City of Vernon administrator Will Pearce kicked it old-school with his personal hand-drawn look at potential figures during the presentation of the 2019 budget Tuesday at Vernon council. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Vernon residents likely facing tax hike

Vernon council begins 2019 budget deliberations

Citizens of Vernon will likely be facing a higher tax bill in 2019.

Vernon council unofficially began its budget deliberations Tuesday as financial officer Debra Law handed council a 170-plus-page binder with the proposed budget, introduced to council and the gallery by administrator Will Pearce.

At the outset, the proposed tax increase is 5.57 per cent, which includes 1.9 per cent for capital projects.

For the operating budget, money that city administration needs to deliver all the programs and services for the community is 3.67 per cent, and inside that, 1.41 per cent is to be used to fill in the use of one-time monies that were needed in 2017.

“It’s not a tax rate increase,” said Pearce of the proposed hike. “It’s a necessary increase in tax-generated revenues. The 5.57 per cent won’t necessarily be the tax rate increase on an individual’s home or business, and that’s usually somewhat less.”

RELATED: Vernon businesses brace for massive tax rate

The budget, said Pearce, deals with a broad range of challenges while essentially “clearing the stage” for the new council, which includes Mayor Victor Cumming and rookie councillors Kari Gares and Kelly Fehr.

The proposed budget takes a balanced and carefully considered approach to protect the integrity of municipal infrastructure.

“Delivering recreation and parks services highly valued by residents,” said Pearce. “Focusing on public safety through police, bylaw and fire services personnel. Supporting and working with local agencies and provincial ministries to help those in need, particularly in the pursuit of housing, while continuing an emphasis on economic development, new investment, business retention and local job creation.”

The proposal calls for a number of modest increases to operations costs as capital upgrades started in 2018 come to completion and operational obligations are realized. These include Hurlburt Park, Lakeshore Park, Foothills Ravine Trail, Beachcomber Lake Access and the bike skills park at Becker Park.

There is a number of one-time projects requiring one-time support, and a modest draw $56,000 on the RCMP Reserve (with a current balance of more than $2.1 million) would fund three pilot projects for downtown cleanup, sharps (needles) response and disposal, and an anti-graffiti tag team.

Law said the proposed 2019 budget has a net operating increase of 1.2 per cent prior to consideration of service level change requests.

“This was accomplished by division managers examining all opportunities to increase revenues and reduce operating costs while still maintaining a similar level of service as in prior years,” said Law.

The city, said Pearce, operates under exceptionally tight budgets and held operating budget increases to less than 1.8 per cent for eight consecutive records. Make it nine if council approves the budget.

“The proposed 2019 budget maintains this restraint approach,” said Pearce.

Council will deliberate the proposed budget over the next few months before formally adopting the plan in the spring.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Neighbours help save Vernon garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire on side of garage enough before firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

Regional District of North Okanagan planner recognized

Rob Smailes awarded individual achievement honour from PIBC

Downtown Vernon offers suggestions on overdose prevention site

The DVA agrees with other stakeholders proposed facility should be near Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

Vernon ducks race for BC Guide Dogs

Ducks will be available to “adopt” for the race at Superstore, Safeway, the Bay and Buy Low Foods

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Most Read