December 09, 2013 - 8:59 AM
PENTICTON - City hall got a little warmer at Friday's budget meeting as councilors clashed over the costs of replacing the municipality's aging vehicles, fire trucks and earth movers.
Councilors Wesley Hopkin, Katie Robinson and John Vassilaki fired some indirect shots across the U-shaped council table about persons not being fiscally responsible. No one accused anyone directly but the sly language was struck down by Mayor Garry Litke who reminded the elected officials to avoid personal attacks.
The council was in its third day of the 2014 budget discussions. On the table Friday was the $8 million operating budget for the city's public work systems, parks and vehicle fleets. The vehicle fleet will have $1.7 set aside for operations costs and a portion of that will be spent on replacing new vehicles.
Hackles were raised after Vassilaki and Konanz suggested $540,000 is too much to pay the depreciation costs for the city's vehicles. Vassilaki wanted $200,000 cut from it but no support for his amendment meant it didn't go to a vote.
"You got a million dollar deficit right now," Konanz said. "We need to do something. We can keep some vehicles a little longer."
Konanz's suggestion of only $50,000 being removed got Vassilaki's support but it was defeated when it came to a vote.
Hopkin said it was foolish not to start a depreciation fund to replace aging vehicles and the saving needs to start this year.
"Now we are talking about irresponsibility," Robinson said. "It's accounting 101. If you start depreciating you start pushing (the costs into the future). It's poor planning."
Vassilaki said he was bothered with the suggestion he was fiscally irresponsible but Litke told him and other councillors to keep to the subject.
The final day of public budget disccusions will be held on Dec. 18. at 10 a.m.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013