City of Vernon says its 'good news' taxes won't increase as much as anticipated | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City of Vernon says its 'good news' taxes won't increase as much as anticipated

City of Vernon spending is set to increase by almost five per cent his year, although the City is celebrating as it's not going up as much as first anticipated.

According to a City of Vernon media release, this year's budget was set to increase by 4.79 per cent, but will now increase by 4.57 per cent.

While the 0.22 percentage point decrease doesn't sound like much, the City is highlighting it as a significant win for taxpayers.

The decrease will amount to the City's budget increase being five per cent less than expected.

In a media release, the City described the five per cent decrease as "good news" for the City which will reduce the financial impact on the Vernon taxpayer.

"This is excellent news for Vernon," Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming says in the release.

The slight reduction in how much of an increase taxpayers will pay won't be known until April when council will vote on a new tax rate to cover the 4.57 per cent increase in spending.

The City says the reduction has come about following revised information from B.C. Assessment.

When council endorsed the 2023 – 2027 Financial Plan, B.C. Assessment estimated non-market changes in assessments for Vernon would total approximately $300,000.

However, shortly afterwards B.C. Assessment corrected its figure to $750,000.

"When Council originally debated this year’s budget, we made the difficult decision to continue to defer putting $350,000 annually into a Fire Apparatus reserve. Now that we have this new information, Council has been able to approve the funding request for the Fire Apparatus reserve, which will help Vernon Fire Rescue Services plan and prepare for the replacement of fire apparatus when needed in the future. This is just one more way the City and its Council are focusing on the safety of community members and those who serve our citizens," Mayor Cumming said in the release.

According to the City the 4.57 budget increase will cover a 2.67 per cent increase in annual operating expenses and improvements to public services and a 1.90 per cent increase for the final instalment of the 10-year infrastructure levy program.

More information from the City regarding its budget process can be found here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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