Vernon chamber evaluates city budget with report card

Vernon City Hall

VERNON - The City of Vernon hasn’t received top marks from a local business association, but it’s not failing either.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 500 business members, gave the city an overall ‘B’ grade for its financial plan, general manager Dan Rogers said in a statement.

The grade was part of the chamber’s input during budget talks this week, and focusses on the need for continued restraint on spending while developing strategies to make the city more competitive as a means to encourage investment and growth, Rogers said.

"During a time when many communities are facing significant tax hikes, council has been very conservative in its budgeting process and that has kept spending growth, along with staff and tax increases, to a minimum while addressing the community’s many needs and wants,” Rogers said.

The chamber gave the city an ‘A’ for fiscal management, a ‘B’ in spending management, a ‘C’ in competitiveness, and a ‘B’ in economic vision, for an overall ‘B’ grade.

“The chamber believes the city could improve its grade by reviewing its development processes and revising its fee structure to increase the city’s competitiveness. Further effort to seek out regional partnerships in the delivery of public services could also lead to greater efficiencies and costs savings,” Rogers said. 

The chamber is calling on the city to immediately launch a review of its Development Cost Charges which are reportedly among the highest in the region.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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