City draft budget includes tax hike

Vernon City Hall

VERNON - The 2014 draft budget presented to council shows a potential tax hike of 3.7 per cent, though staff reductions are also recommended.

The proposed 2014 Financial Plan for the City of Vernon was presented to Mayor and Council and described in a press release as a reflection of this Council’s commitment to “looking after our house.”

Subject to City Council approval, highlights from the proposed budget include:

-  The continuation of a 1.9 per cent annual and cumulative tax rate increase commitment to maintaining the City’s roads, as well as sanitary and sewer systems, as discussed in the City’s Sustainable Infrastructure Investment Plan;

-  A maximum increase of 1.8 per cent in taxes for operating expenses and service changes;

-  Operating expenses for all services provided by the City will be held to an increase of 0.37 per cent;

-  A managed reduction in City of Vernon staff;

-  $1 million for road resurfacing;

-  $200,000 for crack resealing on Vernon’s roads;

-  $100,000 to complete an asset analysis and recapitalization plan to protect Vernon’s public buildings;

-  And additional resources for economic development.

The budget includes the Recreation Agreement and Parks Agreement, which shifts ownership, control and responsibility for local parks, recreation facilities and programs from the RDNO to the City. This agreement means Vernon homeowners will see a significant increase in property taxes, however it's expected the increase will be offset by a reduction in Regional District tax requisitions—a move the city says simplifies the management of the City’s parks and recreation facilities.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

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