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Kamloops News

Budget talks begin early

Council has agreed to consider upgrades of the Rose Hill park as part of the 2015 budget.

KAMLOOPS - It is only August but Kamloops city staff are getting a jump on the 2015 budget discussions by asking council to approve several items for the upcoming budget requests.

It does not mean these items will be be part of the budget, it simply means staff was asking council to approve them to be requested when the time comes. Last week those requests included $100,000 in upgrades to Rose Hill park and $45,000 to explore the options for a temporary tax office.

“I’ve never seen this before,” Coun. Arjun Singh said.

He questioned why they were seeing the information so early and staff said they simply didn’t want council to assume anything was in the core budget when it actually is not.

“We wanted to let council know we are not putting this money in the core budget,” CEO David Trawin said of the temporary tax office. “(I wanted it) to be clear, I would hate to go through the budget in December and council thinking it’s in the budget and it’s not. So we wanted to flag it and let you know.”

Staff had approved a one time temporary tax office for this year because of construction in front of City Hall. Council was told a report would be submitted and further recommendations made following the tax season.

With less than 30 per cent of all people choosing to pay in person using the North Shore office several councillors felt the nearly $50,000 spent this year was too much for the number of people who used it.

The Rose Hill park project request, $100,000 for upgrades to various amenities in the park including parking, green space and trails, came about because of conversations with the neighbourhood association.

Trawin noted they had been in discussions with the association and wanted to be clear that no money would be spent this year and that it is up to council to approve any future spending as well.

Council was open to looking at the individual items that make up the Rose Hill project during budget time but with councillors Donovan Cavers, Ken Christian, Nelly Dever and Tina Lange voting against the temporary tax office, the motion was defeated and will not be considered during budget talks for 2015.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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