Islands Trust Budgets

bike's picture

Thank you to Peter Johnston for publicly showing us all that one specific part of the information I sent out in a recent mailer was incorrect.

My assertion that the Islands Trust budget went up by 25% was completely incorrect.  I apologize for not understanding the difference between the TOTAL budget and the Property Tax Levy.  I sure won't make that mistake again!  I've included my math below.

I looked at what Peter wrote on March 31 and now that I understanding this difference, I see that he did point this out about 5/6 of the way down but he didn't compare these 2022/23 numbers with the previous year's numbers;  in other words, he didn't show the actual increases.

At the April Islands Trust Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting that our two Trustees attended with the current Chair of the entire Islands Trust, Peter Luckham, I questioned each of them why they voted for a budget increase despite 80% of residents stating that we wanted NO increase (and 49% stating that we want a decrease).  All three Trustees repeatedly answered by saying this was misinformation but never actually said what they thought was correct information.  In fact, Chair Luckham (from Thetis Island) said that the Islands Trust website had the correct numbers, but again, didn't tell us what they were.

I suspect that he also looked up the survey results after that meeting because the 49% of residents wanting a decrease in the budget and 80% of residents wanting NO increase was indeed on the Islands Trust website.  Coincidentally, he resigned as Chair of our LTC and hasn't returned to Lasqueti since.

And now that I've looked at the Islands Trust budget for the past two years, I see that they have been taking significant amounts of money out of 3 different (slush) funds:

In 2021/22
Transfer from General Revenue Surplus Fund $373,660
Transfer from Local Trust Committee Project Specific Reserve Fund $204,000
Transfer from Special Tax Requisition Fund $80,000

and in 2022/23
Transfer from General Revenue Surplus Fund $183,500
Transfer from Local Trust Committee Project Reserve Fund $143,600
Transfer from Special Tax Requisition Fund $68,400

I have no idea when and how these funds were created in the first place, since there is no line item for adding to them in either of the last two year's budgets (the first, General Revenue Surplus Fund, sounds like the accumulation of unspent money from a previous budget year), but it also seems like a sleight-of-hand trick to avoid showing what the real increases are. 

If these funds weren't used, the only other place to find this money would be our Property Taxes (this year, that would have increased our Property Taxes by 8.8%!), which means when the funds run out, we're in for a big surprise!  If we don't shrink this government first...

So despite my former misunderstanding, I continue to stand for Trustee and to shrink the Islands Trust.  The 1994/95 Islands Trust budget was $2.9 million; in 29 years, it has increased 321%!

Thank you for bringing this to our attention and approving this posting without holding on to it until a rebuttal is ready.

Dave Olsen
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Here's how I did my math, taking each of the first 4 lines from the Islands Trust budget that is published online:

2021/22 General Property Tax Levy - All LTAs     $7,079,771
2021/22 TOTAL OPERATING + CAPITAL EXPENSES $9,093,119

2022/23 General Property Tax Levy - All LTAs $7,309,863
2022/23 TOTAL OPERATING, PROJECTS + CAPITAL EXPENSES $9,302,357

Increase in Property Tax Levy: ($7,309,863 - $7,079,771)/$7,079,771 = 3.25%
Increase in TOTAL Budget: ($9,302,357 - $9,093,119)/$9,093,119 = 2.3%

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