According to the Princeton’s director of finance James Graham, cash flows are stable and reserves are in good shape. (Spotlight file photo)

Princeton faces pandemic in solid financial shape

The municipality is not considering layoffs as this time

While some other B.C. local governments are feeling the financial crunch of COVID-19, the Town of Princeton is in pretty good shape.

That’s according to Mayor Spencer Coyne and James Graham, director of finance.

“The cash flow for the municipality is really good and if we don’t have a dime coming we are still good for six months,” Graham told the Spotlight.

Currently, there is $2.5 million in Princeton’s general operating accounting and the town carries no debt.

According to Coyne, some capital projects originally included in the 2020 budget will be deferred until next year.

Sewer upgrades are likely to go ahead, as well as the installation of the bronze statue park in the downtown, as that project is already paid for, said Coyne.

A redesign of the visitor centre will be put on hold, however.

“We’re not going to jump into that right away,” Coyne said.

Other communities have seen layoffs and downsizing, in response to COVID.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen recently eliminated manager positions in public works and development services.

Those cuts are permanent.

Related: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen job cuts are permanent, administrator says

RDOS CAO Bill Newell said the decision was made to address “the long term economic impact” of the virus.

Last week, the municipality of Summerland temporarily laid off 11 part-time and 12 full-time employees, while permanently axing the positions of director of development services, manager of legislative services and community development coordinator.

Coyne said the Town of Princeton is not considering layoffs at this time.

“We are going to postpone any layoffs as long as possible. We have been asked by the ministry to repurpose or reassign (employees whose workloads have slackened)…There is always plenty of work to do.”

Coyne said council is keen to protect jobs.

“These are people in our community who if they don’t work, they can’t feed their families and pay their bills.”

Related: Summerland issues staff cuts and layoffs due to COVID-19 pandemic

The town will lose revenues from government owned facilities that are now closed, said Graham, including the visitor centre, Riverside Centre and the arena.

About 30 per cent of Princeton’s dollars come from taxes. The 2020 budget includes an overall 4.6 per cent tax increase, which for the average household will mean a property tax increase of about $31, from $634 to $665.

Monday night council passed a tax bill that offers some relief regarding tax arrears. Ordinarily tax bills not paid by July 1 are subject to a 10 per cent penalty. However this year, only one per cent will be applied on July 2. A further nine percent will be charged September 30.

Water and sewer bills have been sent out, the deadline to qualify for a 10 per cent discount has been extended to June 15.

The province has already ordered a 25 per cent reduction in all commercial and industrial property taxes.

Coyne said it’s important to remind people about the importance of paying bills on time if possible and the wisdom of old-fashioned belt tightening. “People need to remember that taxes are still going to be due, whether it’s now or later, and it’s really important to pay your bills.”

He urged caution in all spending and debt acquisition. “Next year you are going to have to make that up. We don’t know what next year is going to look like. Next year might be worse.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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

North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse cancels box season

COVID-19 wipes out indoor lacrosse; group hopeful outdoor field season will start in August

Vancouver Foundation grants benefit Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Grants of up to $500 available for ideas that connect people socially or involve sharing skills

Water quality advisory rescinded for Killiney Beach customers

Turbidity levels improve enough to rescind advisory issued May 11

UPDATED: Two sent to hospital by air ambulance following Enderby highway accident

Drivers involved in collision on Highway 97A in Enderby; serious, but not life-threatening injuries

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Summerland once had Old English theme

Design guidelines were introduced in late 1980s

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Penticton Search and Rescue airlifts injured mountain biker near Naramata

The Penticton Fire Department initially took the call and attended to the injured biker.

Most Read