Vernon council considers zero per cent tax increase

Preliminary range approved as part of the 2012 budget process

Coun. Mary-Jo O'Keefe wants the possibility of a zero per cent tax increase investigated in Vernon because of current economic conditions.

Coun. Mary-Jo O'Keefe wants the possibility of a zero per cent tax increase investigated in Vernon because of current economic conditions.

Vernon’s new council is trying to keep a tight rein on taxes.

On Monday, council established a preliminary range of zero to 2.3 per cent for a possible tax hike as part of the 2012 budget.

“It’s just a range to give them (city staff) some direction,” said Coun. Bob Spiers, adding that a more permanent figure will be established during the budget process.

“It doesn’t show the public that the budget will be zero. The last few councils have said zero and we haven’t wound up with that.”

The ongoing financial downturn and its impact on residents influenced council’s decision.

“In the economic environment we’re in, we need to shoot for zero per cent,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe.

Staff told council Monday that a four per cent tax hike would be needed to cover cost of living increases and basic services.

Opposition to establishing a range  came from Councillors Juliette Cunningham and Patrick Nicol.

“Without seeing the actual budget, it seems premature,” said Nicol of establishing numbers.

Look for more details in Wednesday’s Morning Star.