Vernon budget proposes 3.7 per cent tax hike

Members of council received the draft 2015 financial plan Friday

City of Vernon staff have presented what they describe as a stay the course budget.

Council received the draft 2015 financial plan Friday, including a proposed 3.7 per cent tax hike.

“The 2015 budget continues the concept of fiscal restraint,” said Will Pearce, chief administrative officer, adding that service levels are maintained.

Of the 3.7 per cent tax increase, 1.9 per cent will continue to be directed towards infrastructure as has been city policy in recent years. The remaining 1.8 per cent will go towards overall operations.

Coun. Bob Spiers believes 3.7 per cent is the maximum amount residents may be taxed.

“Hopefully we can see if there are any holes in it (increase). I always try to get it lower,” he said.

Mayor Akbal Mund still has to look at the draft plan in detail, but he supports the 1.9 per cent for infrastructure upgrades.

“When you look at the 1.8 per cent (for operations) there’s always a cost increase and people have to understand that,” he said.

The 1.8 per cent overall tax hike would generate about $554,332 in revenue for the city, while the 1.9 per cent infrastructure levy would raise $585,128.

In terms of capital works, it’s proposed that $7.6 million be spent in 2015. That money would come from a variety of sources, including $2 million in casino revenue the city receives from the provincial government.

Council will discuss the budget further from Jan. 14 to 16 and the budget bylaw is expected to be before council for consideration Jan. 26.