Safety tops budget list

Public safety and towing the line fiscally are top priorities in the City of Vernon’s proposed five-year financial plan

Public safety and towing the line fiscally are top priorities in the City of Vernon’s proposed five-year financial plan.

Council was presented with the 2016-2020 city financial plan prior to in-depth budget deliberations slated for Dec. 2-4.

“The real challenge is to accomplish sound community planning and building a liveable and enviable city in a spectacular setting while keeping taxes reasonable and being fiscally responsible,” said chief administrative officer Will Pearce.

“The 2016 budget is one of restraint, is responsible, is based on council’s strategic deliverables and has a focus on enhancing public safety.”

The day-to-day operating budget must be held to a proposed increased 1.8 per cent or less and the budget is to include a 1.9 per cent tax levy to be directed to investment in rebuilding city infrastructure.

Included within the 2016-2020 financial plan is a proposal to add two RCMP officers to the Vernon complement — raising the officer count from 48 to 50 — as well as public safety enhancements that include Polson Park security patrols and parkade security cameras.

Pearce highlighted council’s direction to exceed municipal fundamental responsibilities of road maintenance, water supply, solid waste management and public safety.

“Caring, modern municipalities reach beyond fundamentals,” said Pearce. “The City of Vernon is well-known and respected for its efforts to provide assistance to those most in need, to encourage and support the provision of accessible housing, to work with our many dedicated agencies to provide key support services, to work with investors and developers to deliver affordable homes in attractive neighbourhoods, to encourage healthy lifestyles through active living and to welcome new residents to our collective home.”

Council will now review the proposed budget, and detailed reports will be provided to council at special budget meetings Dec. 2-4. All meetings are open to the public and held in council chambers at city hall.

The 2016-2020 financial plan can be viewed online on the city’s website.