City of Vernon. (File photo)

City of Vernon. (File photo)

New planning staff bumps up Vernon tax rate

Two new positions alleviate backlog, staff burnout

Vernon council looks to increase turnaround time in its planning department by adding two new staffers and extending another’s contract.

Coun. Akbal Mund brought the motion forward during the March 8 meeting of council underscoring its timeliness.

“We’re in a time of growth,” Mund said. “We need to act now.”

Mund called for the extension of the building and licensing manager’s contract for another year and the creation of two new current planner positions, which was approved by council.

While the new positions will increase the proposed tax rate from 2.13 per cent to 2.56, Mund says the revenue from the growth will pay for the two positions in as many years.

These new staff members would be dedicated to processing development applications, which would address much of the backlog Mund discussed.

“We recognize there is a shortage in our planning department and we always seem to be short-staffed,” Coun. Dalvir Nahal said in support of Mund’s motion. “Any position we fill will pay itself off. Construction creates jobs in this community and we should do whatever it takes.”

Not only would the positions help speed the processes for developers, Coun. Kari Gares said, it would ensure current staff is protected.

“Timing is of the essence,” she said. “We are cognizant of the burnout rate of our existing staff.”

By being short-staffed, Gares said, an extra burden is placed on current staff as they take on the workloads of those empty positions, which adds to the “perfect storm” of this market.

“Developers have excess cash they want to bring into communities and a shortage of staff makes it challenging for investment dollars to make it into our community,” Gares said.

The new positions would show council is “stepping up to the plate” to alleviate staff who have been “screaming in silence,” she said.

The two full-time positions would cost $280,000 with $100,000 coming from 2021 growth revenue and $180,000 from taxation. An additional $10,000 would be required in the first year for equipment and workstations, a report to council reads.

The one-year contract extension valued at $146,000 will be funded from the Development Excess Reserve.

City staff has come back with a report for council’s approval Monday, March 22.

READ MORE: More say needed in Vernon’s future growth plan: Councillor

READ MORE: City support may come for Vernon service club Monday


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon dealership gives Towne Cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Interior Health’s overdose prevention site in Vernon is saving lives. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon’s controversial overdose prevention site saving lives

Site sees fewer problems than expected, but some still want it moved

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Vernon Girl Guide Mabel Smith sells cookies to staff at Watkin Motors Ford prior to the suspension of sales. (Facebook Photo)
Vernon Ford dealership shines with diamond award, again

Watkin Motors earns Ford of Canada president’s award for superior customer service

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The towns of Osoyoos and Oliver and the Osoyoos Indian Band are beginning to look into the feasibility of a regional aquatic centre. (Metro Creative Graphics)
South Okanagan leaders team up to get ball rolling on regional aquatic centre

Oliver and Osoyoos have long expressed desire for a year-round indoor aquatic centre

Most Read