3 million burden on the tax payer, but brought in only $190, 078.