Budget 2021

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The City of Fernie's Draft 2021 Budget is now available for review. Please click on the links under "Important Information" on the right-hand side of this page to review the presentations made to Council, and to review the "Budget at a Glance".


Understanding the Municipal Budget

What is a Municipal Budget? Municipalities are required to prepare a balanced budget each year, and we cannot incur a deficit to fund day-to-day operations. In order to balance the budget, a careful analysis must be done regarding the level of service required to meet the expectations and needs of the community balanced against realistic taxation and user fee levels.

How was the Draft 2021 Budget developed? To address the consequences of years of organizational change, gaps in policy and practice, and rising costs - compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic - the City of Fernie began a detailed analysis of its financial position in the fall of 2020 in anticipation of the 2021 budget cycle. The first step was to have a clear understanding of current conditions. The following factors form part of the backdrop to the development of the 2021 budget (i.e., Financial Plan):

  • In 2020, Council directed staff to pursue a zero-percent tax increase to support taxpayers and the significant challenges caused by the pandemic. This led to temporary reductions in some service levels, including reductions in planned capital spending.
  • Years of turnover and vacancies in critical senior management roles, including Finance, resulted in gaps in reporting and inconsistent processes - leading to inefficiencies and escalating costs.
  • Significant increase in contractual costs.
  • 5 - 7 years of incomplete and unreliable financial information, and inconsistent and unexamined corporate wide processes, policies, procedures, etc.
  • Impact of repayment of new short-term borrowing.
  • Years-long practice of funding operational expenditures from capital reserves leading to insufficient investment in infrastructure.

Back to Basics Budgeting

With key positions filled and a good understanding of our current financial position, the City has initiated a Back to Basics budget and work plan for 2021, based on the following viability, safety and health priorities, listed in order:

  1. Legal/statutory obligation/contracts
  2. Immediate life/safety concern
  3. Repair or remediation of failing infrastructure
  4. Protect existing infrastructure
  5. Replace outdated policies, processes, bylaws
  6. Efficiency gains
  7. Maintain existing service
  8. Increase revenues
  9. Reduce operating costs and liabilities

Council is taking a blended approach to address an estimated $546,000 shortfall and deliver a balanced budget. This includes:

  • 4% increase in municipal taxes
  • Reductions to the Operating and Capital plans
  • Reductions to transfers to reserves
  • Reductions to expenses in areas that do not affect service delivery levels
  • 20% decrease in operational grant funding to community partners

More information is available under the "Additional Information" links on the right-hand side of this page.

Have Your Say

Fernie residents are invited to provide feedback on the proposed budget by completing the feedback form below, or by sending an email to letstalk@fernie.ca with the subject line "Budget 2021". Comments can also be sent by mail or dropped off at City Hall:

City Hall
501 3rd Avenue
Box 190
Fernie, BC V0B1M0


Public comments will be received until April 7, 2021 and presented to Council on April 8th.

The City of Fernie's Draft 2021 Budget is now available for review. Please click on the links under "Important Information" on the right-hand side of this page to review the presentations made to Council, and to review the "Budget at a Glance".


Understanding the Municipal Budget

What is a Municipal Budget? Municipalities are required to prepare a balanced budget each year, and we cannot incur a deficit to fund day-to-day operations. In order to balance the budget, a careful analysis must be done regarding the level of service required to meet the expectations and needs of the community balanced against realistic taxation and user fee levels.

How was the Draft 2021 Budget developed? To address the consequences of years of organizational change, gaps in policy and practice, and rising costs - compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic - the City of Fernie began a detailed analysis of its financial position in the fall of 2020 in anticipation of the 2021 budget cycle. The first step was to have a clear understanding of current conditions. The following factors form part of the backdrop to the development of the 2021 budget (i.e., Financial Plan):

  • In 2020, Council directed staff to pursue a zero-percent tax increase to support taxpayers and the significant challenges caused by the pandemic. This led to temporary reductions in some service levels, including reductions in planned capital spending.
  • Years of turnover and vacancies in critical senior management roles, including Finance, resulted in gaps in reporting and inconsistent processes - leading to inefficiencies and escalating costs.
  • Significant increase in contractual costs.
  • 5 - 7 years of incomplete and unreliable financial information, and inconsistent and unexamined corporate wide processes, policies, procedures, etc.
  • Impact of repayment of new short-term borrowing.
  • Years-long practice of funding operational expenditures from capital reserves leading to insufficient investment in infrastructure.

Back to Basics Budgeting

With key positions filled and a good understanding of our current financial position, the City has initiated a Back to Basics budget and work plan for 2021, based on the following viability, safety and health priorities, listed in order:

  1. Legal/statutory obligation/contracts
  2. Immediate life/safety concern
  3. Repair or remediation of failing infrastructure
  4. Protect existing infrastructure
  5. Replace outdated policies, processes, bylaws
  6. Efficiency gains
  7. Maintain existing service
  8. Increase revenues
  9. Reduce operating costs and liabilities

Council is taking a blended approach to address an estimated $546,000 shortfall and deliver a balanced budget. This includes:

  • 4% increase in municipal taxes
  • Reductions to the Operating and Capital plans
  • Reductions to transfers to reserves
  • Reductions to expenses in areas that do not affect service delivery levels
  • 20% decrease in operational grant funding to community partners

More information is available under the "Additional Information" links on the right-hand side of this page.

Have Your Say

Fernie residents are invited to provide feedback on the proposed budget by completing the feedback form below, or by sending an email to letstalk@fernie.ca with the subject line "Budget 2021". Comments can also be sent by mail or dropped off at City Hall:

City Hall
501 3rd Avenue
Box 190
Fernie, BC V0B1M0


Public comments will be received until April 7, 2021 and presented to Council on April 8th.

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Please review the "Important Information" on the survey's main page for details on the draft 2021 budget and financial plan.

    This survey will be available until April 7, 2021. 

    Complete Form
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Page last updated: 28 March 2021, 15:38