Spall denies taxing request

Spallumcheen joins the likes of Armstrong in opposition of Regional District of North Okanagan building inspection taxation

It took nearly a half-hour of debate before Spallumcheen council decided not to support the Regional District of North Okanagan’s plan of taxation to fund its building inspection program.

Following a meeting with RDNO officials at a committee of the whole meeting, the committee recommended to Spall council that it support a taxation requisition of $100,000 for the building inspection shortfall in 2012, that it be funded by the building inspection reserve fund for 2012 and that the remaining shortfall be funded by a reduction in the building department costs.

That motion was defeated at the council table with only Coun. Joe Van Tienhoven in favour.

“They have enough in reserves and it’s the best way to manage that and get something done internally,” said Van Tienhoven. “We’ll take an even bigger hit later on if we put this off.”

The regional district provides building inspection service to jurisdictions outside of Vernon and Coldstream. They have been visiting the municipalities outside of Vernon and Coldstream suggesting taxation is a way to address a severe funding shortfall for the business inspection function.

Armstrong council, which did not support taxation, was told RDNO was approximately $390,000 short in the revenue column over expenses. One-and-a-half employees were let go for a savings of $120,000.

Coun. Christine Fraser said RDNO has to restructure the building inspection department internally.

“You can’t have eight inspections for someone putting in a garage,” said Fraser, who told council the regional district has 5,000 open building permits on its books. “Eight visits for a $50,000 garage? No wonder it’s cost prohibitive.”

Fraser made the same motion she made at the committee of the whole meeting – which was defeated – calling for the township not to support the use of taxation.

Her motion called for $200,000 of the regional district building inspection shortfall be funded from its reserve fund for 2012 only, and that the remaining shortfall be funded by a reduction in the building department costs.

Fraser’s motion was passed by a margin of 5-1 with Van Tienhoven opposed. Coun. Todd York was absent from the meeting.