January 16, 2014 - 8:33 AM
VERNON - City of Vernon 2014 Financial Plan presentations concluded ahead of schedule in Council Chambers on Wednesday. Operating budgets for the City’s Fire Rescue Services, RCMP, Operation Services, Recreation Services, Community Development, Engineering and GIS, Human Resources, Corporate Services, Finance and Administration were all delivered and accepted by Council, with capital and change requests to be reviewed following the public input session at 11 am on Thursday, January 16.
Chief Administrative Officer Will Pearce, in his preamble to the budget presentations, told Council that the plan was how municipal budgets should be developed, with strict attention to Council direction of sound management, prudent budgeting, and transparency as the highest measures of success. Under Council’s direction, Administration will make a methodical reduction in positions while protecting levels in service and maintaining an attractive and safe community.
One of the most significant changes in the City’s budget is in relation to the Recreation Agreement and Parks Agreement, which shifts ownership, control and responsibility for local parks, recreation facilities and programs from the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) to the City. Pearce spoke to the impact of these agreements to Vernon taxpayers.
“City of Vernon tax rates will increase in the order of 17 - 18 per cent,” said Pearce, “and RDNO requisitions will decrease by 15 - 17 per cent as the City assumes direct responsibility for Recreation Services, local parks and the maintenance of sub-regional parks in Vernon and Coldstream by contract.”
Mayor Robert Sawatzky said he was very pleased with the presented budget.
“I know that City administration worked very hard to present a budget that was both consistent with and conscientious of Council priorities and strategic goals,” said Sawatzky. “The presented financial plan shows strong fiscal discipline that meets budget goals of a maximum increase of 1.8 per cent for operating expenses and service changes, and the continuation of a 1.9 per cent annual and cumulative tax rate increase for long-term investment infrastructure sustainability.”
The public will be able to speak to the budget on Thursday, January 16, and Friday, January 17, at 11 am in City of Vernon Council Chambers. Budget details are available on the City website at www.vernon.ca.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014