District adopts 2011 budget

There has been some belt-tightening at the North Okanagan Regional District.

On Wednesday, directors adopted the 2011 financial plan, which sees a 0.20 per cent decrease in the total tax requisition in the region.

“That’s reduced from the previous forecast of a 1.1 per cent increase,” said David Sewell, finance general manager.

The 0.20 per cent decrease in taxation means $37,997 less is being collected than in 2010.

Each community is requisitioned taxes based on services it receives from NORD, and that varies.

In fact, the budget impact can change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood depending on what services are in place such as street lights and recycling.

As part of the 2011 budget, the contribution to Wesbild Centre reserves will be reduced by $195,000 while Enderby has been removed from the animal control and cemetery services because the city now provides those services on its own.

The grant for Okanagan Symphony has been reduced from $9,000 to $6,000 because approval to increase funding has not been granted by the Ministry of Community Development in Victoria yet.

Funding of $60,000 from reserves will go towards a picnic shelter at Lavington’s Centennial Park while capital expenditures have been increased to reflect the final costs of the Greater Vernon  landfill expansion.

While the budget was adopted, director Wayne Lippert questions why there wasn’t an opportunity for public input on the financial plan.

“There’s so much mystery about the regional district and how it works,” he said.

“A (input) meeting may not get a lot of people out but they would have a better understanding of how the system works.”

It was suggested that various committees, such as Greater Vernon advisory, can hold input sessions.

“All of our financial plan meetings have been held in the public and meet the requirements of the Local Government Act,” said Sewell.

“The process we followed this year is the same we’ve followed since I’ve been here (three years).”